Canoeing Basics

What are the basics of Canoeing? What are the most important things to understand about Canoeing? Get ready to learn the basic rules of Canoeing.

Canoeing Basics

Canoeing Basics

Canoeing is a water sport where athletes are in a boat and use a paddle to maneuver themselves across the specific course. They can either use a kayak or canoe.

A kayak is a boat that was used heavily in North America, Siberia and Greenland. They are closed boats with a cockpit that athletes can sit in. These were primarily used by Eskimos for hunting, fishing, and transportation.

Canoes can be much larger (up to 130ft) and were used by Native Americans and Polynesians for transport, trade and war. They are open boats that athletes paddle from a kneeling position.  

The Most Important Things To Know About Canoeing

The most important things to understand about canoeing is how to actually canoe. The technique can make or break athletes in competitions so it is essential to learn this before going into a competition. It is also important to know about how to situate yourself in your kayak or canoe. Finally, it is important to know the different types of competitions.

  1. Make sure you have a PFD (personal floatation device) aka life jacket
  2. If you have a kayak, you will have a double bladed paddle. Make sure the curve of the paddle is facing away from you. 
  3. In canoeing you will have a one bladed paddle, and will be paddling while on your knees. To keep going straight, you must alternate sides while paddling.
  4. Competitions are usually divided into canoe and sprint sprints or slaloms.

List of Canoeing Basic Rules

Now that you know the most important concepts, it is time to get into the basic rules of canoeing.

  • Sprint events are distances of 200, 500, or 1,000 meters
  • Slalom events are timed runs with 20 gates that athletes have to maneuver through
  • In slalom events, you are not allowed to hit the gates. If you do you will be penalized
  • Sprint and slalom events have one or two bladed paddles, depending on whether it is a canoe or kayak
  • You can either compete in singles, doubles, or teams of four

Canoeing Basics Summary

Canoeing is an exhilarating sport that takes a lot of skill and stamina. Kayaks and canoes are inherently different, and have been since they were first invented. Kayaks were mainly used for hunting and transportation while canoes were bigger boats that were used in trade and warfare. The most important things to know about canoeing are basic safety and technique rules that will make you a better overall athlete. Finally, we went over some basic rules such as the differences of events and what paddles you can use for those events. Now it is time for you to get started, so go to your local rental shop so you can get some hands-on training and start your canoeing journey!