Paddling in Oklahoma

Oklahoma City is embracing canoe/kayak with an enthusiasm matched only by the excitement of the sport itself. Our focus is on providing both athletes and spectators with the best racing experience possible – and making sure your visit is filled with Oklahoma hospitality. We are excited to share with you all the ways in which Oklahoma City is welcoming canoe/kayak to the Oklahoma River.

In a renaissance that began with the opening of the Chesapeake Boathouse in 2006, both rowing and canoe/kayak have found a new home in the “Boathouse District” on the Oklahoma River. Today, athletes from across the nation are training at the highest level for international competition, and plans for development of the river include construction of three additional boathouses, an ICF and FISA compliant finish line tower, and the most recent addition – $60 million in new river facilities to be built as part of MAPS 3, a one-cent sales tax recently approved by the citizens of Oklahoma City.


The centerpiece of the Oklahoma River’s MAPS projects is RIVERSPORT Rapids – a $45.2 million whitewater kayaking and rafting center to be modeled after the US National Whitewater Center in North Carolina.  With its completion, Oklahoma City will be the only venue in the nation offering world-class flatwater and whitewater racing and training at the same location.

The new MAPS Oklahoma River projects will also include permanent lighting for night racing, the addition of permanent grandstands, a floating stage, and additional race infrastructure…all adding up to a “river stadium” on the Oklahoma River. MAPS projects are scheduled for completion within seven years, with many expected to be completed before then.


The OKC National High Performance Center is dedicated to providing athletes in both rowing and canoe/kayak with the best in training facilities, coaching and competitive opportunities for US athletes to become best in the world. The OKC NHPC has provided training opportunities for a number of athletes who’ve gone on to compete on the world stage at the Junior, U23, and Senior level and in the Flatwater Sprint and Canoe Marathon Disciplines.


The RIVERSPORT Junior Canoe/Kayak Team gives kids the opportunity to race in Olympic-style sprint canoe/kayak competitions – fun, exciting and a great way to get involved in one of America’s fastest growing water sports.

The RIVERSPORT Junior Canoe/Kayak Team is co-ed and open to youth ages 11-18. Practices are held after school and on weekends in the Boathouse District located downtown at the Oklahoma River or at our Lake Overholser Boathouse. Learn more by contacting program director and head coach Aasim Saleh at (405) 552-4040.


Canoe/Kayak athletes train out of the Devon Boathouse which also serves as the headquarters for the OKC National High Performance Center for both rowing and canoe/kayak. Amenities of the Devon Boathouse include an endless pool and state-of-the-art sports performance technology.

To learn more about training opportunities in Oklahoma City or the varsity kayaking program at Oklahoma City University, call (405) 552-4040.


Those who are new to the sport of kayaking are quickly intrigued by this fun, easy-to-learn sport. OKC RIVERSPORT offers a range of lessons for novice paddlers, plus guided paddles both on the Oklahoma River and at the Lake Overholser Boathouse. Everyone is invited to take advantage of hourly kayak rentals at both locations – and a monthly pass give you unlimited kayak usage. [More]