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What is it? Kayak or canoe.

I've placed an order for a Superior Expedition. Take a look at it if you like. Very similar to the Kruger.
If you look at the photo galley, mine will be the yellow decked one. Anyhow, it's a decked solo canoe, but everyone that looks at it says, "Ah, nice kayak." So the question for you "experts" out there is, what's the difference---kayak vs. decked solo canoe. Is it just that the latter is bigger, deeper, and has greater carry capacity, different hull shape, intended use, or what?


  • Well...
    -- Last Updated: Aug-24-10 10:26 AM EST --

    a sea kayak it ain't - no sealed bulkheads, limited at best perimeter lines and a cockpit opening that would be hard-pressed to handle a skirt that'd actually keep water out in a roll. Also probably no thigh braces or passes at. Likely no reinforcement for WW so not that either.

    But between this and some of the beamy big cockpit transitional boats, it's a bit harder to make the call.

    Then again, if you stuck a deck on many pack canoes it'd be confounding too.

  • Have Paddled a Kruger....
    ...and owned it's predecessor, the Mad River Monarch. IMHO it is a canoe, with an open deck. I paddled it with a single blade. I'm not fond of kayaks and I LIKED this boat, so it HAD to be a canoe (LOL)! WW
  • Options
    Some make the distinction by how it's outfitted and paddled. When you see someone on their knees witha single blade, you should generally think canoe or maybe "OC1".

    I've seen whitewater boats converted into OC1s by ripping out the seat and adding a saddle and thigh straps. They make it easy in Englang by not distinguishing them at all.

    If you start getting technical, most everything we call a kayak is a canoe by the dictionary definition.

    If you classify it by how it's outfitted and paddled, it does make things a lot easier and clear cut.


  • Since you sit in it. It is a Kayak.
    A kayak is type of canoe that is not set up to allow you to kneel. If you paddle and cannot kneel it is a kayak. If you paddle and can switch to kneeling or only can kneel then it is a canoe.

    So all kayaks are canoes, but not all canoes are kayaks.
  • Seat is Adjustable, You CAN Kneel
    -- Last Updated: Aug-24-10 12:36 PM EST --

    Seat adjusts up, so kneeling possible. SO, it's a CANOE! You say ToMAto, I say TomaHto (LOO)! WW

  • Verlen called it a canoe.
  • Move it and see.
    If all day you ponder identity,
    therein lies the crisis,
    for water abates bateau debates
    and through both pleasure craft slices.
  • Translation...
    ...in other words - Who cares what you call it, so long as it does what you like?
  • Options
    I call mine canoe, but
    when non paddlers call it a kayak that's fine too. When other paddlers call it kayak it opens a discussion of why I think it's a canoe, most reasons already mentioned here. Another one to me would be in a kayak you sit on the bottom of the boat and a canoe you don't. (canoe or kayak I have to sit, knees won't handle kneeling).

    But it's not important what you call it, just enjoy. By the way, in the Superior's gallery mine's the purple one.

  • So, my Advantage is a kayak?
  • I sit in the bottom of the Rapidfire.
    A canoe with a kayak hull.
  • Options
    Looks like a
    CANYAK to me. :-)
  • As long as it takes you where you
    want to go, what does it matter?

    Congratulations on your choice of such a capable-looking... um... watercraft!
  • Decked Canoe....
    Yes, it certainly blurs the lines, but as an avid kayaker and an owner of basically the same canoe (Sawyer Loon upon which your boat is based) it is a canoe. No question about it.

    A kayak is worn, you sit below the waterline, and it has thigh braces and can be rolled.

    This is a canoe with a deck. When you sit in it and paddle it you realize that it handles like a canoe too (although in a unique fasion).

    Great boat...but it is a canoe. Just because you put a deck on top doesn't make it a kayak.

    Kind of like Pungos and the like aren't really kayaks either.....ooohhhh I may get blasted for that one. But it's true. They really are decked canoes as well in many regards.

  • Tommy's Rule
    -- Last Updated: Aug-30-10 8:07 AM EST --

    You can use it or toss it as you please.
    Tommy's rule states that if you sit less than four inches off the bottom and paddle with a double blade it's a kayak.
    If you sit four inches or higher or kneel and paddle with a single blade then it's a canoe.
    The deck has no say in the matter.
    Further if you paddle a canoe with a double blade or a kayak with a single then you are a kook.

  • fun looking boat but the rudder and
    foot pedal-thing should go.....into dumpster!..lol
    It looks like a fun boat, a decked touring boat, is fun enough. There are no shots of the underside on their website, which is kinda strange.
  • Tommy's rule

    I guess even though you live in NE you never met the late Bart Hauthaway, formally of Weston, MA. Bart was an olympic competitor, olympic coach and builder of open canoes, kayaks and decked canoes for many decades.

    Bart's rule was very simple: If you have to be able to roll it to safely proceed, it's a kayak. Everything else is a canoe.

    Decked canoes (called decked canoes) have a 140+ year documented history. I own a Copy of "A Thousand Miles In The Rob Roy Canoe," printed in 1871. It tells of some of John Mcgreggor's epic voyages. Those historic decked canoes were paddled with double bladed paddles. The book cover illustration (1871) shows a decked canoe being paddled with a double blade paddle, by a dapper man sitting on the bottom.

    The earliest American recreational paddlers paddled decked canoes, while sitting on the bottom, using double blade paddles for propulsion: they were inspired by Mcgreggor's books. Look up the beginning of the ACA at the Sugar Island annual gatherings in the 1880 and 1890s-mostly decked canoes, propelled with double blades, while sitting on the bottom. Because these were very wealthy and competitive men, sailing races soon became prominent and Rob Roy style decked canoes quickly gave way to primarily sailing canoes. The duration of the Rob Roy prominence then was about as long as we have had decked canoes foisted on us as "rec" Kayaks in the present time. "Rec" kayak is just a marketing name for decked canoes, developed for the beginner who was convinced he wanted a kayak and then found true kayaks too tippy. So a new category of "kayaks" was developed, filled by decked canoes and called rec kayaks. Now the sale of a "kayak" could be made. Ka-ching, Ka-ching-give the customer what he wants, and invent a new name for it.

    Pack canoes (called that) have a 130 year history. They are also paddled by a double blade paddle while sitting on the bottom-always were and still are.

    There are historical records of places in the world where people paddled true kayaks (by Bart's definition) with single blade paddles.

    While paddlers lacking knowledge of canoe and kayak history can and do state whatever they presently see, experience or want to believe as the whole truth, there is a long historical record they are ignoring.


  • Mcgreggor

    Should we give Mcgreggor undisputed credit for getting the nomenclature correct? I'm just asking. He did come from the island where paddle craft were called a canoes.
  • English nomenclature
    My grandparents and great aunt and uncle came over from that Island to become American citizens. Throughout my childhood I was subjected to pronouncements of how things were (more correctly) done there, usually with some arrogance. I do have some sensitivity to this issue.

    Juxtapose this with the American arrogance of throwing away 130-150 years of history because their present usage and present naming of paddlecraft doesn't happen to fit the 130-150 years of historical record.

    I guess I belong to a nation of one, But it's a great nation in my own mind.

  • So I think they are all canoes?
    I think the way it was in England they were all called canoes. Certainly the magazines at that time made it seem that way. And they named it the British Canoe Union not the British paddling union or the British kayak union.

    But they did distinguish some canoes as being in a subset called kayaks. I always thought the Rob Roy was a canoe that fit in the kayak subset. But perhaps it is rolling that makes it a kayak not the sitting on the floor.

    In which case all those white water canoes you have to roll should be more correctly called kayaks.

    Tomorrow I'm going to paddle my sit on top and try my new sail. It cannot be rolled, even expert have failed, I dare you to try it. You sit in it and cannot kneel in it. So I don't call it a kayak or a canoe. It simply is my "Sea Pig" and it is the only boat for coastal trips over 15 miles per day.
  • have to agree with Tommy
    If I am not sitting on the floor, with agonized ham strings and back muscles then I am in a canoe.


    Ps: has any body else noticed that kayaK still spells
    misery when spelled backwards? Kayak !
  • With Apologies to Bart
    I know plenty of canoeists paddling both open and decked canoes who roll when they need to. Rolling seems to have more to do with the water paddled than the craft.

    The problem seems to be finding clear distinctions between canoe and kayak.
    Many people believe that canoes are open and kayaks have decks. For me rec kayaks with HUGE cockpits, sit on tops, whitewater C1's, and decked expedition canoes make that an uncertain distinction at best.
    My contention is that the general tools and techniques make a clear distinction. So Tommy's Rule could also state that any craft paddled like a canoe, is a canoe. And any craft paddled like a kayak, is a kayak.
    The fact that some whitewater kayak hulls are routinely converted to decked canoes simply by changing the outfitting to permit single blade techniques seems to support that.
    Yes by my definition the Rushtons et al are kayaks as are the adirondack pack boats. Is that a bad thing? Is there some onus to being a kayak?
  • Congrats on the Superior
    Lots of folks call my Mad River Monarch a kayak. I tell 'em I don't sit on the floor, it has a huge cockpit, can't be realistically rolled, and is better operated with a single blade. A fella in the MO340 in a fast touring kayak asked me why I wasn't double blading in it during the race. I asked him how heavy his paddle was. 27 ounces (ouch). Mine is 10. We were in a 20 mph headwind and he was waving that extra blade around. we didn't talk much after that...he was behind me.
  • Kayaks/Canoes- why differentiate?
    -- Last Updated: Aug-30-10 3:07 PM EST --

    I have owned and enjoyed paddling both canoes and kayaks for many decades. My focus on the historical derivation of canoe/kayak distinctions is probably from being a 30 year member of the Wood Canoe Historical Heritage Association (WCHA). In spite of the pretentious name that only a Yale Educated Architectural Historian could have come up with, it's a great organization of fine people. However, I also reject their unstated consensus that canoes made of plastic or "frozen snot" are somehow inferior to wood canoes. I'm presently restoring a Kennebec wood/canvas kayak, built in the early 30's.

    I have issues with the obsession over elaborate differentiating between what is a "real" canoe and what is a "real" kayak. Likewise with the obsession over how a "real" canoe or a "real" kayak should be sat in and how it should be propelled. Such distinctions frequently proceed into "A" being superior than "B". Sometimes stated and sometimes left unsaid is "I paddle "A", ipso facto those who paddle "B" are just plain ignorant to the truth all of us "A" paddlers know to be self-evident or they are just plain losers". (An understood exception to this is Fat Elmo, who really wants to paddle a kayak but espouses paddling a canoe to be ably carry Andy's cooler and spam.)

    Dave's rules:

    1) Paddle every chance you get-you can never paddle too much.
    2) Paddle whatever you enjoy; ignore those who look disapprovingly on what or how you are paddling. Paddle your craft sitting in the way that is most comfortable/efficient for you and use the paddling implement (or pole) that works best for you in that craft, in the conditions you usually paddle in. ----There may be reasons for paddling choices that an observer can not always be aware of. I only use a double blade paddle now, with a low angle stroke. A single blade paddle paddle or high angle stroke now irritates my rebuilt shoulder-using a double blade allows me to continue paddling in "conventional" canoes, decked canoes, pack canoes and kayaks. My decades long accumulation of fine single blade paddles now go unused. Last week was paddling with a lady that had a knee sticking up out of the cockpit of her skirtless kayak. She had a recent knee replacement. In spite of all that was going on with her knee and how much she was deviating from conventional practice, she found a way to continue enjoying paddling! A group of retired folks that I paddle with periodically mostly paddle plastic Rec kayaks because in spite of the weight, they allow easier entry for their stiff bodies and greater support for their stiff backs.
    3) Never turn down a chance to paddle different craft-You may fine something that interests you more than what you are presently paddling or you may reaffirm that what you are paddling continues to be best for you. ----This rule led to my selling a Bell Rob Roy and buying a Rapidfire.
    4) Periodic churning of the fleet is healthy to continuing one's paddling enthusiasm (A more debatable guideline, it could also be cited as evidence of serial misjudgment) However, this rule works for me.


  • paddle what is comfortable for you

    You could stretch those tight hamstrings and back muscles. However, enjoy paddling what you like and are comfortable in.

    I looked up your profile and just have to make the snarky comment that Half/fast is better than half/assed, which I've sometimes been accused of.

  • Options
    Superior Expedition canoe
    I am considering ordering the same canoe.
    I hope that you already got it and had a chance to test it.
    How does it feel?
    Is it a well made boat?
    Worth the money?
    Anything I should be aweare of, any advices you can give me?
    Thanks for your time.
  • Options
    Superior Expedition Canoe
    My husband bought and is paddling one of Scott Smith's Superior Expedition Canoes. He loves it. It handles well in many conditions and easily carries a lot of gear. He's doing an open water paddle in the FL Keys in 3-5 foot seas and not having any problems with boat handling. We highly recommend the boat and the builder!
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