Sprint CanoeKayak is all about speed on the water – strength, technique, balance, endurance and raw speed are all elements of this impressive Olympic discipline. Athletes usually specialize in either Canoe or Kayak within a couple of years of starting the sport. Typically races are 200m, 500m or 1000m, and are run for each of men’s and women’s canoe and kayak, in singles (known as C-1 and K-1 for each of Canoe and Kayak), doubles (C-2 and K-2), and 4s (C-4 and K-4), by age group. Some regattas also have a War Canoe (C-15) which pulls together youth from across genders and ages in a fun but competitive team event. It’s a sport that uses the entire body, including the core and legs to generate power for every stroke. Elite athletes train for hours each week on the water, in the gym and through a variety of cross-training activities to be in peak physical condition. But, Sprint Canoe / Kayak is not only a sport for elite athletes. It is a sport for life, enjoyed by kids as young as 7 -8 and Masters paddlers into their 80s. Regattas are held throughout the summer at the local level for the newest paddlers and at the divisional and provincial level for paddlers with a few years of experience. Many of our club paddlers, both youth and Masters, participate in the National finals every year. There are several opportunities for youth to start to compete internationally at the World Junior Championships and the “Olympic Hopes” International regatta. We continue to train paddlers right up to the level of National team paddlers who represent Canada at International events and the Olympic Games.


North American Indigenous People created canoes hundreds of years ago as an ideal boat for carrying heavy loads on streams, rivers, and lakes, with portability to portage over land.  Similarly, kayaks were in use among the Inuit across Northern North America and Greenland thousands of years ago.

Organized racing evolved over time and Canoe Kayak Canada was founded in 1900 as the Canadian Canoe Association.  It has become one of Canada’s most successful summer sport organizations, supporting athletes to 24 Olympic medals since sprint paddling was introduced to the Olympics in 1936. Canada’s biggest medal haul came at Los Angeles 1984 where six medals were won, including two gold.  These were also the first Games at which Canadian women won kayak medals

Roland Varga


The Olympic program will become gender equal at Tokyo 2020 with the addition of women’s canoe events. Men and women will each compete in four kayak events and two canoe events.

Courtesy of olympic.ca