While talking about canoeing, one cannot help but clear the confusion between this and another paddle sport, kayaking. Most people often interchange the terms kayaking and canoeing. However, there are two main differences between these two sports. One is the position in which the paddler sits and the second is the number of blades that the canoe has. In canoeing, the paddler can kneel or sit in a canoe that has an open or closed deck. On the other hand, in kayaking, the paddler always sits with his legs in the front. Secondly, in canoeing, the paddle has only one blade, whereas in kayaking, the paddle has two blades. Today, canoeing is used as a recreational and competitive activity in India and many other countries in the world. Some of the extended types of canoe racing include surf skiing, canoe polo, extreme racing and play boating. Canoeing can be done on small rivers, seas, ponds, lakes, White- Water Rivers and many more. Rafting and wave skiing too are considered as advanced forms of canoeing in some countries.

Types of Canoeing

Based on the purpose for which they are used, canoeing is divided into various categories. They are explained below:


This is the most common type of canoeing and is practiced mostly by tourists visiting various places. The canoes that are used for this purpose are highly durable and come with all the basic requirements that you need. Usually made from plastic or aluminium, these canoes are the best bets if you want to paddle around a river and sinking in the beauty of the scenery around you.

Intermediate and Advanced

If you are looking to paddle around for longer durations or want to combine fishing trips or bird watching trips along with your canoeing, you should choose these advanced canoes. These are made from high quality of lightweight materials that increase the speed of the canoe so that the distance of your trip can be covered quickly.


As the name suggests, these canoes are used exclusively for white-water paddling. These canoes are designed in such a way that the water flow into the boat is absolutely avoided. This kind of canoeing involves paddling over waters that gush through with great force, hence, the canoes have ample floatation bags tied to their sterns and bows to prevent them from sinking. You can kneel on these seats as you enjoy your canoes speeding through the waters, in great force.


Apart from recreational, canoeing is also popular in races and competitions. For these professional events, the canoes are slightly different from the standard models. Canoe racing is not a common sport as it is quite costly to invest in these exclusive canoes that are designed separately for flat-water and white-water races. These boats are very expensive as they are made from fibreglass, Kevlar and other complex materials.

Other Specialisations

You could also undertake canoeing as part of your camping tours, nature trails, bird watching or fishing. If you want to combine other activities with canoeing, you need to choose specialised canoes that have proper storage places to keep your equipments and accessories.

Solo and Tandem

If you set off to go for canoeing alone, you should choose the solo canoes that are short and narrow. The size of these canoes makes it easy for you to paddle through the water. If you choose to go for canoeing along with your spouse or friend, you should choose the tandem canoes. These have enough room for two people and hence are widely preferred by beginners who want to get rid of their fear while canoeing.

Important Canoeing Areas

The important areas of canoeing in India are the famous beaches of Kerala, Goa, Karnataka, Uttaranchal (Rishikesh, Dakpathar and Ramganga in Corbett National Park), Srinagar (Dal Lake, Nagin Lake and Manasbal Lake), Paradise Lake in Nainital and certain areas in Mumbai.


When you want to go for canoeing, the first and foremost tip that you need to follow is to take up the basic safety training tips. Take a water training course, wear appropriate gear and be well prepared about rescue operations in times of crisis.

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