What is the difference between canoe and kayak?


What is the difference between canoe and kayak?

Ever wondered what are the differences between canoeing and kayaking? When choosing a new water sport, many beginners might have difficulty distinguishing between the two, as they seem very similar. This article discusses the fundamental differences between the two sports.

1. The Paddles
canoe paddle

In a canoe, paddlers would use a single-bladed, flat blade paddle to navigate through the waters. However, in a kayak, paddlers would be using a double-bladed curved paddle instead. This is essential, as the difference in the paddles would cause the vessel to move differently and the players would need to learn how to use them. 

2. Sitting position of paddlers in the boat
canoe kneel

In a canoe, the paddler usually kneels or half-kneels inside the vessel. However, in a kayak, the paddler sits on a low seat with their legs stretched in front of them. 

3. Structure of the boat

boat structure

Canoes are normally pointed at both ends, and tend to have an open deck. This means that that inside of the boat is open and uncovered. Kayaks, on the other hand, are usually close-decked, which means that the inside of the kayak is enclosed and surrounds the paddler. 

4. Weight of vessels 

Kayaks are generally narrower in structure and lighter in weight, as compared to canoes. Hence when paddling on water, kayaks would be floating on water while canoes which are wider in structure and therefore heavier, would have more surface area on the vessel touching the water.

5. Speed

In general, kayaks are designed to be faster and more agile than canoes, as they are smaller and lighter. In the hands of a professional paddler, most canoes can be made to travel as fast as comparable kayaks. However, kayaks are known for faster speeds, while canoes are known for greater stability and roominess. 

Overall, both kayaks and canoes have their respective pros and cons, and it is common to see teams of mixed kayak and canoe players paddling on the Singapore waterways together. 

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