Canoeing for disabled people

Canoeing for disabled people. Two kayakers paddle a kayak as part of the Special Olympics.

Canoeing for disabled people.  Kayaking and canoeing can give everyone a chance to enjoy some exercise and fresh air. Image courtesy of Special Olympics Great Britain.


Canoeing is a highly diverse sport which provides something for everyone, regardless of our age or ability. Canoeing allows us to enjoy some exercise, share a challenge and gain independence whilst also having lots of fun and getting out in the fresh air.

To promote and develop canoeing for disabled people, the British Canoe Union and Canoe England have devised the concept and term PaddleAbility to address the issue of participation in canoe sport and canoe recreation. PaddleAbility focuses on the individual’s ability in canoeing rather than disability.

For more information on PaddleAbility see the Canoe England website or email


The International Canoe Federation includes Paracanoe as a discipline, providing opportunities for paddlers with physical disabilities to participate and compete at club, national and international level.

Whilst not a fixture at the 2012 Paralympics, ParaCanoe will be a fixture at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio– allowing disabled paddlers to take part at the very highest level of competitive paddlesport.

For more information see the International Canoe Federation website

Special Olympics

The aim of the Special Olympics is to provide sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

The Special Olympics provides an opportunity for those with intellectual disabilities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, have fun and share skills and friendship with their families, other athletes and the wider community.

The Great British Special Olympics canoe squad bought back ten medals from the 2011 games, and teams will be competing at the next Special Olympics World Winter Games to be hosted in Pyeongchang, South Korea in 2013, and the next World Summer Games to be held in Los Angeles in 2015.

Canoeing for disabled people in London

Special Olympics training is undertaken at Surrey Canoe Club in west London

For more information see:

Laburnum Boat Club

Special Olympics GB website

Special Olympics GB Team website

Special Olympics International website

Surrey Canoe Club