The word “va’a” means “boat” or “canoe” in Samoan and Hawaiian and is used to describe the modern sport of outrigger canoeing. However, the va’a itself is not new, and has been traveling the Pacific Ocean for over 4,000 years, with Ancient Polynesians using it as a vessel of transportation between Pacific islands. The modern sport was developed in Tahiti and Hawaii, and spread to Australia, the United States, Canada, South America, Asia, and Europe over time.
For the first time in 2009, Va’a was a category at the canoe sprint world championships where paracanoe held its inaugural demonstration event. The Va’a discipline is set to make its Paralympic debut with three events at the Tokyo Paralympic Games.