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Kayak Classifications Chart: Length to Width Ratio

Posted by on September 13, 2013

If you have ever entered into a canoe, kayak, or other flatwater race you have most likely had to list your vessel per its waterline length to width ratio (often seen as L:W). Most flatwater racing organizations follow this universally recognized classification for kayaks:

Single Kayaks

Sea Kayak– L:W ratio less than 9.25:1

Fast Sea Kayak– L:W ratio between 9.25:1 and 10.99:1

High Performance Kayak– L:W ratio is greater than 10.99:1

The Surge is 17' 8" from bow to stern (LOA) but has only 15' of waterline length (LWL)

The Surge is 17′ 8″ from bow to stern (LOA) but has only 15′ of waterline length (LWL)

 Double Kayaks

Sea Kayak (SK2)– L:W ratio less than 10:1

Fast Sea Kayak (FSK2)– L:W ratio between 10:1 and 13:1

High Performance Kayak (HPK2)– L:W ratio greater than 13:1



Flatwater race kayaks such as surf skis are classified by the number of paddlers: K1, K3, K3, K4

Belarus men's K4 team won gold in 1000m in 2:55.714 at the 2008 Beijing Olympics (Photo credit: Xinhua)

Belarus men’s K4 team won gold in 1000m in 2:55.714 at the 2008 Beijing Olympics (Photo credit: Xinhua)

Kayak Classifications Chart

The following chart is publicly available courtesy of the Sound Rowers Open Water and Paddlers Club, “a non-profit organization whose sole function is to sponsor human-powered boat racing for weekend and world class athletes.” This chart is the most comprehensive L:W ratio classification for kayaks by make and model available on the internet. Please feel free to reference this chart as tremendous research was invested into its creation.

Manufacturer Model L/W ratio Race Classification
_ANY_ Down River Racer HPK
_ANY_ ICF Sprint and Marathon boats HPK
Action Fish Empire Fly 7.9 SK
AquaDynamic Thelon 17 8.2 SK
Aquaterra Chinook 7.9 SK
Aquaterra Scimitar 8.4 SK
Aquaterra Sea Lion 8.3 SK
Azul Kayaks Aspen 8.8 SK
Azul Kayaks Sultan 9.4 FSK
Bear Mountain Boat Ship Enterprise 8.3 SK
Bergans Ally Folding Sea Touring Kayak 10.1 FSK
Billington Sea Kayak Surge 8.28 SK
Boreal Designs Alvik 8.3 SK
Boreal Designs Ellesmere 9 SK
Boreal Designs Fjord 8.3 SK
Boreal Designs Inukshuk 8.1 SK
Boreal Designs Muktuk 8.2 SK
Boreal Designs Narwhal 8.2 SK
Chesapeake Lt. Craft Chesapeake 16 8.6 SK
Chesapeake Lt. Craft Chesapeake 17 8.8 SK
Chesapeake Lt. Craft Shearwater 17 8.8 SK
Cobra Cobra Expedition 8.5 SK
Current Designs Altura 6.2 SK
Current Designs Andromeda 8.3 SK
Current Designs Breeze 6.5 SK
Current Designs Caribou 8.5 SK
Current Designs Expedition 9.7 FSK
Current Designs Extreme 9.5 FSK
Current Designs Freedom 9.8 FSK
Current Designs Gulfstream 8.5 SK
Current Designs Kestrel 140 6.2 SK
Current Designs Pachena 6.9 SK
Current Designs Piceses 8.6 SK
Current Designs Raven 7.3 SK
Current Designs Slipstream 8.1 SK
Current Designs Solstice GT & ST 8.5 SK
Current Designs Solstice SS 9 SK
Current Designs Speedster HPK
Current Designs Squamish 7.3 SK
Current Designs Storm 7.9 SK
Current Designs Stratus 18 9.8 FSK
Current Designs Vision 130 6.5 SK
Current Designs Vision 140 7 SK
Current Designs Vision 150 7.3 SK
Current Designs Whistler 7 SK
Dagger Baja 8.4 SK
Dagger Cortez 16.5 8.3 SK
Dagger Magellen 8.1 SK
Dagger Meridian 7.8 SK
Dagger Seeker 8.2 SK
Dagger Sitka 9.3 FSK
Destiny Aquila <8.5 SK
Destiny Deception 8.8 SK
Destiny Defiance 8.7 SK
Destiny Kiska <8.8 SK
Dirigo Dirigo <8.5 SK
Dragonworks Islander 8.9 SK
Easy Rider Dolphin 7.7 SK
Easy Rider Eskimo 15 <8.4 SK
Easy Rider Eskimo 16 <8.4 SK
Easy Rider Eskimo 17 8.4 SK
Easy Rider Eskimo 18.6 8.7 SK
Easy Rider Harpoon 19 10.5 FSK
Easy Rider Sea Hawk 8.4 SK
Eddyline Calypso 9 SK
Eddyline Falcon (16′) 8.7 SK
Eddyline Falcon (18′) 9.7 FSK
Eddyline Fathom 8.5 SK
Eddyline Heron 10.7 FSK
Eddyline Merlin <8.0 SK
Eddyline Nighthawk 8.5 SK
Eddyline Orca 8.2 SK
Eddyline Raven 8.3 SK
Eddyline Sea Star 9.7 FSK
Eddyline Skimmer <7.0 SK
Eddyline Skylark 5.3 SK
Eddyline Wind Dancer 8.5 SK
Eddyline Zephyr 8 SK
Epic 18x HPK
Epic 18x Sport FSK
Epic Recreational GP 6.1 SK
Epic Touring Cruiser 16 <8.8 SK
Epic Touring Endurance 18 10.5 FSK
Epic V10/V10L/V10 Sport HPK
Epic V12 HPK
Feathercraft K1 Expedition 8.1 SK
Feathercraft Khatsalano S 9 SK
Folbot Folding K any as single <8.0 SK
Folding Craft 500 EX 7.5 SK
Futura Carrera <13.7 HPK
Futura Futura <8.0 SK
Futura Futura II <12.3 HPK
Futura Futura TR <14.4 HPK
Georgn. Bay Folding Kayak any as single SK
Heritage Expedition LP 8.4 SK
Heritage Nomad 8.2 SK
Hoby Cat Quest 5.5 SK
Hody Sport TK-1 10.9 FSK
HopOnTop HopOnTop 6.8 SK
Huki Huki S1-A HPK
Huki Huki S1-X 15.5 HPK
Hutchinson Design Baidarka Explorer 8.7 SK
Hutchinson Design Islander <9.0 SK
Hutchinson Design Umnak <8.4 SK
HydrTufLite Sea Runner 8.2 SK
HydrTufLite Venture <8.3 SK
Impex Kayak Force Cat 4 9.7 FSK
Impex Kayak Force Category 5 9.15 SK
Innova Kayaks Seaker 1 6.3 SK
JKK Kayaks Supernova 11.8 HPK
JKK Kayaks Total Eclipse 11.8 HPK
JKK Kayaks U2 11.5 HPK
Kajak Sport Artisan Millenium 8.8 SK
Kajak Sport Avalon Viviane 9.9 FSK
Kajak Sport Infinity Active 7.3 SK
Kajak Sport Viking Expedition 8.4 SK
Kirton Kayaks Inuk 10.6 FSK
Kiwi Kayak any as single <7.0 SK
Klepper Folding Kayaks any as single <7.0 SK
Mad River Monarch 7.7 SK
Mariner Coaster 7.4 SK
Mariner Elan 8.4 SK
Mariner Escape 8.9 SK
Mariner Express 8.9 SK
Mariner Mariner 10.7 FSK
Mariner Mariner II 10.2 FSK
Mariner Mariner XL 8.8 SK
Mariner MAX 8.3 SK
Momentum Yacht Design Loki R 9.1 SK
Momentum Yacht Design Loki Sea Race 13.6 HPK
Mont Bell Ellsmere 350 8.5 SK
Natural Design Polaris 8.6 SK
Nautirad Greenlander 16 7.9 SK
Necky Alsek <7.0 SK
Necky Arluk I 11.5 HPK
Necky Arluk II/1.8/1.9 9.9 FSK
Necky Arluk III 8.7 SK
Necky Arluk IV 7.3 SK
Necky Chatham 16 7.4 SK
Necky Elaho 7.5 SK
Necky Eliza 8.1 SK
Necky Kyook <7.7 SK
Necky Looksha II 10.6 FSK
Necky Looksha IV <8.9 SK
Necky Looksha V 8.1 SK
Necky Nootka 7.7 SK
Necky Phantom 13 HPK
Necky Telsa <8.5 SK
Necky Tornak <8.5 SK
Nelo FW 2000 14.5 HPK
Nigel Dennis Romany Explorer 8.2 SK
Nimbus Horizon <8.7 SK
Nimbus Lootas 8.3 SK
Nimbus Puffin 8.5 SK
Nimbus Solander 8.4 SK
Nimbus Sprint 10.3 FSK
Nimbus Zoom 9.23 SK
Novus Composites NC 15 <8.0 SK
Novus Composites NC 17 8.3 SK
Novus Composites NC 19 9.1 SK
NW Kayak Cadence 8.8 SK
NW Kayak Esprit 8.7 SK
NW Kayak Sportee <8.0 SK
NW Kayak Synergy 8.3 SK
NW Kayaks Discovery 8.9 SK
NW Kayaks Pursuit 8.9 SK
Ocean Kayak Manta 6.1 SK
Ocean Kayak Pro S1 109 4.8 SK
Ocean Kayak Scrambler <7.0 SK
Ocean Kayak Scupper 7.5 SK
Ocean Kayak Sprinter 10.4 FSK
Old Town Canoe Egret 7.8 SK
Old Town Canoe Millenium 8.8 SK
P&H Bahiya 8.6 SK
P&H Capella 7.7 SK
P&H Iona <8.5 SK
P&H Orion <8.5 SK
P&H Quest 8.4 SK
P&H Sirius 8.5 SK
Pakboats Puffin Swift 6.8 SK
Perception Avatar 16 7.8 SK
Perception Carolina 7.9 SK
Perception Eclipse 8.6 SK
Perception Sonoma 13.5 6.8 SK
Perception Vizcaya 8.1 SK
Prijon Arctic Tern 14 6.8 SK
Prijon Barracuda 9.1 SK
Prijon Cabalara 6.5 SK
Prijon Kodiak 8.5 SK
Prijon Odysee 7.8 SK
Prijon Seayak 7.6 SK
Prijon Touryak 7.3 SK
Prijon Yukon Eskie 8.4 SK
Pt. 65º North K1 R 8.6 SK
Pt. 65º North K1 VR 8.9 SK
Pt. 65º North K1 XP 10 FSK
Pt. 65º North KIR 8.8 SK
Pt. 65º North X Lite 8.4 SK
PWS Avocet 8.6 SK
PWS Intrepid 8.3 SK
PWS Osprey 9.4 FSK
PWS Sea Otter 7.9 SK
PWS Seal 10.8 FSK
PWS Thunderbird 7.8 SK
PWS Widgeon 7.9 SK
Pygmy Arctic Tern 8.3 SK
Pygmy Arctic Tern 14 7 SK
Pygmy Coho 8.6 SK
Pygmy Goldeneye 8.5 SK
Pyranha Orca 6.8 SK
QCC Kayaks Q300 <8.8 SK
QCC Kayaks Q400 <8.8 SK
QCC Kayaks Q500x 8.8 SK
QCC Kayaks Q600x 9.7 FSK
QCC Kayaks Q700x 10.3 FSK
Rainforest Designs Kap Farvel 8.1 SK
Rainforest Designs Telkwa 8.3 SK
REI (?) Marlin (on top) 7.7 SK
Riot Kayak Tourlite 15 6.8 SK
Seafarer Solander 8.6 SK
Seafarer Sprint 10.4 FSK
Seavivor Folding Kayak Greenland Solo 9.8 FSK
Seaward 2005 Tyee 8.1 SK
Seaward Chilco 9.5 FSK
Seaward Discover Aurora 7.7 SK
Seaward Endeavor 8.7 SK
Seaward Navigator 8.3 SK
Seaward Quantum 8.8 SK
Seaworthy Design Enetai 9 SK
Seda Glider 10.8 FSK
Seda Gypsy 7.5 SK
Seda Ikkuma 17 8 SK
Seda Impulse 10.4 FSK
Seda Starlet 8.2 SK
Seda Swift 8.6 SK
Seda Viking 8.4 SK
Seward Chilco 9.4 FSK
Seward Quest 9.4 FSK
Sisson Evolution >12.0 HPK
Skim Kayaks Dex 9 SK
Skim Kayaks Distance 9.8 FSK
Southern Exposure Legend 9.5 FSK
Southern Exposure Reiver 9 SK
Think Evo HPK
Think Fit FSK
Think Legend HPK
Think Uno HPK
Third Rock Kayak Espresso 8.4 SK
TRAK T-1600 9 SK
Triton Ladoga 1 7.2 SK
Twogood Chalupski 13 HPK
Twogood Mako HPK
Twogood Phoenix 11.3 HPK
Valhalla Valhalla 12.3 HPK
Valhalla Victory 13 HPK
Valley Canoe Aquanaut 8.8 SK
Valley Canoe Aquanaut RM 8.2 SK
Valley Canoe Avocet 7.9 SK
Valley Canoe Nordkapp 9.4 FSK
Valley Canoe Nordkapp H20 8.7 SK
Valley Canoe Nordkapp LV 8.7 SK
Valley Canoe Petrel <7.6 SK
Valley Canoe Selkie <8.6 SK
Valley Canoe Skerray 8.6 SK
Valley Canoe Skerray XL 8.9 SK
Valley Sea Kayak Rapier 20 13.8 HPK
Venturesport Black Marlin <13.7 HPK
Venturesport Eclipse <13.5 HPK
Venturesport Elan Crosstrainer <14.6 HPK
Venturesport Shearwater <13.6 HPK
Venturesport Vector <12.3 HPK
Venturesport Venture 7.6 SK
Venturesport Vintage >8.0 SK
Venure Kayak Ayr 16.5 8.5 SK
Walden Vista <8.0 SK
Waldon Vision 6.6 SK
Westside Boat Wave Piercer 11.6 HPK
Westside Boat Wave XL/Ultra 15.7 HPK
Westside Boat X Par EFT 14 HPK
Westside Boat X Par Missile 18.9 HPK
Wilderness Systems Alto <8.7 SK
Wilderness Systems Arctic Hawk 9.4 FSK
Wilderness Systems Cape Horn 17 8.8 SK
Wilderness Systems Epic 9.7 FSK
Wilderness Systems Seacret <8.0 SK
Wilderness Systems Sealution 8.1 SK
Wilderness Systems Sealution SS/II 8.1 SK
Wilderness Systems Sealution XL 8.8 SK
Wilderness Systems Tempest 165 Pro 8.6 SK

Sound Rowers used the following methodology and measurement for the kayak classification chart: Sound Rower’s Kayak Classifications: Tom Cartmill’s System




5 Responses to Kayak Classifications Chart: Length to Width Ratio

  1. MIke Thomas

    Hey what would a dagger aspostle be classified 17 long by 23.5 wide

    • arrudad

      Hi Mike!

      The Dagger Aspostle falls in the Sea Kayak Class (the L:W ratio is 8.88). Generally you can get away with using the maximum beam of the kayak in the calculation when you’re operating in the slower classes like Sea Kayak and in local races.

      Happy Paddling!

      -Kayak Dave

  2. M. Cheyne

    I am trying to determine which of our boats to take on a 3 day trip. CD Vision 150, Prijon Seayak or Necky Kyook. My choice might be the Kyook, but can you give me a little clarification regrading the less than symbols. Does <7.7 on the Necky Kyook mean it rated at some number between 7.6 and 7.7 or does it mean that it comes in below 7.7 but the exact rating could not determine meaning it could be literally ANY NUMBER below 7.7. Thanks

    • Kayak Dave

      Hi M!

      This chart is designed to guide folks in choosing the correct classification for the purpose of kayak racing. Choosing the appropriate kayak for a multi-day tour depends on a number of factors including the conditions that you may encounter, the distance that you wish to travel, and the amount of gear that you’ll need to carry to name just a few. However, the best advice that I can give you is to suggest that you make your final decision on which boat you feel most comfortable in both with respect to handling and cockpit fit.

      Happy Paddling!

      -Kayak Dave

  3. M. Cheyne

    Hi Dave,
    Could you please tell me what the <7.7 means for the Necky Kyook. All three boats I mentioned in my previous email are suitable with regards to conditions, distance, storage volume, and comfort. However, I will be going with a group that paddles higher performance, long boats made of material that is lighter than my polyethylene. So this may not be a race, but it is still about performance and being able to keep up with the group. Thanks.

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