Kayak Flatwater Racing
The sport of kayak flatwater racing is a challenge of fitness, skill and determination competed over sprint, marathon, and ultra-marathon distances, primarily on calm water canals, rivers, and lakes.

Most races are split into ability divisions so all ages (starting at age 8), and all levels of fitness and speed can enjoy racing, learning, and improving, while competing with people of similar ability.

In the UK there is a friendly vibrant community of flatwater racing clubs, competing regularly at regional and national level in marathon and sprint events throughout the year. Around 70 events are held across the country each year, with over 12,000 race entries. Race events are always a great day out and we get to visit some beautiful locations.

National Marathon Championships
One of the flagship competitions is the annual 2-day National Marathon Championships, where over 1,000 paddlers race for medals across age and ability classes, with K1 (single person kayak) races held on the Saturday and K2 (two-person kayak) races on the Sunday.

National Sprint Regattas
In the UK there are also four 2-day National Sprint Regattas held each year at the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham. During each of these weekend events there are over 200 races across all the different age, speed and K1, K2 and K4 categories.

Race Distances

Sprint race distances are typically: 200m, 500m and 1000m.

Regional marathon distances:

  • 2 miles (for under 14s)
  • 4 miles to 12 miles (for over 14s and adults)

International/Elite marathon races are usually longer distances.

There are also Ultra marathon races (for those crazy enough), including the world famous 125-mile Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Marathon.

International Elite Racing

Sprint racing is an Olympic sport and Team GB have won medals at the Tokyo, Rio, London, Beijing, and Sydney games.

Elite athletes also compete at international level in European and World Championship events in both Marathon and Sprint. GB teams have won over 30 medals at European, and World Marathon Championships in recent years.