Canoeing is a water activity in which people paddle their way through the water using either a single or double-bladed paddle while sitting on a raised seat or kneeling down. It shares several characteristics with the sport of Kayaking, although there are some basic differences between them.
History of the Canoe
The canoe has been used by the native North Americans for thousands of years. The term we use today comes from the word kenu which means ‘dugout’. Earlier forms of the canoe come from dugout tree trunks which have been an important mode of transportation along rivers and across islands.
Canoeing vs. Kayaking
With the popularity of Canoeing and Kayaking as water sports, it can be quite confusing at first to distinguish one from the other. But how does Canoeing actually differ from Kayaking? Below are some of the basic differences:
- A canoe can be paddled using a single or double-bladed paddle while the Kayak is meant to be steered with a double-bladed paddle.
- Kayakers sit on the Kayak with their feet in front of them while in Canoeing, people either sit on a raised seat or kneel down on the canoe’s surface.
- In its most basic form, a canoe is open on top while a Kayak is covered and it encloses the lower body of the kayaker to the water craft.
Canoes or Kayaks?
There is some confusion in using the terms canoe and Kayak. Even the International Canoe Federation (ICF), which is the international body governing Canoeing and Kayaking competitions, uses the word canoe to refer to both water crafts. The same goes with most parts of the world like the United Kingdom and Australia.
As mentioned earlier, the ICF is the one that organizes Canoeing and Kayaking events in the world. Below are some of the competitions organized by the ICF:
- Sprint – the oldest discipline in the list. It is basically a race, the first to the finish line wins.
- Slalom – a competition where participants have to make their crafts pass through a series of gates without hitting them
- Marathon – a race over longer courses
- Canoe Polo – similar to goal-scoring sports like water polo, but this time using a canoe
- Whitewater Racing – a tricky competition in which participants have to race down a whitewater river
Of the five mentioned, only the Sprint and Slalom competitions are Olympic events. For Sprint Canoeing, there are three events involved: the C1 which is the single kneeling Canadian, C2 for the double kneeling Canadian and finally, the C4 which is the four-person kneeling Canadian.
Canoeing can be a spectacular sport to watch and even more so competing in Canoeing events. Aside from being a great water sporting event, it can also be a great activity for the family to engage in. So hit the waters now and try out Canoeing!