The International Canoe Federation has launched a bid for inclusion at Victoria 2026 ©ICF

The International Canoe Federation (ICF) has applied for consideration at the 2026 Commonwealth Games in Victoria.

The ICF has tabled the application in conjunction with Paddle Australia for the inclusion of ocean canoeing at the Games with a projected competition site at Geelong.

It has also offered support for outrigger canoeing - governing by the International Va'a Federation - being added to the programme.

"This would be a perfect stage to present the strength of the Commonwealth Games in this canoe discipline," ICF Ocean Paddling Committee chairman Colin Simpkins said.

"There is a lot of community support in Australia as well as in regional Victoria because ocean paddling is one of the most successful recreational water sports in Australia.

"From the perspective of the ICF and Paddle Australia, existing competition venues could be shared with other sports like open water swimming or triathlon so that no additional costs are incurred." 

Paddle Australia is supporting a bid for inclusion at the 2026 Commonwealth Games ©Paddle Australia
Paddle Australia is supporting a bid for inclusion at the 2026 Commonwealth Games ©Paddle Australia

Canoeing is considered an optional sport at the Commonwealth Games but has never been included on the official programme.

"Paddling is in a fortunate position in having a range of well-developed and exciting disciplines to offer," Paddle Australia chief executive Phil Jones said.

"Another home Commonwealth Games provides a great opportunity for Paddle Australia to grow the profile of our sport and showcase our other disciplines on offer, outside of the Olympic disciplines," Jones added.

"Not only would the inclusion of these two disciplines provide increased Australian team representative opportunities for paddlers, the events could also utilise facilities already planned for triathlon and open water swimming at Geelong, one of the four regional centres hosting sports in 2026.

"Both ocean racing and outrigger canoe also enjoy strong participation among Commonwealth countries in the Pacific, which aligns with the overall Government priorities for Victoria 2026."

Lifesaving and coastal rowing are also keen to use the same Geelong location if their bids are successful.

Rowing in any format has not been part of the Commonwealth Games since 1986.