Para-canoe was added to the Paralympic Program in 2010 by the International Paralympic Committee. The sport will make its first appearance at the Paralympic Games at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.

Para-canoeing is exactly like regular canoeing and it gives people with various physical challenges the opportunity to enjoy the sport at all levels: club, regional, national and international. There are many subcategories of the event given the degree of the competitor’s impairment and it is likely that all of these categories will be added to the Games selection.

How to Canoe/Kayak

Para-canoeing is a sport for all ages and skill levels, using a combination of speed, power and skill.  It involves paddling a canoe through still water and can be done non-competitively or competitively.

The events range depending on classification.

Who can Canoe/KAYAK

Para-canoeing is a sport available to all age and skill levels.  Competitors are required to wear a life-jacket as the event is held in water.

To be eligible to compete, an athlete must have a medically diagnosed, permanent physical, visual or intellectual disability which must result in a substantial loss of function.

Impairment Type

-    Physical disability
-    Visual Impairment
-    Intellectual disability


Each athlete is classified based on their functional ability.
-    LTA = legs, trunk and arms
-    TA = trunks and arms
-    A = arms only

The events are:
K-1 & V1 200 Metre (LTA) 
K-1 & V1 200 Metre (TA) 
K-1 & V1 200 Metre (A)

K-1 & V-1 200 Metre (LTA) 
K-1  & V-1 200 Metre (TA) 
K-1 & V-1 200 Metre (A)

Click here to find more information on classification.

How Do I Get Classified?

To determine an athlete’s class, a panel of approved classifiers will observe the athlete’s movements during both light and heavy exercises. If you wish to gain a classification please contact your state based organization. They will be able to assist you to get involved or provide details of opportunities to get classified.

Get Involved

Para-canoeing is a fast, dynamic sport that requires a range of skills that can be used a local, state, or national level. To get involved contact your most local association or email Australian Canoeing at

Where Is it Played

Every state  has a local para-canoe program which is open to players of all skill levels. To start playing, contact your state affiliation listed in “Who Runs The Sport”.

Athlete Pathway

Click here to view the para-canoe National Pathway.

To find out more about the competition pathway please the state office listed below under “Who runs the Sport”.

Become an Official

The Australian Institute of Sport runs an official training program for a number of sports and canoeing falls under this program.  This program teaches participants the basics of how to effectively run and support a sporting event. 

Become a Classifier

To be eligible to commence training as a classifier, individuals must meet the following prerequisites:

Medical classifiers: Currently registered medical professional (physiotherapist or medical doctor); with minimum 5 years clinical experience with people with physical disabilities. OR; Currently registered Ophthalmic professional (Orthoptist, Ophthalmologist) with minimum 5 years clinical experience with people with low vision. Individuals must be based in one of the major Low Vision Centres in Australia.

Technical classifiers: Must hold a Bachelor or Master degree in sport science/ kinesiology / human movement science or other equivalent; as well as hold additional sports specific qualifications including coaching or sport specific study.

All individuals must have a strong understanding of canoeing.

To find out more about the classifier pathway contact the Australian Paralympic Committee via email or phone +61 2 9704 0500.

Become a Volunteer

Without volunteering many sports in Australia would not be possible. Every local, state or national club is always looking for volunteers to help out with things ranging from events to packing equipment.

If you are interested in volunteering contact your local club or email Australian Canoeing at



Please contact your state office (listed in “Who Runs The Sport” section below) for details about up-coming state and local competitions.


Please visit our events page to view any upcoming Australian events.

UpCOMING International EVENTS

Please visit our events page to view any upcoming International events.



Australian Canoeing
P: (02) 8116 9727


New South Wales

Paddle NSW
P: (02) 8116 9730


QLD Canoe
P: (07) 3899 1667


Canoeing Victoria
P: (03) 8846 4120

Australian Capital Territory

Paddle NSW
P: (02) 8116 9730

South Australia

Canoe South Australia
P: (08) 8240 3294

Western Australia

Canoeing Western Australia
P: (08) 9285 8501


Canoe Tasmania
P: 0408 671 335


International Canoe Federation


Australian Paralympic Committee
P: +61 2 9704 0500

Get in Contact

Australian Canoeing is the peak national body for para-canoe in Australia. Their contact number is (02) 8116 9727. To place an enquiry with Australian Canoeing email: 


Intro to Para-Canoe from Australian Paralympic Committee