Updated on 8 May 2023
The canoe, ideal for hikers
Canoes are practical and easy to use. They are often used by more than one person at a time and can be used on oceans, lakes and rivers. They are most popular for pleasure trips on calm waters.
The open design of the boat gives more freedom of movement and makes it easier to stow things. In addition, the seating position is above water level, which means that people on board are less likely to get wet. There are also two driving positions: one with the knees bent for rough water or high speed, and one with the buttocks sitting on a bench for a more relaxed drive.
Finally, the oars are shorter and single-bladed. As a result, you only row on one side and generally row straighter and without zigzagging.
The kayak, for a sportier ride
Also designed for navigating on seas, lakes and rivers, either alone or accompanied, the kayak allows you to better cope with water conditions. Although it is less spacious, it guarantees a sportier and faster ride.
This more enclosed type of boat offers better protection and a more stable seat. You sit on your buttocks on a seat with your legs stretched out on the inside, which is at water level, i.e. lower than the canoe. As a result, kayakers get wet more quickly, so they are sometimes fitted with a spray skirt to prevent water from entering the kayak.
A longer double paddle (with a blade on each side) is used (between 1m80 and 2m30). Successive strokes from right to left give good propulsion and greater manoeuvrability and speed, but the kayak tends to meander more quickly.
Both boats can be used alone or with others, in calm water or whitewater. However, the main differences between them are the seating position and the oars, which give them different handling characteristics.
The canoe is probably more practical for calm and comfortable cruising, while the kayak is a better option for fast and winding descents.
Translated by Ramsés El Hajje