Do you like the idea of getting out on the water and paddling your own craft but are unsure about what type of paddlesport would suit you? In this blog we will explain the different options and the pro’s and con’s of each.


Firstly, many people starting out are unsure about the difference between a canoe and a kayak. This is slightly confused by the fact that the sport of paddling as a whole is often referred to as Canoeing (when in fact it includes kayaking too!). This is why most people now tend to use the term Paddlesports to represent the broader sport as a whole, which now includes paddle boarding or SUP (Stand Up Paddle-boarding) too.


Technically, a canoe is paddled with a single-bladed paddle, and the paddler kneels in the boat. However, sometimes for touring in a canoe, the paddler will sit on a seat (mainly because kneeling for a long time can get uncomfortable!). Canoes are great for journeys as there is lots of space for supplies. Canoes are also used on white water to tackle rapids etc, but the space inside is normally then taken up with extra floatation blocks or air bags.

Canoes come in different lengths, primarily depending on whether you plan to paddle solo, or as a pair, with the largest being 17 foot. With the larger canoes, you can even fit a third person (normally a child) in between tandem paddlers too, for a family trip! Canoes also come in a range of materials, mainly affecting the weight of the boat, if you know you might be frequently carrying it (e.g. to access (or walk round!) white water rapids). The trade off being that the lighter weight boats can be slightly more prone to accidental damage.

Here at Go Kayaking we stock canoes at our Runcorn store, where you can see the full range and try some out on the canal.


On the other hand, kayakers have a double-bladed paddle and sit in (or on) their boat. Kayaks can be inflatable or hard-shell. Inflatable craft are easier to store and transport, but more time consuming to prepare for a trip, and more prone to accidental damage. Kayaks can also be designed to sit on top (therefore easy to fall off and get back on) or to sit in a cockpit. If a closed cockpit you would wear a spraydeck (therefore needs a little more practice to exit the boat, or roll it back up). Some kayaks come with a larger open cockpit, mainly designed for flat water use.

Closed cockpit kayaks come in many different forms too – white water boats (shorter, and easy to manoeuvre around rocks and white water features), sea kayaks (longer and designed to travel better/faster in a straight line, usually with hatches for storing supplies and gear), and touring kayaks (a hybrid between the two). Double kayaks are also available, if you want to paddle as a pair.

Here at Go Kayaking, our Llangollen store specialises in white water kayaks, whereas sit on tops, touring and sea kayaks are mainly sold at our Runcorn outlet. All boats can be tried out at their respective sites.


Commonly also referred to as SUP, paddleboarders use a single-bladed paddle, which is much longer than a canoe paddle, enabling the paddleboarder to stand on the board. Paddle boards are mostly inflatable, and come in a range of lengths and sizes to suit different paddlers, and different styles of paddling (eg white water, touring etc).

Here at Go Kayaking, paddle boards are mainly sold at Runcorn.

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