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Adaptive Paddling

Page last updated March 16, 2014

USCA's Adaptive Paddling Program

NEW! Download the USCA Adaptive Paddling Travel Grants Application Form.

Read about the new Travel Grants program in this article: Travel Grants for Paddlers with Physical Disabilities.

Outrigger canoeing, canoeing and kayaking are excellent recreational, fitness and competitive paddle sports for individuals with physical and/or intellectual disabilities.

USCA's Adaptive Paddling Chair, Jan Whitaker began working with paddlers with disabilities in 2007 and continues to promote new paddle sports opportunities as a USCA chairman and also as President of Cape Ability Outrigger Ohana, Inc. (CAOO), a chapter of Disabled Sports USA and Paralympic Sport Club Western New York. CAOO's mission is to provide the opportunity for individuals with disabilities to gain confidence and dignity through participation in paddle sports, recreation and related educational programs.

Jan helped USCA present its first adaptive paddling event at the 2001 USCA National Championships at Lake Lanier, Georgia where a local adaptive clinic and exhibition outrigger canoe races were held. USCA offers national championship sprint races for adaptive paddlers as part of the annual USCA National Canoe & Kayak Championships. Jan continues to provide clinics and presentations to promote adaptive paddling and assist groups in starting new programs.

USCA is pleased to announce that at a meeting in Guangzhou, China in December 2010, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Governing Board voted to increase the number of sports at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games to 22 with the addition of para-canoe and para-triathlon to the existing Sports Programme. Jan serves as a member of USA Canoe/Kayak's Paracanoe Committee and the IVF's Adaptive Paddling Committee - see video. In 2009, she coached the first United States outrigger canoe team entered in the ICF World Sprint Championships; the team earned a gold medal. Jan also assisted in coaching the adaptive paddlers who represented the United States in the K1 and K2 races; the K2 team earned a silver medal.

USCA is also pleased to announce that its 2014 National Canoe & Kayak Championships in Lockhaven, PA (August 12-17, 2014) will include the National Sprint Championships for Paddlers with Physical Disabilities (PV1 - solo va'a - and PK1 - solo kayak).

Click here for Canoe News articles on adaptive paddling and the forthcoming USCA Nationals. Link here to Chosen Valley Creating Ability for information about adaptations for paddlers with disabilities.

Contact for information about adaptive paddle sports. Adaptive paddlers interested in representing the United States in ICF events should contact USA Canoe/Kayak at

Links & video:
Cape Ability Outrigger Ohana, Inc
   International Canoe Federation

International Va'a Federation

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