The key difference between kayaking and canoeing is that kayak paddlers use a double-bladed paddle, whereas canoeing paddlers use a single-bladed paddle.
Both kayaks and canoes are types of boats that use paddles. In kayaking, the paddler is seated and uses the double-bladed paddle. He pulls the blade through the water on alternate sides to go forward. To move a canoe forward, the paddler kneels and uses a single-bladed paddle.
Sometimes, kayaking is also referred to as a type of canoeing. There are three types of canoeing named kayaking, standard and open canoeing. A standard canoe is similar to kayaking, but a single-ended paddle is used for it. The open canoe is the more traditional canoeing method.
What is Kayaking?
Kayaking is the activity of moving through water using a kayak with the help of a double-bladed paddle. The paddler sits in the cockpit of the kayak, which is a sleek boat, with his legs stretched forward under a closed deck with his upper body exposed. Since the legs are covered, it protects them from various elements, while the narrow shape of the kayak helps in going through the water efficiently. Kayaks were first used by Inuits in the Arctic region for navigation, transportation, and hunting.
Kayaking does not need prior experience and is open to anyone. It can be done both as a quiet leisure time activity in shallow waters or a high-energy sport in rushing waters. It can also be done in all types of water, like rivers, oceans, and lakes. At the same time, kayaking can be combined with other outdoor activities, such as fishing and camping. Generally, kayaking is best done in spring, summer, or autumn, and warm water is recommended over cold water.
Equipment that is needed in kayaking includes a kayak, double-bladed paddle, life jacket, helmet, safety goggles, water-resistant clothes, waterproof bag, and durable shoes.
There are various types of kayaking, such as:
- Recreational kayaking, which helps people to explore new waterways and enjoy nature,
- Sport kayaking, which can be done in competitions or as workouts, and
- Sea kayaking needs in-depth knowledge, experience, seaworthy kayaks, various equipment, and the ability to endure long journeys.
What is Canoeing?
Canoeing is a water sport that involves paddling a canoe using a single-bladed paddle. In canoeing, the rider uses a single-bladed paddle to steer the canoe and go down a river.
Canoeing can be done whenever there is a body of water. Early canoes were made using shaping huge tree trunks. They were strong enough for people to travel from one place to another. They were used as a transportation method in those days. Early North American Indians were more effective in making canoes. They made wooden rib frames and covered them with the barks of birch trees. White pine roots were used to hold the joints of the canoe, and hot pine was applied to make it waterproof. Even today, this design is more or less the same since it hasn’t evolved much.
Modern recreational canoeing started in the late 19th century. It has been included in Summer Olympics since 1936. Eighty-five countries take part in this competition. The competitions are held in large rivers and can be played as a single person or as a team. In competitions, the competitors are provided with a canoe, a paddle, and eye and headgear. All the players sit in their canoes in a single horizontal line and start paddling at the signal.
Some advantages of canoeing are,
- Recreation – since this is an organized, skillful and competitive sport that needs commitment,
- Exercise – a bodily activity that helps to maintain physical fitness and overall health
- Travel and tourism – allow people to get a unique experience.
What is the Difference Between Kayaking and Canoeing?
The key difference between kayaking and canoeing is that kayak paddlers use a double-bladed paddle, while canoeing paddlers use a single-bladed paddle. Moreover, kayaks are closed-deck boats, whereas canoes are open-deck boats.
The below infographic presents the differences between kayaking and canoeing in tabular form for side-by-side comparison.
Summary – Kayaking vs Canoeing
Kayaking is moving through water using a boat with the help of a double-bladed paddle. It is done in a sleek, lightweight boat named a kayak, where the rider sits stretching his legs forward under a closed deck. Canoeing is a water sport that involves paddling a canoe using a single-bladed paddle. Here, the rider sits or kneels inside the canoe, which is open from the top. Since the kayak is closer to the water than a canoe, it is less stable and has a high possibility of capsizing. Thus, this is the summary of the difference between kayaking and canoeing.
1. “Woman kayaking on a turquoise lake (51125937521)” By Guillaume Bonastre – Woman kayaking on a turquoise lake (CC BY 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Adult, two, children, canoe, lake” (CC0) via Pixino