Difference between Kayak and Canoe

Key Difference: Kayaks are mainly used for kayaking, which is an official sport. Kayaks are categorized by their long angular look that allows the boat to move forward with speed. A Canoe is also a long angular and narrow boat, however it known more for its stability that for its speed.

Both Kayak and Canoe are small narrow boats that are typically pointed at both ends. While, they have many uses, today they are generally used for water sports and water leisure activities.

Kayaks are mainly used for kayaking, which is an official sport. Kayaks are categorized by their long angular look that allows the boat to move forward with speed. The boat usually carries around one to two people, but some specialty kayaks may carry up to four people at a time. The people usually sit in the cockpit with their legs out in front of them. The cockpit is sometimes covered by a spray deck that prevents the entry of water from waves or spray. The spray deck also allows a paddler to roll the kayak, which means to capsize and right it without it filling with water or ejecting the paddler. The paddles used to row a kayak are usually double sided.

A Canoe, on the other hand, is slightly different that a kayak. It is also a long angular and narrow boat, however it known more for its stability that for its speed. A canoe is usually larger than a typical kayak and can carry more people. Canoes are also more commonly used for leisurely activities. However, they are used for racing and whitewater canoeing, as well as for touring and camping, freestyle, and general recreation. A canoe’s cockpit is also usually open, which allows the paddlers to sit or kneel in the canoe. The paddles used are usually single sided, often with alternate paddlers paddling from opposite sides.

A canoe is also much older than a kayak. Historically, canoes were dugouts or made of bark on a wood frame and the oldest canoe dates back to approximately between 8200 and 7600 BC. Whereas, the kayak was first used by the indigenous Aleut, Inuit, Yupik and possibly Ainu hunters in subarctic regions of the world up to 4000 years ago, dating them back to 2000 B.C.

Comparison between Kayak and Canoe:

 

Kayak

Canoe

Description

A kayak is a small, narrow boat primarily designed to be manually propelled by means of a double-bladed paddle. In the UK the term canoe is often used when referring to a kayak.

A canoe is a lightweight narrow boat, typically pointed at both ends and open on top, propelled by one or more seated or kneeling paddlers facing the direction of travel using a single-bladed paddle. In the UK, however, the term canoe is also commonly used for kayaks despite being "technically incorrect".

First Used

The kayak was first used by the indigenous Aleut, Inuit, Yupik and possibly Ainu hunters in subarctic regions of the world.

Constructed between 8200 and 7600 BC, and found in the Netherlands, the Pesse canoe may be the oldest known canoe.

Terminology

A kayak is defined as K1, K2, K3, K4 etc. The number denotes the number of people that a kayak can carry.

An open canoe can be defined as an OC. An OC1 would be an open canoe with one paddler. An OC2 would be an open canoe with two paddlers.

 

A closed cockpit canoe, as used in canoe slalom or on white water rivers, can be defined as a C1 (one paddler) or a C2 (two paddlers).

Passengers

Kayakers are usually seated on the bottom of the boat with their legs stretched out in front of them.

Paddlers usually sit on a seat or kneel in a canoe

Paddles

Paddlers use double-bladed paddles in kayaks.

Paddlers tend to use single-bladed paddles in canoes.

Deck

Kayaks are usually closed-decked. This means that the inside of the kayak is enclosed and surrounds the paddler.

Canoes tend to have an open deck. This means that the inside of the boat is open and uncovered.

Purposes

Both can be used for various recreational activities, such as fishing, and they can both travel in shallow water. Kayaks, on the other hand, are more like sports cars. They can carry fewer passengers and supplies. Their sleek designs tend to make them faster and better for use in competitive water sports, such as racing and slipping through whitewater rapids.

Both can be used for various recreational activities, such as fishing, and they can both travel in shallow water. Canoes tend to be like the sport-utility vehicles of the recreational boating world. They can carry more people and supplies, making them ideal for families to use for leisurely paddles around calm lakes.

Agility

Kayaks are designed to be faster and more agile than canoes.

However, in the hands of a professional paddler, most canoes can be made to travel as fast as comparable kayaks.

Features

Kayaks are known for faster speeds.

Canoes are known for greater stability and roominess.

Image Courtesy: globe-views.com, jonsbushcraft.com

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