So You Want to go Canoeing?

You've been watching television and seen those intrepid people paddling furiously down raging rivers, and now you've got an itch to try your hand in a canoe. But where to start? Well thanks to the kind people at Kayaks & Paddles Ltd. you can find out some more with this excellent article provided by them.

What do you need to paddle?

What are the main differences between canoes and kayaks?



Open Canoes / Canadian Canoes

Canoe Paddle

canoe paddle

Open Canoe or Canadian Canoe (no deck).

Use a single-bladed paddle.

Kneeling or Sitting.

The canoes available today are closely related to those used by American Indians (hence the term 'Canadian Canoe'). Most are made from plastic and can be paddled by 1 to 4 people.



Kayak Paddle


Closed Cockpit (decked).

Use a double-bladed paddle.

Sitting only.

Kayaks are related to those used by Eskimos for hunting but made with modern materials. The range of kayaks available is large, covering the many varied specialisation's (sea kayaking, touring, surfing, whitewater, freestyle etc).

We use the term 'canoeing' to cover paddling in both canoes and kayaks.

Which Canoe or Kayak is right for you?

Recreational Kayaks

Recreational Canoes - eg KIWI 1

Recreational Canoes - eg KIWI 2

These boats are stable with a large open cockpit. Fun to paddle on calm/sheltered water. Excellent for beginners or those who want a gentle paddle. They are good family boats and are available in singles or doubles. Boats worth looking at are the KIWI 1 and the KIWI 2. These kayaks are made of plastic, polyetheylene.

Sit - On - Top's

These are a range of kayaks without a cockpit that you sit-on-top. They are wide, stable and self-draining fun boats for all the family.These kayaks are made of plastic, polyetheylene.

General Purpose Kayaks

Good all-round boats that are used to teach paddling skills by clubs and centres. Ideal for those who don't want to paddle in extreme conditions. Kayaks for all sizes of paddler. Suggested boats are the Dancers, Masters and Pirouettes. These kayaks are made of plastic, polyetheylene.

Touring Kayaks

Longer boats that track well with storage compartments for camping and other kit. Ideal for calmer coastal paddling, lakes and canals. Faster than general purpose boats and sometimes fitted with a rudder. Singles and doubles available. Suggested boats are the Acadia, Carolina. These kayaks are made of plastic, polyetheylene.

Sea Kayaks

Sea kayaks are faster with a smaller cockpit. They track well and are suitable for touring and on the open sea. Hatches allow for storage of expedition equipment. Often fitted with a retractable skeg or rudder. Some boats are made from plastics and others are built from composites. Suggested boats are the P& H Capella, and the North Shore sea kayak range. Most sea kayaks are made of fibre glass.

Whitewater and Surf Kayaks

Short high performance kayaks with a closed cockpit. Paddled in surf and whitewater in more extreme conditions. These boats are for experienced paddlers only and training essential.
There is a huge range of boats to choose from. These kayaks are made of plastic, polyetheylene.

Open Canoes

Open Canoes / Canadian Canoes

Open Canoe / Canadian Canoe paddlers use a single bladed paddle. Ideal for family canoeing, canal & river touring, carrying one or more paddler and their equipment. Old Town canoes are the toughest. Made in Crosslink 3 plastic or Royalex.

Most of these boats are made from very tough plastics. The result is hardwearing, robust canoes and kayaks. Some sea kayaks are made of fibre glass GRP, which results in a lighter, faster boat but requiring more care near rocks.

No Purchase Required ! Ring 01752 892672 for advice !

You need more than just an open canoe or kayak to go canoeing.
You need to stay safe and warm.

You will need a boat suitable for the conditions and type of paddling intended. Refer to the information above.

You will need clothing that keeps you warm and dry. You may also need boots and helmet to protect your feet and head. Cotton clothing is not suitable as you can get very cold when wet. Thermal and fleece materials are good even when wet. Many paddlers wear a wet suit (usually long john's) whilst others will choose dry tops and dry trousers.

Good training will make you safe and allow you to enjoy your paddling much more. It is worth joining a local canoe club or centre that provides training to the British Canoe Union awards scheme. Here you will meet like-minded paddlers and make new friends.

The British Canoe Union recommend that you wear a buoyancy aid at ALL times (and so do we).

Having got your canoe or kayak, you cannot paddle on any bit of water you find. Some inland water and canals require a license to paddle on them. Most inland water is controlled by 'access agreements' that MUST be complied with. Some areas in ports and harbours are also controlled. The sea coastline is largely accessible for paddling, but restrictions may apply in certain areas (naval areas and shipping lanes). If in doubt ask.

If you are unable to locate a local canoeing club or centre to help you
with courses and training, get in touch with us and we will help.
Phone us on 01752 892672.

You can contact Kayaks & Paddles Ltd. on the phone number above, or via e-mail, or take time to visit for more details plus an on-line catalogue of all the gear you'll need to start you paddling.

Copyright © 2000 Kayaks and Paddles Ltd.