PADDLERsmart! USA Knowledge Base
Module 01 - Paddling Basics:
A canoe is an open paddle craft, often made of wood, fiberglass or plastic, that you sit inside of. To propel yourself through the water, you use a single-bladed paddle. By switching the paddle from one side of the canoe to the other, the canoe will move forward or backward while maintaining your course of direction and staying balanced. If it’s your first time in a canoe, it will feel tippy upon entering. Don’t worry about your ‘wobble’—it takes some practice to get your sea legs!
A kayak is a lightweight paddle craft that is usually made of plastic or fiberglass. Kayaks have a small opening or seat area on the top deck to sit in. To propel the kayak forward or backward, you use a double-bladed paddle. The double blades balance the paddling action on both sides of the craft (without needing to be switched from side-to-side, like a single-bladed canoe paddle). Each kayak type is designed for certain activities, so ask a pro before you buying or renting to make sure your kayak suits your needs and skill level!