What is the difference between a canoe and a kayak? Many people are confused about the meaning of the two names, so here’s a quick guide to what makes a kayak, and what makes a canoe.
Definition of a Canoe
In a canoe, the paddler uses a single-blade paddle. The boat is generally ‘open’ to the elements and the paddler adopts a paddling position by kneeling on one knee, both knees, or by sitting down.
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).
Definition of a Kayak
In a kayak, the paddler is seated in a cockpit and uses a two-blade paddle. The paddler may also wear a spray deck to keep water out of the cockpit.
Kayaks and canoes are used across a wide range of water sports. Different designs allow for single or multiple paddlers in one boat.
Image credits: Andy Waddington, Barbara Schraml, Bobby Chen and the BCU.