1 – The Very Beginning of Canoe


Wherever there is water, there is always an indigenous watercraft. Mostly, this is in the form of a Canoe. The Pesse Canoe is believed to be the world's oldest known boat. Origins of this Canoe can be traced back to 8200 BC from archaeological discoveries found in Netherlands.

Primitive yet elegantly constructed, ranging from 3m to over 30m in length, canoes throughout history have been made from logs, animal skins and tree bark. They were used for basic transportation, trade and in some instances for war. The design of original canoe varied, depending on its use and where it was built; it varied between open-topped bark canoes to a dug-out tree to 130 ft war canoes. In contrast, kayaks were built to ensure icy Arctic water did not enter the boat. They were made by stretching animal skins over a wooden frame and could generally only carry one man at a time.


The Kayak probably originates from Greenland, where it was used by the Eskimos while the Canoe was used all over the world. The word Kayak (ki ak), meaning "man-boat" in Eskimo, was found predominately in the northern parts of the world, North America, Siberia and Greenland. They were ideal for individual transport and were used primarily for hunting and fishing.


The Canoe, on the other hand, was utilised on a much wider scale. From the Native American tribes to the Polynesians, the canoe enjoyed a variety of scales and uses, primarily transport, trade and warfare. Physically the differences between the two boats are that kayaks are closed boats with a cockpit for sitting in. Athletes paddle from a sitting position with a double-blade paddle. Canoes are open boats paddled from a kneeling position with a single-blade paddle.


2 – The Beginning of Canoe Sports


Despite the original origins of canoeing, a Scotsman by the name of John MacGregor is known by many as the father of modern kayaking. He designed his own kayak, called the Rob Roy, 4m long x 75cm wide, weighing 30kg. Between 1864 and 1867 he toured the British waters and travelled throughout Europe. He founded the Royal Canoe Club, London, in 1866 and this club is recognized as the first canoe sports organisation. In 20 years, canoeing would become incredibly popular throughout Europe.

Flatwater canoeing was a demonstration sport at the 1924 Paris Olympics and became an Olympic discipline at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. A total of 9 events for men in canoe sprint were held on 7th and 8th August. Women began competing in kayaks from 1948. Slalom Canoe Sports was later introduced in the Munich Olympic Games 1972.  Recent trends have led away from 5,000m and 10,000m races toward shorter 200m, 500m and 1,000m competitions.

On 19 January 1924 the Internationale Repräsentantenschaft Kanusport (IRK) was formed in Copenhagen, Denmark. IRK later became International Canoe Federation in 1946 and it is the umbrella organization of all national canoe organizations worldwide.

3 – The Beginnings of Asian Canoe Confederation


The Asian Canoe Confederation (ACC) was founded on 13th September 1983 during a Congress held at Ikaho-Japan, attended by delegates from 10 countries: Brunei, Democratic Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, People’s Republic of China, Republic of Korea and Singapore. The 1st ACC President was Yoshio Sakurauchi of Japan Canoe Federation. It is the governing body under the ICF to regulate Asian countries canoe associations. The ACC is recognized by the General Association of Asian Sports Federations (GAASF) and the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA). Canoeing and Kayaking were incorporated into Beijing Asian Games in 1990.

The objectives of the ACC are as follows: 


  • To maintain canoeing as an Asian discipline.

  • To ensure that Asian events are governed by the ICF rules.

  • To establish Asian Championships.

  • To cooperate with the Organizing Committees of Asian and Regional Games;

  • To encourage the establishment of NFs in countries where no such organization exists.


Since its formation in 1983, ACC has grown from 6 members to 37 member countries of the Asian Continent as of 2014. The ACC is grouped into a loose informal confederation of regional countries as follows:


  • East Asian Region – Oriental / Japanese / Mongolian / Korean.

  • South East Asian Region – ASEAN Countries.

  • Indian Sub-Continent Region – SAARC Countries.

  • West Asian Region – Middle East & Central Asian Countries.

© 2018 by ACC. 

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