['Canoe Ocean Racing' (International Canoe Federation terminology) refers to surfski and sea kayak ocean-racing.]
As it sounds, ocean-racing takes places on open-water. A fast-growing sport worldwide, its origins are much debated; whether its birthplacebe such warmer coastal areas as Hawaii, Australia, California or South Africa.
Ocean-racing is essential a fusion sport; marathon and sprint where extreme stamina, endurance and fitness are required in addition to ocean-going knowledge, marine navigation skills, wind and current awareness, paddling technique, speed and mental strength.
Currently criteria for ocean-racing is not yet set in stone especially where there are so many boat types, distances and locations that can be contested. Generally speaking, surfskis (singles and doubles) and sea kayaks can be raced, as well as outriggers in some competitions.
Ocean-racing is newly-governed by the ICF, the first ICF World Championship was held in Portugal 2013 where historically over 380 athletes competed from 5 continents. Prior to being the World Championship, the event was also more commonly known as the Nelo Summer Challenge.
Events during the Worlds include: the 'downwind' - 20km single surfski distance paddle both starting and finishing in surf and the 'lifesaver' – 600m ocean-paddle sprint with a beach start and finish.
It is exciting how quickly this sport is developing with more and more nations now having national squads as well as their own domestic competitions. Other competitions on the calender include the EuroChallenge, 4 events currently held in Australia alone and the infamously cold Arctic Sea Kayak race in Norway.