Boat: Grumman Solo 129, Photos: www.fotodolkens.nl

Freestyle Canoeing has its origin in Canadian Style Canoeing, and the roots of that lie in the canoe performances that guides in North America did for their customers, in the evenings after e.g. a day of hunting or fishing. In the late 1970s and early 1980s people like Tom MacKenzie and Charlie Wilson started naming and defining specific moves. At that time people still used tandem boats, but soon the first solo canoes were built, being much lighter and more manoeuvrable than the tandems.

Canoe builder Mike Galt noticed that Freestyle demonstrations were advantageous to the sale of his boats, and he made use of that. On one of his demonstrations he put some background music on - this was the start of Freestyle performance to music. Dedicated choreographies were worked out, more and more demonstrations were given, and later even competitions were held. Around 1990 the ACA accepted Freestyle Canoeing as an official discipline for the open canoe.

There are about 100 ACA Freestyle Instructors, 12 Instructor Trainers, and 5 Instructor Trainer Educators.