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Paralympics: Paracanoe
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What is Paracanoe?


Paracanoe is the canoeing discipline for athletes with an impairment and races are contested by two types of boat, kayak (K) and va’a (V). The kayak is propelled by a double-blade paddle, while the va’a is an outrigger canoe which has an ama (second pontoon) as a support float and is used with a single-blade paddle. Both kayak and va’a have three different classes of event for men and women, depending on the classification of an athlete’s impairment, with KL1, KL2 and KL3 for kayak and VL1, VL2 and VL3 for va’a. At international level all paracanoe races are individual events and competed at a distance of 200m.

Paracanoe began as an initiative by the International Canoe Federation (ICF) to allow athletes with an impairment to compete in the sport. The discipline featured with exhibition status under the name paddleability at the 2009 Canoe Sprint World Championships in Dartmouth, NS, Canada, and was given official status as paracanoe at the following year’s edition in Poznan, Poland. Later in 2010, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced at a meeting in Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China, that paracanoe would make its debut at the Paralympic Games in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. There will be six medal events at the Games (three men, three women), all in the kayak category.





Olympic Development Program (ODP)


The Olympic Development Program will serve as a forum to identify and develop athlete’s to represent the USA at domestic and international competitions. The foundation of the program is to identify athlete’s and pick teams with the view of supporting and encouraging those Sprint canoe and kayak athlete’s who have shown the potential and the desire to qualify for the 2020 and 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Teams.



  • Paracanoe Racing Calendar
  • Nationals
    • 2018
      • August 1-4, 2018 in Oklahoma City, OK (website)
    • 2019
      • The Sprint Events Committee is seeking potential host sites for the 2019 Sprint Nationals Championships which are to be held in the East region. As per the current Rules and Regulations:
        • Rule 61.2. The National Championships shall move on a regional rotational basis from one year to the next. The rotation is West to Central to East and back to the West region.
      • NOTE:
        • a.Due to no West region applicants the 2018 Sprint Nationals will be held in the Central region – Oklahoma City, OK.
        • b.2019 Sprint Nationals are to be held in the East Region.
      • To initiate the multi-step bid process contact Missy Hill, via email at, no later than November 27, 2017 to receive the Intention to Host form.
  • Team Trials
    • 2018
      • no Trials are to be held in 2018
      • USA National Teams will be selected from ODP Training Squads
    • 2019
      • TBD




A Letter to all ACA Competition Members (PDF)


Sprint / Paracanoe Paddling Clubs:

  • To be listed


Racing Rules:

  • 2018 Sprint Racing Rules (PDF)


High Performance Plan:

  • 2019 (in development)
  • 2018




Reporting Abuse or Misconduct:


To report forms of misconduct or abuse, such as sexual, emotional or physical misconduct, bullying, hazing or harassment, please report via: 



  • International Paralympic Committee (IPC)
  • International Canoe Federation: Paracanoe 
  • US Paralympics
  • University of Mary Washington - Tuition Free Courses (PDF)




National Office Staff: 



more Event Calendar

SEIC Meeting

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

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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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