Ocean Racing (Surfski) - ACA

ICF Sports

Ocean Racing (Surfski)

Ocean Racing (Surfski)

ICF Canoe Ocean Racing (COR) is a paddlesports discipline combining the thrill of competition with the beauty and power of the sea.  In ocean racing, competitors traverse open water courses using long, sleek, sit-on-top kayaks known as surfskis.  Often made of fiberglass, kevlar, and/or carbon fiber, surfskis are ultralight, watertight, self-bailing craft capable of handling even the most extreme ocean conditions.

Ocean racing attracts both seasoned athletes and newcomers alike. It’s a sport where endurance meets excitement, offering racers the chance to test their limits against the backdrop of America’s stunning coastal landscapes and unique open water locations.

Whether you’re an experienced paddler or just beginning to explore ocean racing, the USA surfski paddling community welcomes you. Races range from short “around the cans” buoy races, to exhilarating downwind runs, to challenging long-distance events, accommodating all levels of skill and ambition.

And, as part of the ICF’s global network of national federations, the ACA facilitates opportunities for paddlers to compete in high-caliber national and international ocean racing events as part of the USA Ocean Racing Team.

Funding and Support

The ACA Ocean Racing Committee has launched the USA Ocean Racing National Development Fund, which is dedicated to advancing the sport of ocean racing by supporting athlete training, competition expenses, introductory programs, coaching education, and competition production throughout our country.  Please consider contributing to the growth of ocean racing – Donate Now!


ICF-spec canoe ocean racing in the USA is governed by the ACA Ocean Racing Committee (ORC).  The Ocean Racing Committee’s mission is to represent the USA ocean racing community to national and international stakeholders, promote opportunities for development and competition, qualify athletes for national and international ocean racing competitions, and facilitate athlete participation at national and international ocean racing competitions.

The Ocean Racing Committee is currently comprised of the following individuals:

  • Geoff Pearson (Southeast)
  • Greg Barton (Northwest)
  • Jesse Lishchuk (Southeast, Athlete Representative)
  • Matt Drayer (Northeast)

Contact the ORC at orc@americancanoe.net

National Development Program

The ACA Ocean Racing Committee has launched a National Development Program experiment with the goal to encourage ocean racing competition production and participation. At a high level, the National Development Program features an annual National Series, a performance-based Athlete Classification System, and a collection of tools and resources for athletes, coaches, organizers, and clubs. Please visit USASurfski.com for details.

USA Ocean Racing Team Selection

As a member of the ICF’s global network of 172 national federations, the ACA facilitates opportunities for paddlers to compete in high-caliber ocean racing events throughout the world via the USA Ocean Racing Team.  Interested athletes may contact the ACA Ocean Racing committee to communicate their intention to participate in a particular continental/international competition, and then meet the below eligibility requirements.  

Note that the ACA does not currently require a performance-based selection process to represent the USA at any continental or international ocean racing championship or cup series competition.  However, the ACA reserves the right to review and discuss a candidate’s qualifications for a given competition prior to composing the required Attestation of Competency letter. Athletes may potentially accelerate this process by completing at least one benchmark race indicated in the list below, however doing so is not required.

2024 USA Ocean Racing Team Eligibility Requirements