Adaptive Paddling

Kayaking is so varied that there is literally something for everyone. Paddling allows family and friends to experience exercise and challenge that is therapeutic for both mind and body. More importantly, canoeing is pleasurable and fun! Together, able bodied and adaptive paddlers can share all aspects of the sport.


Paracanoe began as an initiative by the International Canoe Federation (ICF) to allow athletes with an impairment to compete in the sport. The discipline featured with exhibition status under the name paddleability at the 2009 Canoe Sprint World Championships in Dartmouth, NS, Canada, and was given official status as paracanoe at the following year’s edition in Poznan, Poland. Later in 2010, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced at a meeting in Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China, that paracanoe would make its debut at the Paralympic Games in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.


Clubs with specialised facilities for adaptive paddlers

Club Contact Location
Manly Warringah Kayak Club Gaye Hatfield Narrabeen
Newy Paddlers Darren Forbes Newcastle
Windsor Paddlesports Club Windsor

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curt-mcgrath     susan


Competitive Kayak Classes

KL1 A (Arms)1
KL2 TA (Trunk and Arms)2
KL3 LTA (Legs, Trunk and Arms)3

KL1-class competitors have limited or no trunk function and no leg balance. They apply force predominantly using the arms and/or shoulders. Eligible paddlers meet one of the following:

  • Impaired range of motion
  • Loss of muscle strength equivalent to spinal cord injury complete at T12 level.

KL2-class competitors have partial leg and trunk function alongside good arm strength. They may require a backrest and footboard to propel the canoe depending on their leg function. Eligible paddlers meet one of the following:

  • Limb loss of deficiency equivalent to double above leg amputation
  • Significant muscle strength loss in both legs
  • Impaired range of motion within lower limbs and trunk

KL3-class competitors have trunk function and partial leg function. They sit in a forward flexed position and use a footboard or the seat to help propel the boat. Eligible paddlers meet one of the following:

  • Limb loss deficiency equivalent to tarsal metatarsal amputation of foot
  • Loss of muscle strength equivalent to incomplete spinal cord injury at S1
  • Impaired range of motion: In lower limbs