Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Sarasota, Florida, will host major world championship events organized by the International Canoe Federation in 2026.
Sarasota will host the first combined canoe marathon and stand up paddling world championships while the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships will be in Oklahoma City for the first time since 2014.
Oklahoma City is hosting a combined SUP and canoe sprint Super Cup later this year. Sarasota also will host the 2026 ICF Junior and U23 Canoe Sprint World Championships and the 2024 ICF Stand Up Paddlng World Championships.
“Oklahoma City is playing a significant role in bringing international paddlesport attention to the U.S.,” said Rok Sribar, general manager of high-performance programs for the American Canoe Association. “We are also pleased to announce that Sarasota, Florida, has also been awarded international competitions. This is an unprecedented number of events to be awarded to North America. We believe it signals a significant opportunity for America to benefit from the growth in competitive paddlesports that other countries around the globe have already experienced.”
Oklahoma City’s Riversport Rapids whitewater center will be the site for the 2026 event. The weeklong event in Oklahoma City is expected to attract nearly 400 athletes from more than 60 countries.
“Aside from the Olympic Games, this is the most significant event in any given year for the sport,” said Mike Knopp, executive director for Riversport. “Oklahoma City invested in a world-class whitewater rapids center and now, we’re seeing recognition from around the world. It’s a great moment for our city and state.
“Our goal is to be a model for the development of youth participation in competitive disciplines such as whitewater slalom, extreme slalom and flatwater sprint heading into the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 2028,” Knopp added. “We’re investing in world-class coaching and making this an inclusive initiative at a level never seen before in either canoe/kayak or rowing.”