Short History

     For as long as there have been people those people have paddled canoes. Almost every civilization on this planet has early archaeological evidence of canoes serving a significant role in civilizations and cultures. There is evidence in China’s recent finds that suggest they have found a canoe that dates to 8000 years old. Any way you slice it, the history of canoe/kayak has its roots in paddling canoes and kayaks as a means of transportation, hunting, fishing as old as mankind itself. The Kayak probably originates from Greenland, where it was used by the Eskimos while the Canoe was used all over the world. Kayak was found predominately in the northern parts of the world, North America, Siberia and Greenland.
     In the 1800s people began to study the early canoes and kayaks of native peoples and started to develop their own designs. This led to a whole new use for canoes and kayaks, one of pure recreation. In the 1860s John MacGregor, a Scottish lawyer, sportsman, traveler, and philanthropist, was a major figure in the development of canoeing as recreation and sport. He designed sailing canoes, which were decked and provided with a mast and sail as well as paddles, traveled in them throughout Europe and in the Middle East, and promoted their use in lectures and books. In 1865 or 1866 MacGregor founded the Canoe Club (from 1873 the Royal Canoe Club) with other prestigious sportsmen and travellers and in 1866 the Royal Canoe Club held its first regatta.
     In 1924, canoeing associations from Austria, Germany, Denmark and Sweden founded the Internationalen Representation for Kanusport, and after World War II, the organization was reconstituted as the International Canoe Federation in 1946. Canoe/kayak was first introduced at an Olympic Games in 1924 with the Flatwater Racing exhibition. Flatwater Racing was introduced as an official Olympic event 12 years later, in the 1936 Games, and for a women in the 1948 Games. The first Slalom Racing events to be held in the Olympics occurred in Munich in 1972.