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.

Looking to get become a paracanoe athlete? Here's where you can get started:

Sebago Canoe Club

Walter Lewandowski kayaker824@gmail.com

1400 Paerdegat Ave North. 

Brooklyn, NY.  11236   USA

(718) 241-3683

Bridge II Sports

Ashley Thomas ashley@bridge2sports.org

4122 Bennett Memorial Rd. Ste. 105 

Durham, NC 27705   USA

(866) 880-2742

Univ. of Central Oklahoma, OAR Center

Joe Ready jready1@uco.edu

100 North University

Edmond OK 73034

Box 99     USA

(405) 844-4560


Joan Arnold joan9485@gmail.com

6000 Harriott Drive

Powell OH 43065   USA

(614) 389-3921                                  

Cascade Canoe & Kayak Racing Team

Dan Henderson danh@canoe-kayak.com

15143 NE 90th St.

Redmond, WA 98052  USA

(425) 430-0111

Nantahala Racing Club

Chris Hipgrave chris.hipgrave@noc.com

13077 Hwy 19W, Bryson City NC 28713

(828) 488.7240

Town of Quantico

Mayor Kevin Brown mayor@townofquantico.org

Raftelis Potomac River Park

408 River Road

Quantico, VA 22134  USA

(571) 334-3432

Lanier Canoe & Kayak Club

Theda Burchardt tburchardt@bellsouth.net

3105 Clarks Bridge Rd.

Gainesville, GA 30506   USA

(770) 533-2416

Adaptive Expeditions

Joe Moore Joe@AdaptiveExpeditions.org
1026 Fort Sumter Dr.

Charleston, SC 29412


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