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What Is Rowing Canoeing and Kayaking

What is Rowing Canoeing adn Kayaking?

Rowing, canoeing, and kayaking are a few of the most popular outdoor activities. Yet some people get confused about which one is which and might even call them by the wrong names.

These water activities are an amazing way to enjoy nature, get some exercise, and get some much-needed peace and quiet time. To ensure you get the most joy out of these activities, there are some basics to remember before getting into the water.

They might look similar, but the anomalies are many. Here, we are going to tell you: What is rowing canoeing and kayaking?

So, this article will surely enlighten you with information about these three activities without causing any confusion.

Let's get started.

What is Rowing Canoeing and Kayaking?

Before getting into the differences, let's check what rowing, canoeing, and kayaking mean.

What is Rowing

Rowing is the method of maneuvering a boat with the help of oars that stay attached to its body with the help of oarlocks. The seating arrangement is a bit different in rowing.

And that is, you need to sit facing the stern and use the oars to set it in motion. Rowing falls into two different categories; sculling and sweep. In sculling, each athlete uses two smaller blades, while in the sweep, each athlete uses one large blade.

What is Canoeing

Canoeing is another type of water activity that involves paddling a narrowboat with a one-bladed paddle. A canoe is usually very light and has pointy ends on both sides.

Canoeing is a great activity when you want to explore a calm bay or quiet lake. Besides, try to avoid the areas with heavy motorized boat traffic.

What is Kayaking

Kayaking is the practice of propelling a kayak by using a double-bladed paddle in an alternate motion with the hands of the athlete. The paddle needs to move in coordination with both the arms from left to right, striking the water once at a time.

In a kayak, there will be either an adjustable or non-adjustable footrest to keep your feet. Before hopping into your kayak, make sure there is enough room for your legs to enjoy the ride without any interruption.

Differences between Rowing, Canoeing, and Kayaking

Now, it's time to discuss the differences between these three amazing water sports. Let's break down the differentiating factors and explain them one by one to make it easier for you.


For rowing, you will require a rowing boat. The rowing boat is also known as the sculling boat in some places. A rowing boat is the most common type of boat that you will find almost anywhere around the world. Besides, you will need oars to propel the boat. In your boat, the oarlock should be installed where you will attach the oars to make striking motions into the water.

The gear required for canoeing is a canoe with a single-bladed paddle. The shape of a canoe is quite interesting. Both the ends are pointy with a lot of room for the passengers. You might kneel or lay your feet in the canoe while roaming around. 

A kayak is an enclosed boat that has a minimum room for one or more passengers. This boat is compact and a little more exposed to the water. Most kayaks have dry storage in the bow and stern, so your accessories will remain dry. Here, a double-bladed paddle makes it easier to maneuver the boat.

Strained muscles

Most people think rowing is a no-brainer sport, but the reality is the complete opposite. The coordination of your body is the most important thing in rowing. While rowing, your legs deliver the force to your upper body and your arms transfer it by striking the water. So, you will mostly use your legs and arms while rowing.

While canoeing, your legs don't do much work, and it is your upper body that transfers the force. From your arms to your lower back, almost all upper body muscles get involved in this activity.

Many people think the legs stay idle in kayaking when the reality is the complete opposite. Kayaking involves arms, shoulders, upper back, core muscles, lower back, and even the legs. So, this is a whole-body workout. However, beginners usually fail to use their legs while kayaking. But this skill can only be achieved by learning basic methods and getting proper training.

Different controls

While rowing, you will notice that the oars are held in place by oarlocks. To propel the boat, these oarlocks help the oars to maneuver in rotation and move forward.

The main controlling accessory in canoeing is the short paddle. As you already know, we use a small paddle to propel a canoe, and with this paddle, you should use the paddle on both sides of the canoe to move straight.

The paddle that we use for kayaking is totally different from the other two. It is not only longer but also has a double-bladed paddle in it. This long paddle controls the balance of the kayak while you push through both sides.

Different travel direction

The seating arrangement of rowing is completely different from the other two activities. When you paddle you go forward, but when you row you go backward.

In canoeing, you will paddle to move forward and will be facing in the direction of conveyance.

The direction of travel is also the same as when canoeing. You will paddle to propel forward and also face the direction you are moving forward.

Type of water bodies

Rowing is one of the most common types of activity that you can go for while hanging out outdoor. Especially if you want to go fishing in the lakes, roaming around the canals, or even explore the river, you can go rowing.

A canoe has more open space than a kayak, and the shape of this boat is great for exploring the wild where you won't find motor boats. You can take your canoe to a lake or a calm river.

The kayak is an excellent piece of equipment if you are into adventurous water sports. You can go to the waterfalls, where moving in the heavy water current is quite challenging, and kayak in the sea as well.


After reading this article, you should not have any confusion regarding "What is the difference between rowing, canoeing, & kayaking?" this question. We have tried our best to cover every little detail so that you don't fall short of any information regarding this topic.

Whether you are just starting to explore these activities or aced them already, you can only enjoy the sport when you know how they actually work. Besides, these activities drain a lot of energy that's why try to fuel your body with enough nutrients and always warm up before getting your boat wet in the water.

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