Para Canoe

New Zealand’s Scott Martlew competes in the Men's 200-metre KL3 paracanoeing heat on day 7 of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

What's it all about?

Have you ever wanted to race on water, relying on nothing but a boat, paddle and your supersonic strength? If that’s the case, then definitely check out para canoe!

How it's played

Things to watch for

an athlete in her boat, holding her oars
Alana Nichols of the United States competes in the Canoe Sprint Women’s KL2 200 metre at Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. (Alexandre Loureiro/Getty Images)
The boats
  • Some boats are modified according to the athlete’s ability. 
  • Some athletes may need to be strapped in for additional support. 
  • The va’a, which is a type of boat, is longer than a kayak and can have a float device on either side of the boat to make sure the boat doesn’t tip.
three athletes in their boats clasp hands after the race
Ukraine's Serhii Yemelianov (right), Germany's Tom Kierey (centre) and Brazil's Caio Ribeiro De Carvalh (left) in the Canoe Sprint at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. (Al Tielemans/AFP via Getty Images)
Piddle paddle
  • These water-scooping blades are used with the kayak. 
  • The athletes will propel the boat by paddling on alternating sides of the boat. 
  • A single-blade paddle is used with the va’a.
three athletes in their boats take off at the beginning of the race
Emma Wiggis of Great Britain in action during the Canoe Sprint - Women's KL2 200 metre at Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. (Photo by Alexandre Loureiro/Getty Images)
Ready, Set… Go!
  • On the ready command, the athletes get into position to paddle. 
  • On the set command, they place their paddle into the catch position. 
  • There will be either a loud bang, or the announcer will yell, "go!"