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Slalom Nationals. Photo Courtesy of John Thompson



The ACA is committed to developing and promoting paddlesport athletic competition at all levels, and in cooperation with other organizations, including serving as the National Governing Body (NGB) as approved by the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) as that term is defined in the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act and as the National Federation in the United States responsible to the International Canoe Federation (ICF).  In order to maintain consistent rules and safety standards for competitive paddling events throughout the United States, the ACA also provides governance for several non-Olympic paddlesport disciplines through the Competition Council. The ACA uses the term "discipline" to refer to the type of paddling activity, which is determined by the type of paddle craft and the waterway on which it is used.




The ACA is the NGB for the Olympic paddlesports of canoe slalom and canoe sprint.  Both disciplines  include events for both canoe and kayak. 

  • Video overview of slalom & sprint (YouTube)


To learn more about the sport in the United States:








The ACA is the NGB for the Paralympic sport of Paracanoe.  Both canoe and kayak disciplines are included. 

  • Video overview of Paracanoe (YouTube)


To learn more about Paracanoe in the United States:








Through an extensive network of local volunteers, and partnerships with other organizations, the ACA sanctions hundreds of races and produces numerous national championships each year.


International Canoe Federation (ICF) Disciplines:


International Va'a Federation


The International Va’a Federation was created in 1981. The members decided to adopt the name “Va’a” as the international designation for the outrigger canoe. Accordingly, the International Polynesian Canoe Federation (IPCF) was renamed “International Va’a Federation (IVF)”. As the governing body of the international Va’a sport, the IVF now counts more than 25 members and member areas.

  • Outrigger (IVF)


Other Sanctioned Competition:


Race Calendars





Competition Council:


The Competition Council Board is an advisory group to the Board of Directors of the ACA and meets twice a calendar year. This council is made up of volunteers who possess broad experience in the various disciplines of competitive paddling and who are passionate about the sport. All ACA Racing Athletes, Families, Coaches & Officials are defacto members of the council but the Competition Council Board is the actual group of elected individuals who do the committee work, make decisions for the different disciplines, and report to the ACA Board of Directors. 



U.S. Center for SafeSport


The U.S. Center for SafeSport works collaboratively with sport organizations to ensure a culture of safety through our awareness, education and training programs, so that every athlete is safe, supported and strengthened through sport.

Once the ACA becomes the National Governing Body(NGB) for paddlesports in the U.S., certain membership types (Racing, Officials, Coaches, Staff, Board members) will need to adhere to the ACA's SafeSport Policies and complete a free online training.



Background Check


All staff, coaches, volunteers, and/or team leaders who are participating in an official capacity with the ACA must complete a background check with the National Center for Safety Initiatives (NCSI)




U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA)


The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is the national anti-doping organization (NADO) in the United States for Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American, and Parapan American sport. The organization is charged with managing the anti-doping program, including in-competition and out-of competition testing, results management processes, drug reference resources, and athlete education for all United States Olympic Committee (USOC) recognized sport national governing bodies, their athletes, and events. Additionally, USADA contributes to the advancement of clean sport through scientific research and education & outreach initiatives focused on awareness and prevention.


Athlete's Advisory Council (AAC)


The Mission of the AAC: “To communicate the interests and protect the rights of athletes, in cooperative support of the USOC achieving its mission.”


Athlete Advisory Council (USOC)

  • ACA Representative: Emily Mary Wright (contact / Bio)
  • ACA Alternate: Brandon Holiday (contact / Bio)



USA Canoe/Kayak


From February of 2015 to October of 2017, the ACA partnered with USA Canoe/Kayak(USACK), who was the National Governing Body(NGB) for Olympic and Paralympic paddlesports in the United States, during the NGB transition process.


The ACA would like to acknowledge the significant dedication of USACK volunteers and coaches throughout this process.


Director of High Performance and Competition Updates

  • 9/12/18


more Event Calendar

3/2/2019 » 3/3/2019
ACA Board of Directors Meeting

ACA Mission

Founded in 1880, The American Canoe Association (ACA) is a national nonprofit organization serving the broader paddling public by providing education related to all aspects of paddling; stewardship support to help protect paddling environments; and sanctioning of programs and events to promote paddlesport competition, exploration and recreation.

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ACA | Canoe-Kayak-SUP-Raft-Rescue
503 Sophia St. Suite 100
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
Phone: 540-907-4460
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