Difference Between Kayaks & Canoes

The Difference Between Kayaking and Canoeing


In some countries there is not a difference between canoes and kayaks, such as in the U.K., often the name they use for kayaks is canoe.

The origins of the kayak came from the Artic and were built by the Inuit and the Aleut and later built by the Eskimos as transportation for hunting on ruff ocean and sea waters.

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Other countries like Canada and the United States where there are large numbers of Kayakers there is a definite difference between the two. A canoe is an open craft while a kayak is a closed craft with only an opening for the person who will sit in it can fit. This however is just the first noticeable difference.


Canoes are a rounded or flat-bottomed craft and the oars can be either single or double bladed. Kayaks on the other hand have rudders and the bottoms while partly flat or rounded have a rocker that is shaped differently.

Another difference is that there are kayaks made for use in the sea or ocean, a place where a canoe would not do well in this type of water. Along with the several other styles that are made for racing, touring, and whitewater and the fact that it is possible to turn a kayak upright if tipped.

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Kayaks are also usually smaller in length than a canoe and sit lower in the water, yet they have less drag than a canoe.

From the beginning kayaks and canoes have been made from different materials, the canoe from trees and bark and the kayak from sealskin or sea lion skin and whale fat. Today this has not changed, while modern materials are used, while canoes are sometimes made of metal; kayaks are never made from metal, but rather a strong plastic type of material.