Canoeing - Sea Kayaking 

Canoeing on the sea is becoming and increasingly popular activity but it is difficult to find exact numbers engaged in this activity. However a visit to the coast will usually reveal a few small craft bobbing around or playing in the surf. This is a brief introduction of the sport which should be enough to get you started if you are so inclined. 

CanoeingThe first thing to clear up is what the various activities involving a 'canoe' are referred to. Canoeing is a generic term which is usually used to refer to propelling a small craft using paddles, which are used on alternate sides of the craft as opposed to rowing where oars are used together. However there is a an important distinction to be made between between the different types of 'canoe' and the paddles used. A canoe is a larger craft with an open top and usually two or three seats. The craft is propelled by two or three occupants sitting on raised seats using single bladed paddles. Some people would refer to these as Indian canoes. On the other hand a kayak - which is often referred to as a canoe - is smaller, and closer to the water, with either one or two seats and is propelled using a  double bladed paddle. Kayaks usually have closed decks and the occupants sit with their legs extended in front of them. 


Canoes are usually used on lakes and rivers but rarely on the sea. Kayaks may be used on river, lake or sea, but for longer journeys at sea, specialist sea kayaks are needed, as they are designed to be used specifically on the sea. Sea kayaks may be single or double seated and are longer than normal kayaks, they also have a swept up bow to enable them to cut through waves. These craft have a closed deck and quiet a bit of space underneath for stowing equipment, such as camping gear. Both types of craft, canoes and kayaks are used for recreation and competition and also for expeditions, which may be of a long duration. 

                Sea Kayaks    Surf Ski 

Fairly recently a third variety of 'canoe' has evolved which is called a surf ski or wave ski and this is the one you may see zipping around in the surf near the beach. These are very specialised craft which have been designed specifically to be used in surf conditions. They are always for a single person, they are shorter and have a flatter profile - a bit like a surf board and are in fact, designed to surf down waves like a surfer. They are propelled with a single paddle and have a completely closed  deck, the occupant sits in a seat moulded into the deck. The occupant can expect to be tumbled by the surf quiet often . Surf skis may also be used for surf lifesaving as they can get out though the surf line with relative ease and are not too much of a hazard to other surfers. 





Ukcoastguide 2019