An Olympic sport since Berlin 1936,
the hollowed-out log canoe has been transporting man up rivers and along coastal waters
for thousands of years.
Eskimos designed the kayak to their needs and many variations can be
found in the Arctic region. With no trees to hollow out, they made the frame from
whalebone and driftwood; stretching a sea-lion skin tautly over it and waterproofing their
mode of transport with whale fat.
In the 19th century, Scottish barrister John MacGregor had a wooden
kayak built and took his notepad into the rivers and lakes of Europe's wilderness to write
the book 'A
Thousand Miles in the Rob Roy Canoe'.
He later founded the Royal Canoe Club, and canoe regattas soon
followed, in 1866.
There are two disciplines currently featured in the Olympics: Flatwater and Slalom.
But first the terminology:
K-1, K-2 and K-4 means one, two or four people in a kayak.
Likewise, with C-1 and C-2; canoes with one or two people.
Europe remains the traditional power base of the sport, led by
Germany, Sweden and athletes from the former Soviet Union.
As the name suggests, races are held on flat water, with competitors
assigned to lanes.
Women only compete in kayaks, paddling in the closed boats from a
sitting position, with a double-blade paddle.
Men race in kayaks and canoes; paddling in the open boats from a
kneeling position, using a single-blade paddle.
The dramatic whitewater version of the sport that looks as exciting as
it is difficult.
There are only four events in this category; again the women drawing
the shorter straw.
Men get to compete in the C-1 (canoe single), C-2 (canoe double) and
K-1 (kayak single) while women have to settle for the K-1 (kayak single) only.
Fischer, of Germany, is the only canoeist to win twelve medals (8 gold and 4 silver)
in 24 years of Olympic competition.
Birgit followed her K-1,500m single woman's gold in Moscow 1980, for East Germany, with two gold medals and a
silver in Seoul 1988. The other eight medals (for unified
Germany) came in Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000
and Athens 2004.
Fredriksson, of Sweden, earned his place in kayak Olympic history with a total haul of
eight medals: 6 gold , 1 silver and 1 bronze at four Olympic Games: London 1948, Helsinki 1952,
Melbourne 1956 and Rome
C/ Antracita, 7 4th floor, 28045 Madrid, Spain.
The International Canoe Federation was founded in 1924 to form a link between the new
canoeing associations emerging in various countries, promote foreign touring and organise
Official Canoe and Kayak Bodies
American Canoe Association:
The mission of the American Canoe Association (ACA) is to promote the health, social and
personal benefits of canoeing, kayaking and rafting and to serve the needs of all paddlers
for safe, enjoyable and quality paddling opportunities.
American Whitewater restores rivers dewatered by hydropower dams, eliminates water
degradation, improves public land management and protects public access to rivers for
responsible recreational use.
Australian Canoeing and Kayaking:
Australian Canoeing (AC) is the national organisation responsible for the management,
co-ordination, development and promotion of paddle sports in Australia.
British Canoe Union:
The governing body of paddle-sports within the United Kingdom.
The official website of the Canadian Canoe Association has links to canoe clubs around
Canada as well as all the official news and competition entries.
The Canadian Recreational Canoeing Association was conceived in 1971 as a result of the
perceived need that recreational paddling enthusiasts from across Canada required a
national body to co-ordinate the efforts of those involved in non-competitive canoeing and
European Canoe Association:
Latest news, competition results and touring events on Europe's waterways.
Royal Canoe Club:
The Royal Canoe Club (RCC) is based on the River Thames in Teddington, just a few miles
from central London. The club was founded in 1866 and has been prominent in UK canoeing
and kayaking ever since.
Canoeing in Sweden:
The Canoe Guide site presents about 400 different trips by canoe and kayak in Sweden; on
lakes, rivers and small streams as well as tours in archipelagos and along the coast.
The International Canoe Federation also promote canoe polo on
its sporting calendar.
Forum for fans of canoe polo.
The Alpine Kayak
Friends of the extreme, alpine paddling report here about their adventures, experiences
and expeditions world-wide.
World Kayak Federation:
Their ideal is to develop and safeguard whitewater kayaking as a recreational activity and
as an athletic endeavour, with efforts focused on the development of whitewater parks,
events, and raising the standards for whitewater kayaking instruction and instructor
Not in English
Austria Canoe Federation -
Brazilian Canoe Confederation -
Confederação Brasileira de Canoagem.
Croatian Canoe Federation -
Hrvatski Kajakaski Savez:
With a small English section.
Czech Canoe Federation.
Federation Francaise de Canoe Kayak.