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.

Great Britain (22) and Brazil (13) have won 35 of the 74 world titles in paracanoe, with Australia (7) the only other country to have claimed more than six world championship victories. Jeanette Chippington has won 10 of Great Britain’s 22 world titles in paracanoe, the most by an individual. She finished second in the KL1 200m at the 2016 World Championships in Duisburg, Germany, having won at least one event in each of the previous four editions of the competition. The male with the most world titles is Austrian Markus Swoboda. His six victories include five in the K1 200m TA, a record for a male or female in a single event.

Russian Federation has had 18 top-three finishes at the world championships, fewer than only Great Britain (41) and Brazil (25), but has never won a world title having finished second six times and third on 12 occasions. Of those 18 top-three finishes, five came at this year’s world championships.

Home hopes for a medal at paracanoe’s Paralympic debut may lie with Luis Cardoso and Fernando Padua, who share the record for most world championship wins by a Brazilian, both with four. Cardoso was a professional dancer before an infection in his bone marrow resulted in him being unable to walk, while former model and reality television contestant Padua is a person with paraplegia following a car accident.


Paracanoe Classification - Szeged - World Championships

The scheduling poll for the classification is now open:


Please be aware that this poll will allow you to give the preferred day of classification for the athlete. It is not possible to choose a particular time. Also, it is not guaranteed that you will be allocated your preferred day. However the Paracanoe Classification team will do its best to accommodate the teams as much as possible.

The scheduling poll will remains open for two weeks. The schedule of the classification will then be communicated to each team separately.

Official Communication

Official Communication - Athlete Position in Va'a

Anti-Doping Education

Reminder: All athletes must have complete the online anti-doping course before competing in the ECA Paracanoe European Champinships and in the ICF Paracanoe World Cup in Poznan.


The National Federations have the possibility to check which athletes have already completed the course, through the ICF database. For that, please follow the instruction in this manual available on the following page of the ICF website:  
https://www.canoeicf.com/sports-data-platform#user_guide - SDP user guide for National Federations to view anti-doping information (March 2019)


2018 Paracanoe World Conference

The Paracanoe World Conference was held in Stockholm on 5th–7th October 2018, aiming to widen the scope of the paracanoe movement to include medical rehabilitation experts and recreational/tourism leaders throughout the world.