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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. 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.


Athlete Code of Conduct


All ACA Competition athlete members must review, sign, submit to the ACA, and adhere to the ACA's Athlete Code of Conduct each year.  


All Competition athlete members include athletes competing in any Olympic, Paralympic, ICF, or Other Sanctioned Competition disciplines listed on this webpage.


This applies to all athlete members whether they are competing locally, nationally or internationally, and whether or not they are a current member of a USA National Team.

  • Athlete Code of Conduct (2019)



  • (03/13/2020) Letter from the CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee (PDF)




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:




    The ACA is the U.S. National Federation to the International Canoe Federation (ICF).


    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 Competition members, Athletes, 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 awareness, education and training programs, so that every athlete is safe, supported and strengthened through sport.

    Since the ACA is the National Governing Body(NGB) for paddlesports in the U.S., certain membership types and event volunteers will need to adhere to the ACA's SafeSport Policies and complete the free online training.



    Athlete Grievance Process

    For information about submitting a grievance and the relevant disciplinary proceedings, as outlined by the ACA Bylaws, please review the Athlete Grievance Process webpage.


    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 every two (2) years with the National Center for Safety Initiatives (NCSI)




    U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA)


    It is the duty of all Athletes, Athlete Support Personnel and other Persons (as those terms are defined in the World-Anti Doping Code), by virtue of their participation in the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American, ParaPan American or Youth Olympic Games, participation in an Event or Competition organized or sanctioned by an NGB, PSO or HPMO, participation on a national team, utilization of a USOPC Training Center, receipt of benefits from the USOPC or American Canoe Association (ACA), inclusion in the Registered Testing Pool, or otherwise subject to the World Anti-Doping Code to comply with all anti-doping rules of WADA, the International Canoe Federation (ICF), the USOPC, and of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), including the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing (USADA Protocol) and all other policies and rules adopted by WADA, the ICF and USADA. If it is determined that an Athlete, Athlete Support Personnel, or other Person may have committed a doping violation, the individual agrees to submit to the results management authority and processes of USADA, including arbitration under the USADA Protocol, or to the results management authority of the ACA, if applicable or referred by USADA. In addition, Athletes agree to submit to drug testing by the ICF and/or USADA or their designees at any time and understand that the use of methods or substances prohibited by the applicable anti-doping rules make them subject to penalties including, but not limited to, disqualification and suspension.


    Athletes' Advisory Council (AAC)


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

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



    more Event Calendar

    The 40th Great Rappahannock Whitewater Canoe Race

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