Although Canoe/Kayak have been a part of the culture of the Americas for many years, the first official competition for Sprint Canoe in the Americas took place in 1987 Pan Am Games in Indianapolis, USA. The following countries took part in this inaugural competition; Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Uruguay and the USA as the host nation. All of the federations were invited by their respective Olympic Committees as there was not an official Pan American organization governing canoeing in the Americas at that time. The key individuals who were a part of this first endeavour were; Chic Dambach from the USA; Arturo Canovi, from Argentina; and Henry Gomez, from Uruguay. Mr. Charles Yatman also served as a USA delegate at this historic event.

Over the next four years there was continued interest in developing a Pan American organization and in 1991 in Habana the first organization was formed. It was called the Consejo Pan Am De Canoas and Mr. Ricardo Monardes of Chile was appointed the first President. Over the next few years meetings were held bi-annually with participants from various countries representing their interest in the sport of canoe/kayak. 

  • 1993 in South America with the following representatives; Benjamin Szferman, Argentina; Christian Moya, Chile; Ernesto Salazar, Venezuela; Joao Tomasini Schwertner, Brazil; and Veliz from Cuba.
  • 1995 in Mar Del Plata – the original name of Consejo Pan Am De Canoas is changed to Confederacion Pan Am De Canoas (COPAC); the name which is still used today. At this time, COPAC is recognized as the official Continental Organization for the Americas and is given support by the ICF President Mr. Sergio Orsi and ICF Vice President Mr. Jose Perurena.
  • 1995 – elections are held for the COPAC first slate of Officers;
    • President – Veliz (Cuba)
    • 1st Vice President – Arturo Leibers (Bolivia)
    • 2nd Vice President – Charles Yatman (USA)
    • Treasurer – Valdez (Cuba)
  • 1995 COPAC was accepted as the official organization for the Americas to sit on the board of the ICF and as such the Americas were given three seats on the ICF Board, one for each of the sub continents (North, Central, and South America). Over the years there were a number of prominent individuals who served on the ICF Board from the Americas. Individuals such as; Andy Toro, USA; Robert Sleeth, Canada; Jose Slade and Rene Romero, Cuba; Ariel Arbo, Argentina; Joao Tomasini Schwertner, Brazil. Today COPAC has as its representatives; Charles Yatman, North America; Victor Ruiz, Central America; and Cecilia Farias, South America.
  • 1997 – in Halifax the unexpected death of COPAC President Veliz promted an Extraordinary Congress to be held in Brazil. Mr. Charles Yatman was elected the new President of COPAC. He has subsequently been re-elected as President in Winnipeg, 1999; Santo Domingo, 2003; and Rio de Janeiro, 2007.
  • 1997 COPAC, represented by President Charles Yatman, is invited to join and be a part of the meetings of Asociacion de Confederaciones Deportivas Panamericans (ODEPA) or Pan American Sport Organization (PASO). COPAC continues to be an active participant in this organization.


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