Kayaking or Canoeing?

Do you prefer kayaking or canoeing? Or perhaps you class them as the same thing? For those who aren´t so sure, this article aims to introduce both activities separately.

As paddle sports they are very similar, which is why many of us get them confused.


There are two principal types of canoe; a flat bottom canoe and a white water canoe. The flat bottom canoes are generally used on flat water and provide stability, as well as open space to guard personal belongings. Flat bottom canoes can also carry more than 2 people, depending on the size of the boat. A white water canoe, as its name suggests, is used to race on white waters or complete challenging slalom courses. The bottom of the boat is also curved, which helps you turn in the water.

You will use a single bladed paddle to move both types of canoe through the water smoothly. You may kneel or sit in a canoe; many people choose to kneel as the boat is less likely to capsize. The capsize drill is a standard paddling teaching practice.

Canoeing expedition

The paddler sits face-forward in the direction of travel; canoes, like kayaks, are human-propelled boats and you will be expected to steer and stop the canoe by using your paddle. These are basic skills that will be practiced in your first canoeing lesson.

The deck of a canoe is normally open, although they can be covered similar to kayaks. If an open deck canoe capsizes, it is much easier to get out of than a closed deck canoe. Canoeing novices are likely to use open deck canoes in many watersports activity centres.

Your choice of canoe will depend on the type of paddling experience you are looking for. If you would like a relaxing paddle that enables you to take in the beauty of your surroundings, we recommend flat bottom canoes. The adrenalin junkies will want to attempt white water rapids with white water closed deck canoes.

If you are interested in learning how to canoe, yumping.co.uk can help. Browse our various canoeing companies to find out more.


There are also two principal types of kayak; open top, also known as sit-on-top, and enclosed hull. Many people consider kayaks a subtype of canoe yet there are important differences. Contrary to canoes, kayaks tend to have a closed deck and you will steer with a double bladed paddle.

The double bladed paddle provides greater mobility in the water; you will not have to change sides whilst paddling, similar to a canoe. The paddler also sits face-forward in the direction of travel yet the sitting position is different.

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The paddler must sit with his legs in front; canoeists may sit or kneel.  Furthermore, kayaks tend to have a spray skirt attached to the hull of the boat, which provides an almost watertight seal. This is because they sit lower in the water.

Kayaks are smaller and have less drag than canoes, which makes them easier to paddle. They are ideal for tackling rough water conditions, be it oceans or rivers.

If you would like to find out more about kayaking, take a look at the many kayaking companies featured on yumping.co.uk.

We hope you find something useful.