The Paralympic Paracanoe classification of impairments were restructured as of February, 2015 as a result of a two and one half year study by the ICF. In Paralympic kayak competition (K1), there are three classes for both men and women:
• KL1: Athletes with no or very limited trunk function and no leg function and typically need a special seat with high backrest in the kayak.
• KL2: 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.
• KL3: Athletes with trunk function and partial leg function, able to sit with trunk in forward flexed position in the kayak and able to use at least one leg/prosthesis.

At the international level, Non-Paralympic Paracanoe events are the Va'a events. They use the same system of classification. The class titles are: VL1, VL2, VL3.
All races (K1 and Va'a) are at the 200 meters length.