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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 Paracanoeing, 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.

In December 2012 it was announced by UK Sport that the British Canoeing Paralympic Programme would receive a significant budget for the four year Rio Paralympic Cycle, further empowering us to challenge the best the World has to offer. With the Paracanoe landscape likely to improve exponentially over the next four years, there are going to be very exciting times ahead.

You can read more about the history of our sport here.

A note on classifications

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 International Va’a Federation is working in partnership with the ICF in this project.

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 three classes for both men and 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.

At the international level, Non-Paralympic Paracanoe events are the Va'a events. They use the same system of classification. The class titles are: VL1VL2VL3.

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