The number of people heading abroad for kayaking or canoeing breaks has grown consistently in recent years. In each of the past four years the number of people taking out our cover for the sports have increased on average by 20%.
For aficionados, the difference between the two activities may be clear. However, for people considering taking up a water-based sport, deciding one over the other may not be so easy. So we’ve put canoes vs kayaks to see which vessel is for you…
The key differences between kayaks and canoes
Before getting into what each vessel can do, we need to understand the key differences between the two. There is a slight difference in shape between kayaks and canoes, with the former being slightly thinner and pointed at the ends. However, there are two even bigger differences.
Firstly, the way in which a person sits in the vessel differs between canoes and kayaks. In the former, paddlers will often sit on seat, raised slightly from the bottom of the boat, or even kneel on the canoe’s hull.
For kayakers though, the seating arrangement is for your legs to be straight out in front of you, completely enclosed within the deck of the boat.
The other big variation between kayaks and canoes is in relation to the paddles. A canoe paddle will only have a blade on one end, as an individual will hold the paddle at the non-bladed end and alternate strokes either side of their boat.
Kayak paddles are different in that they have blades on both ends. With the rider sitting lower, down closer to the water, this allows them to stroke the water either side of them as they sit.
Canoe and Kayak-based activities
So, you know the differences between canoes and kayaks, but the differences don’t end there. If you are looking to get into either one of the two sports, you’re spoilt for choice in the specific activities you could do.
Although both will often be able to meet your needs when it comes to the battle of canoes vs kayaks, which one you choose often depends on the pace you want to take things…
For those looking to kick back and relax…
How about packing a bag and some sleeping accessories, and heading off into the wild? Canoe camping is the simplest way to enjoy time spent on your boat, at one with nature.
Do your research about potential river routes, and the rules about where you can travel and sleep, and set off for an adventure like no other.
America has some of the best spots for a week-long canoe camping trip. Whether your floating down the Rio Grande in Texas, or taking in the beauty of the Boundary Waters of Minnesota, the US is hard to beat for this sort of holiday.
For those who want an adrenaline rush…
White water rafting is one thing, but tackling some serious rapids in a kayak is another. Sitting mere centimetres from the rush of the raging river, kayakers can immerse themselves in an adrenaline-fuelled run like no other.
Whether you start off slowly and work your way up the different grades of waters, or throw yourself in at the deep end (no pun intended) will depend on your confidence level. Just ensure you take all relevant safety measures before getting in the water.
The rivers of Europe are primed with great rapids to test your balance, nerve and kayaking ability. The Soca Valley of Slovenia, or the southern French Alps are just two of the epic regions to find some great white water.
For lovers of team sports…
Just because you want to try canoeing or kayaking doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. For those who enjoy the camaraderie of team sports, look no further than canoe polo.
The name is a bit of a red herring here as in truth players use kayaks with double-bladed paddles. Nevertheless, the sport is pretty straightforward; simply get the ball into your opponent’s goal, while splashing your way around a pitch made up of a pool.
The action is frenetic with more than a handful of players often ending up submerged in the water. There are plenty of clubs that can introduce wannabe canoe/kayak polo participants to the sport.
For those wanting to sail the open seas…
An adventure exploring coastal caves or sailing the open seas is fantastic to do from a kayak. With legs enclosed from the splashing of the waves, there’s no need to worry about getting too wet – as long as you stay upright that is!
A huge range of organised tours take tourists on exploratory escapes all around the world. Whether it’s the islands of Greece, the coast of Croatia or the wonder of Australia’s Coral Sea and the Great Barrier Reef, there is no better way to explore our seas and oceans without going underwater.
Extra reserves of stamina may be required if you venture out on a particularly choppy day, but establish your paddling rhythm, watch the current, and away you go!
If you’re heading overseas for some canoe or kayak-based activities, make sure you’re covered for all that you do. Our Sports Travel Insurance policy covers a wide range of sports on and off the water.