The purpose of the American Canoe Association (ACA) is to unite all persons interested in canoeing, kayaking, and rafting and thereby through our organization provide educational, informational and training services to increase safety, enjoyment and skills of those paddling on rivers, lakes, estuaries and other bodies of water. In order to maintain consistent rules and safety standards for paddling events throughout the United States, the ACA provides governance for a number of paddlesport disciplines through National Activity Committees and the National Competition Council. The ACA uses the term "discipline" to refer to the type of paddling activity, which is determined by the type of paddle craft and the waterway on which it is used. Altogether, the ACA sanctions and produces events that represent more than 15 paddlesport disciplines and WWOCD is one of those disciplines. The National Competition Council oversees the development of all program plans and other reports generated by a National Activity Committee such as the WWOCD and develops the general procedures and protocols as it deems necessary and appropriate. The purpose of the WWOC is, to encourage, sanction and sponsor competition in “whitewater open canoe” at local, regional, national, and international levels. See WWOCD By-laws .
A whitewater open canoe is a traditional open Canadian or Native American canoe, which is a boat with ends pointed and higher than the middle, symmetrical side-to-side, and propelled with single bladed paddles. There are two categories of canoes used in WWOCD competitions. They are defined as Formula 16 and Formula 14. The Formula 16 classes are intended to include canoes sold for general recreational use. In general, ABS, polyethylene, aluminum and wood/canvas canoes will qualify for inclusion (assuming they meet all weight and dimension requirements) while fiberglass/kevlar/composite and woodstrip canoes will generally be included in the Formula 14 classes. A canoe MUST be or have been a commercially available, general production model to qualify for the Formula 16 classes. See the WWOCD competition rules for complete details and canoe specifications.