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International Paracanoe Classification Explained

With the inclusion of Paracanoe into the Paralympic programme from 2016, the classification of impairments were restructured in February 2015. Athletes wishing to join the performance programme must meet the below criteria in order to compete on an international scale.

The two main types of Paracanoe boats are:

Ian Montemor O Velho

Kayaks (KL classes), propelled by a double-blade paddle:

Jack Eyers Szeged 2018 2

Outrigger canoes called Va'as (VL classes) have a ‘pontoon’ called an ama as a support float on the right side of the boat. The boat is propelled by a single blade paddle. 

Paracanoe Table

  Classes for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Programme:

- KL1 (men / women)

- KL2 (men / women)

- KL3 (men / women)

- VL2 (men / women)

- VL3 (men)


The Paralympic Paracanoe classification of impairments were restructured as of February, 2015 as a result of a two and half year study by the ICF. In 2018 the Va classification system was reviewed.

For further information on Paracanoe athlete classification details, please click here to see the ICF Paracanoe website.   

Click here to access the Tokyo Paracanoe webpage