Whitewater open canoes used for downriver racing are derived from traditional open Canadian or Native American canoe designs, which feature bow and stern ends which are particularly pointed and sit higher than the middle of the hull. Whitewater open canoes (WWOC) are also categorized by their symmetrical side-to-side profile, and they are propelled with single bladed paddles.
There are two categories of canoes used in WWOCD competitions: stock and unlimited. The stock classes are intended to include canoes sold for general recreational use. In general, ABS, polyethylene, aluminum, and wood/canvas canoes will qualify for inclusion in this category (assuming they meet the dimension requirements). An accepted canoe must be or have been a commercially available, general production model to qualify for the stock classes. Fiberglass/Kevlar/composite and wood-strip canoes will generally be included in the Unlimited classes. Both sprint and downriver competitions are contested on class II through IV whitewater for these two canoe categories. See the WWOCD competition rules for complete details and boat specifications.