Canoeing & Kayaking Information For New Paddler

Paddling FAQ's

  • Want to go Canoeing?
  • What to buy your first canoe or kayak?
  • The staff at 'Kayaks and Paddles' can help you make informed choices.

We can assist with choosing the correct boat and equipment you will need. We will give you impartial advice. We can help you make contact with BCU affiliated clubs and find approved training courses.

What Are The Main Differences Between Canoes & Kayaks?

A Canoe

An Open Canoe

Open Canoe or 'Canadian' (no deck).

When canoeing you can do it Kneeling or Sitting.

The canoes available today are closely related to those used by American Indians (hence the term 'Canadian'). Most are made from plastic and can be paddled by 1 to 4 people.

We sell canoes from:

A Canoe Paddle

Open Canoe Paddle

Canoe Paddles can be made from Wood or Aluminium shafts with plastic blades.

You use a single-bladed paddle.

Click for more information on canoe paddles - Paddle Info

A Kayak

A Kayak

Closed Cockpit (decked). Sit in side the kayak and you can put a spraydeck around your waist and over the cockpit to stop egress of water. Kayaks are related to those used by Eskimos for hunting but made with modern materials. The range of kayaks available is large, covering the many varied specialisation's (sea kayaking, touring, surfing, whitewater, freestyle etc).

We sell kayaks from:

A Kayak Paddle

Kayak Paddle

Kayak paddles start from £35.00 for you entry level flat water recreational use and can go up too £250+ for you expedition Sea Kayaking or Extreme White Water Kayaking. You use a double-bladed paddle. Click for more information on kayak paddles - Paddle Info

Which Canoe/Kayak Is Right For You?

Recreational Canoes - eg Sundance

Recreational Kayaks

These boats are stable with a large open cockpit. Fun to paddle on calm/sheltered water. Excellent for beginners or those who want a gentle paddle. They are good family boats and are available in singles or doubles. The Perception Sundance & Dagger Fiesta and the Perception Kiwi 2 & Kiwi 3 are highly recommended. These kayaks are made of plastic, polyethylene.

Click For More Information On These Types Of Kayaks

Sit On Top

Sit ons or Sit On Kayaks or Sit On Tops

These are a range of kayaks without a cockpit that you sit on top of. They are wide, stable and self-draining fun boats for all the family. These kayaks are made of plastic, polyethylene.

Click For More Information On These Types Of Kayaks


General Purpose Kayaks

Good all-round boats that are used to teach paddling skills by clubs and centres. Ideal for those who don't want to paddle in extreme conditions. Kayaks for all sizes of paddler. Suggested boats are the Dancers and Pirouettes. These kayaks are made of plastic, polyethylene.

Click For More Information On These Types Of Kayaks

Touring Kayak

Touring Kayaks

Longer boat's that track well with storage compartments for camping and other kit. Ideal for calmer coastal paddling, lakes and canals. Faster than general purpose boats and sometimes fitted with a rudder. Singles and doubles available. Suggested boats are the Acadia, Carolina. These kayaks are made of plastic, polyethylene.

Click For More Information On These Types Of Kayaks

Sea Kayak

Sea Kayaks

Sea kayaks are faster with a smaller cockpit. They track well and are suitable for touring and on the open sea. Hatches allow for storage of expedition equipment. Often fitted with a retractable skeg or rudder. Some boats are made from plastics and others are built from composites. Suggested boats are the P&H Capella, and the North Shore sea kayak range. Most sea kayaks are made of fibreglass.

Click For More Information On These Types Of Kayaks

White Water Kayak

White Water Kayaks

Short high performance kayaks with a closed cockpit. Paddled in surf and whitewater in more extreme conditions. These boats are for experienced paddlers only and training essential. There is a huge range of boats to choose from. These kayaks are made of plastic, polyethylene.

Click For More Information On These Types Of Kayaks

Open Canoe / Canadian Canoe

Open Canoes

Open Canoe / Canadian Canoe paddlers use a single bladed paddle. Ideal for family canoeing, canal & river touring, carrying one or more paddlers and their equipment. Canoes come in array of materials, Crosslink 3, Polylink, Corelite, Royalex, Fibre Glass and Wood.

Click For More Information On These Types Of Canoes

You will need a canoe or kayak suitable for the conditions and type of paddling intended. Refer to the information above.You will need clothing that keeps you warm and dry. You may also need boots and helmet to protect your feet and head. Cotton clothing is not suitable as you can get very cold when wet. Thermal and fleece materials are good even when wet. Many paddlers wear a wet suit (usually long john's) whilst others will choose dry tops and dry trousers.

Good training will make you safe and allow you to enjoy your paddling much more. It is worth joining a local canoe club or centre that provides training to the British Canoe Union (BCU) awards scheme. Here you will meet like-minded paddlers and make new friends.The British Canoe Union (BCU) recommend that you wear a buoyancy aid at ALL times (and so do we).Having got your canoe or kayak, you cannot paddle on any bit of water you find. Some inland water and canals require a license to paddle on them.

Most inland water is controlled by 'access agreements', negotiated by the BCU, that MUST be complied with. Some areas in ports and harbours are also controlled. The sea coastline is largely accessible for paddling, but restrictions may apply in certain areas (naval areas and shipping lanes). If in doubt ask.