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You are held in your starting block, adrenaline pumping and ready to race.

The starter brings you in to focus, you settle yourself, READY… SET… BEEP!

The gates are released and you explode in a water-sprayed frenzy to beat all others.

This is Paracanoe, a 200m race to make it to the finish line before anybody else while staying in your lane. An incredible amount of strength and power is required to accelerate to and maintain your top speed. Your muscles scream as the lactic acid builds up – this is a huge test of mind over body as you try to keep your pace while battling against fatigue.

New for the Paralympics

Following the debut of Paracanoe at the 2016 Paralympics, this is an exciting time to try Paracanoe with a very strong emphasis on development. With inclusive and accessible clubs spread throughout the country, no matter what your aspirations, this sport could be for you. There are no rules regarding adaptations to boat and equipment allowing almost all athletes independent of disability to participate and compete. Click here for a list of clubs who cater for the needs of disabled paddlers.

5, the number of Paralympic medals British Paracanoe athletes won at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016. UK Sport has continued funding through to Tokyo for Paracanoe in the UK and the fight is on to secure qualification spots for the forthcoming Paralympics.

Classification explained

The two main types of paracanoe boats are Kayaks (K), propelled by a double-blade paddle, and outrigger canoes called Va'as (V) where the boat has a second ‘pontoon’ called an ama as a support float. The boat is propelled by a single blade paddle. 

The Paralympic Paracanoe classification of impairments were restructured as of February, 2015 as a result of a two and one half year study by the ICF. In Paralympic kayak competition (K1), there are five classes for men and 4 classes women:

• KL1: Athletes with no or very limited trunk function and no leg function and typically need a special seat with high backrest in the kayak.

• KL2: Athletes with partial trunk and leg function, able to sit upright in the kayak but might need a special backrest, limited leg movement during paddling.

• KL3: Athletes with trunk function and partial leg function, able to sit with trunk in forward flexed position in the kayak and able to use at least one leg/prosthesis.

Va classifications to be posted here shortly.

VL1 is a non-Olympic event

For further information on Paracanoe athlete classification details, please click here to see the ICF Paracanoe website.   

K1 Cinco Paracanoe L640X150

K1 Paracanoe boat.

Paracanoe news