What’s the difference between kayaking and canoeing?


Canoes and kayaks look fairly similar, they’re both types of boats and use a paddle – so what’s the difference between the two?

If you’re not too familiar with canoeing or kayaking then it’s very easy to get the two mixed up. There’s a few differences between the two sports but there’s also a few similarities – water sport recreation, fishing and traveling.

canoeing-south-west-lakes-cornwall-devon-exmoor-1  kayaking-south-west-lakes-cornwall-devon-exmoor

So what is the difference?

The paddle

One of the main differences between kayaking and canoeing is the paddle used. Typically in canoeing, the paddler uses a single-bladed paddle whereas kayak paddlers usually use a double-bladed paddle. One of the obvious differences between the two sports is the paddling techniques.

Single-bladed paddles are great for long and stable propulsion, they minimize short, sharp movements and is great for families wanting to explore the lakes in comfort. When paddling in a canoe you will use alternate strokes – with one hand on the grip and the other hand on the paddle shaft the paddler will propel themselves forward by using pushing the blade through the water.

Double-bladed paddles are great for learning, it’s easy to pick up the skills and get going. Because the seating position in a kayak is lower than a canoe a single paddle doesn’t provide sufficient power to propel yourself. The double-bladed paddle is great for manoeuvrability, you can zig-zag and general travel faster than canoes. Kayaking is great for friends and families, you can enjoy a range of games, add an element of competition with chase the leader or race against each other.

The boat
Canoe boats generally carry more people, canoeing is more of a leisure sport and are ideal for exploring with the whole family. Kayaks carry less people and have a sleek design, meaning they are better for speed.

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