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The Kayak vs The Canoe

Aug. 25, 2021

the kayak

3-meter short single person fishing kayak with a motor equipped

Many people can't distinguish between canoe and kayak. The definitions and differences between the two will be introduced in detail below.

Both are the types of rowing boats

The canoe is a water-based labor vehicle that has been widely used in fishing, hunting, and transportation by human ancestors in primitive society. It has a history of 5,000 to 9,000 years. The canoe is ‘Kenu’ in the aboriginal language, which means to hollow out. As the name suggests, it is processed by hollowing out a thick and strong tree trunk.

Kayak originated from the Eskimo on the North American island of Greenland in the 1860s. This kind of boat was first wrapped in whale skin and otter skin on the bone frame and paddled with oars with blades at both ends. The word Kayak means man's ship' in Eskimo and appears mainly in the northern part of the world, North America, Siberia, and Greenland.


Modern canoes and kayaks are mainly used for entertainment and water sports, fishing, and travel. Both are light boats that are propelled and controlled by the use of oars, but each boat has its own uniqueness. There are some key differences.


The canoe is more like a pickup truck in a car, which can hold one to three people. Because it is stable, it is suitable for driving on the lake. Pets can travel together, practical and easy to manage. It usually has an open deck. Exposing the top and the inside of the boat provides opportunities for oarsmen to move freely.

A kayak is more like a sports car and usually carries fewer people. Sailing speeds are generally faster than canoes, which is why they are favored in competitive and challenging waters. Kayaks usually have enclosed decks. The enclosed deck covers the top and the interior of the ship and protects the oarsmen.

Seat difference

The paddler in a canoe is usually in one of two ways: sitting or kneeling. When seated, the canoe paddler sits on the seat, resting his knees on the top edge and edge of the boat. When kneeling, the canoe oarsman brings himself close to the front of the seat and wedges his knees on the sides of the boat to maintain stability. 

Kayak paddlers usually sit under the bottom of the hull. Stretch your legs forward in the kayak and place your knees on the thigh support.

The difference in paddling

In a canoe, the oarsman usually uses a single-blade paddle. Kayak paddlers usually use double-bladed paddles. Because kayak paddlers usually sit lower than canoe paddlers, a single paddle cannot provide effective propulsion. They are sitting just above the waterline instead of sitting above the waterline of the canoe.


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