CRNZ governs the kayaking disciplines of Canoe Sprint, Ocean ski and Canoe Marathon in NZ. Each with it’s own excitement and intricacies, there is something for everyone.

Canoe Sprint

Canoe Sprint is fast, adrenaline-fuelled race to the line over a straight, flatwater course.

Paddlers race in a separate lane, over three  distances – 200m, 500m & 1000m. 

There are kayak* events for men and women, in single (K1), double (K2) and four-person boats (K4). There are also Paracanoe events where paddlers with impairments can compete in Kayak (K) and Va’a (V).

Canoe Sprint is an Olympic and Paralympic event, and NZ has a proud history of success on the world stage. 

Sprint Events in NZ

New Zealand has 4 major sprint regattas each season:

  • Canoe Sprint National Championships (typically April at Lake Karapiro)
  • Tikitapu 1 and Tikitapu 2 (December and February at Lake Tikitapu in Rotorua)
  • South Island Championships (typically October in the South Island)

In our New Zealand regattas we cater for all age groups from 12&Under right through to Masters. We also include mixed team boats and club relays.

These events are often included in selection criteria for Junior, U23 and open ICF World Championships.

*Canoe events (C1, C2 and C4) are an extensive part of the international programme but are currently not offered widely in New Zealand.

Ocean Ski/Surf ski

Ocean/surf skis are long and sleek open-top kayaks designed for open ocean paddling, but are also well suited to all bodies of water and recreational/fitness paddling.

But where the real magic of skis lie is in downwind paddling, where paddlers use the wind, waves and ocean swells to surf down waves in an adrenaline-filled open-water adventure. Downwind races are typically longer distance events. 

In ocean racing, it is not necessarily the fittest or strongest paddler who wins the event, but the one who is able to master and make the most of the conditions.

 Events in NZ

Canoe Racing NZ coordinates the Darcy Price NZ Ocean Ski Series- a national points series made up of 8 independent ocean ski events, run all across the country each summer.

Important note: Due to the nature of ocean ski paddling, it often comes with the most safety risk for paddlers. Paddlers need to be considerate and sensible to ensure they are PaddleSafe.


The sport of canoe marathon is a true test of a paddlers tactics, endurance and athleticism.

Similar to a running marathon, it is a long distance, endurance event- standard races can be up to 30km on a flatwater course, often with regular portages where the paddler must carry the kayak.

Events in NZ

Canoe Racing NZ runs an annual Canoe Marathon National Championship around May.

This is open to all competitors across all age groups with different distances for each age group usually between 3-5km (U12 paddlers) and up to 30km (open competitors). It is often the selection event for that year’s ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships.


In the winter, there is national 10km Winter Series with events hosted by clubs around the country and culminates in the 10km National Championships. This includes shorter races for all age groups.