Articles - Getting Started in Canoeing & Kayaking

How to get started in canoeing & kayaking
How to get started in canoeing & kayaking
Canoe & Kayak UK Editorial - Posted on 07 Feb 2012
So, what is canoeing and what is kayaking? Well, ‘canoeing’ is the generic term used in Britain to describe the sports of canoeing and kayaking, but the terms ‘canoe’ and ‘kayak’ refer to two very distinct boats. The modern canoe is derived from the dugout Young canoeist and kayakers enjoying a come and try iot day in an open cockpit kayakcanoes used by the North American Indians and is traditionally an open-topped craft. It is paddled in the kneeling position and propelled by a single bladed paddle. The canoe can be paddled solo or tandem and is perfect for wilderness travel and pleasant river cruising.

The kayak is descended from the closed cockpit boats used to great effect by Inuit (or Eskimo) hunters. It is paddled in the sitting position and propelled by a double bladed paddle. The highly skilled Inuit hunters learnt to right their boats, if accidentally overturned, by using their hips and paddle, hence the term ‘Eskimo roll’.
Modern canoes and kayaks vary greatly in use and appearance. Some are design for speed, some for stability and, believe it or not, some for tricks and acrobatics. No two canoeing styles employ the same craft so, as you’ll discover as you read through this guide, there is a lot more to canoeing and kayaking than meets the eye.
As with any new sport, to get started you need some basic equipment and someone to show you the ropes. And there’s no better place to find these than your local kayak and canoe shop (see the list at the rear of this guide) often staffed by knowledgeable paddlers who can advise you on equipment, where to paddle in your local area and put you in touch with local clubs and qualified instructors to help you get to grips with the basic skills if you want, or just help you on your way to the water.

These ‘paddle’ shops are also great for meeting like-minded people and many organise river trips and special ‘come and try it’ sessions for newcomers, as well as more formal coaching qualifications and guiding.

Activity holidays and specialist courses are also another fantastic way of immersing yourself in the wonderful world of canoeing and kayaking. Under the guidance of expert coaches you can learn the basic techniques that will enable you to become self-sufficient and enjoy a lifetime of adventure on the water while learning to understanding the ever-changing natural environment to make sure that you keep yourself and others safe.

Despite the unpredictable nature of British weather, we still have some of the world’s most beautiful destinations for paddling. Our inland waters offer a multitude of paddling environments from the mountains of Scotland and Wales to the impressive coastline of our island, which offers unlimited freedom, as well as some of the most breathtaking sea kayaking in the world, bustling with birds and wildlife.

Come on in the waters great!

For info and tests on canoeing & kayaking gear and boats head to the Reviews Section

For how to videos and more take a look at  our Canoe & Kayak UK TV Channel


Find you nearest Canoe Club HERE

Take a look at the great GO Canoeing & Kayaking Bookazine HERE

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