Paracanoe Classification

For a paddler to be eligible to compete in Paddle Australia (PA) and International Paracanoe events, each athlete must be classified under the ICF Classification guidelines. The below information is for athletes and supporters who wish to find out more about the classification system or are preparing for a classification evaluation.

The Paddle Australia system of classification aims to place athletes into classes according to how much their impairment impacts on the core determinants of success in canoeing.  Paddle Australia recognizes six (6) sports classes for paracanoe in the International pathway, with these being KL1, KL2, KL3, VL1, VL2 and VL3.

*Classification is not required for general participation in sport and recreation.

If you require more information on the High Performance program or performance pathways, please visit the corresponding pages.

Kayak Classification Guideline

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    Total Score = 3. Athletes with no or very limited trunk function and no leg function and typically need a special seat with high backrest in the kayak

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    Total Score = 4-7. Athletes with partial trunk and leg function, able to sit upright in the kayak but might need a special backrest, limited leg movement during paddling.

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    Total Score = 8-9. Athletes with trunk functional and partial leg function, able to sit with trunk forward flexed position in the kayak and able to use at least one leg/prothesis.

Va’a Classification Guideline

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    Total Score = 0. Athletes who have no dynamic trunk function and no leg function and will typically paddle with a non-elastic quick release strap around the trunk to secure them in position.

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    Trunk Test = 1.5-13.5 points, Trunk + Leg + On Water Test = 1-27 points. Athletes who have partial leg or trunk function but score lower than 13.5 on the trunk test and have a total score of 27 or lower.

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    Trunk Test = 15-18 points, Leg Test = Less than or equal to 18 points, On Water Test = Less than or equal to 18 points. Athletes with full or almost full dynamic trunk function and can score 18 points or below on the leg and on-water test.

Classification Documents

If you are an athlete about to complete a classification evaluation or for a general understanding of Paddle Australia’s system of classification and athlete eligibility please read this document:  Classification Fact Sheet

In addition to this, athletes must sign the following consent form before undertaking the Paracanoe classification procedure: National Paracanoe Classification Consent Form.

More information on classification can be found on the International Canoe Federations website here.

Other Resources:

Classifier Resources: