Kayak and Surfski Measurement Data
The following table shows dimensional data for popular racing kayaks in the northeast United States. The ratio of length-to-width at the 4-Inch Waterline is calculated. This system is known as the Sound Rowers System, whose class definitions are gaining acceptance in the ocean racing kayak community since it's 2008 adoption by the Blackburn Challenge race.
SR Class Ratios: | SK: LT 9.25 | FSK: 9.25 - 10.99 | HPK: GT 10.99 |
An aluminum jig measures width overall, as well as at the 4-inch and 3-inch waterlines (WL). The jig increment is 1/16 inch. With careful use and re-measuring, the maximum width at the 4-inch water measurements below are fairly accurate.
Length at the 4-inch waterline was measured using a fiberglass tape. The location of the 4-inch depth line at the bow and stern was estimated by marking the 4-inch depth with the width jig, laying the hull flat, and eyeballing the rocker. Hull shape bows the tape when stretched from end to end. In sum, length at the 4-inch waterline data below contain error, most likely erring on the long side.
These data are being offered in response to continued debate about kayak class definition for races. Sound Rowers research found sea kayaks tend to sink 4 inches, so the focus has been on 4-inch water line specifications. North Amercian canoe racing went through the same process years ago, ultimately settling upon using length-to-width ratios at the 3-inch waterline because this is to where most people sink racing canoe hulls.