List of Canoe and Kayak Sports A-Z

List of Canoe and Kayak Sports

Canoe and kayak activities were only recognized as official sports at the beginning of the twentieth century, even though the boats used in these disciplines had been around for almost ten thousand years. Long before engines were invented, merchants could only transport goods across rivers and lakes by using canoes or kayaks. The merchants themselves were also the ones that started the first kayak and canoe races as a way of challenging each other after long days of work.

Nowadays, canoe and kayak sports are extremely popular around the world, and some of them are even featured in the Olympic Games. They are accessible to anyone regardless of age or skill level, and they are a great way to keep in shape whether you see them as a fun summer activity or a full-time passion. Both canoeing and kayaking require great endurance, resistance, and coordination which will help you sculpt your upper-body strength.

Canoe and Kayak Sports List A to Z

  • Canoe Freestyle
  • Canoe Marathon
  • Canoe Ocean Racing
  • Canoe Polo
  • Canoe Sailing
  • Canoe Slalom
  • Canoe Sprint
  • Canoeing
  • Creeking
  • Extreme Canoe Slalom
  • Flyak
  • Ice Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Outrigger Canoeing
  • Playboating
  • Quadrathlon
  • Snow Boating
  • Squirt Boating
  • Surf Kayaking
  • Whitewater Kayaking
  • Whitewater Slalom
  • Wild-Water Racing


What are canoe and kayak sports?

Canoe and kayaking sports are defined as activities that involve racing on water surfaces using a boat and one or two paddles. Often considered by many as the same activity due to the common shape of the boat, these sports present two substantial differences. The first main difference lies in the position of the paddler, who sits on a kayak and kneels on a canoe. The other is the paddle, which is double-bladed for kayak sports and single-bladed for canoe sports.

Traditional canoe and kayak sports are usually practiced on bodies of water such as lakes or rivers. However, in recent years, alternative disciplines such as snow boating and ocean canoeing racing have gained great popularity. Another emerging sport is canoe polo, which mixes the fun and competitiveness of polo with canoeing. Nonetheless, canoeing and kayaking remain the most popular disciplines in this category. These sports are practiced worldwide and are quickly becoming the activity of choice for many young athletes.

Which canoe and kayak sports are in the Olympics?

Due to their long tradition and prestige, canoe and kayak sports are among the major attractions at the Olympics. The program includes both canoe slalom and canoe sprinting. Each sport has separate races for kayaks and canoes and, while sprinting involves team races, slalom is a solely individual discipline. Both require completing the course in the shortest time possible. However, canoe sprint takes place on a flat body of water, while slalom is held at courses with artificial rapids and obstacles. Canoe and kayak sprint are also part of the Paralympics program.

What equipment is needed for canoe and kayak sports?

Although each canoe or kayak sport is practiced on different surfaces, they all share some basic equipment. Every canoe and kayak sport involves the use of a paddle, whose shape and material vary based on the discipline. Many sports, including canoe and kayak slalom, also require the use of a helmet. Canoe polo players must wear a lifejacket too due to the constant physical contact of the sport, which could cause the boats to flip over.