USCA Nationals — Kayak Racing Class Guide
For racing at Nationals, USCA currently recognizes five solo kayak classes (K1) and one tandem (K2) class. Click any one of the class names below for that class's individual specifications and a (growing) list of models that fit or may fit that class (read the the IMPORTANT NOTES below first!).
K1 Sea Kayak (K1SeK)
K1 Touring Kayak (K1T)
K1 Downriver Kayak (K1D)
K1 ICF (K1-ICF)
K1 Unlimited (K1U)
K2 Unlimited (K2U)
Click here for all the current USCA kayak specifications - text only
In addition USCA hosts the USACK National Marathon Championships which use International Canoe Federation (Olympic) specifications. The kayak classes for this competition are called:
K1 ICF (K1-ICF) — as above
K2 ICF (K2-ICF)
The abbreviations given in parentheses above are used in various USCA documents.
BEWARE! READ THE FOLLOWING before jumping to the lists of models that fit the classes!
IMPORTANT NOTE #1: Just because a manufacturer calls it a "Sea Kayak" or a "Touring Kayak" doesn't mean it fits the USCA classes that bear those names. It's the USCA definition that counts.
IMPORTANT NOTE #2: The fact that a certain kayak may fit within a class specification does not mean it is a good choice of model to race.
Racing class specifications generally set limits. For example, K1 Sea Kayaks must not be longer than 18 feet or narrower than 8.5% of length at the 4" waterline.
However, there are many, many kayaks that are (much) shorter or (much) wider — and therefore technically fit in the class — that would be poor choices for racing purposes. As a general (but not absolute) rule, the closer a boat's measurements approach the limits defined by a set of specifications, the more competitive it will be.
IMPORTANT NOTE #3: Manufacturer's published measurements may not be accurate. And, depending on the manufacturer, two kayaks of the same model name, and supposedly the same length might differ, possibly by as much as an inch ' or more. Individual examples of a supposedly 18-foot long model may actually measure a little more or a little less than the advertised 18 feet. If the advertised length is close to the spec limit for a class, you had better measure your boat, and carefully! All boats will be measured ("jigged") after the race, and failure to measure up will result in disqualification.