Canoe vs. kayak race training ???

I race both canoes and kayaks and lots of times there are races for each just a week apart.

The question that I have pondered for a long time is does training in one compliment the other?

I feel that a canoe stroke is better for both.

I would be interested in hearing what others who race both, thoughts are on this.



2005 ICF Canoe Marathon World Champ.
In Perth, Western Australia list these best times for Junior Men:

C1 with 1:44:45

K1 with 1:33:37

So, that would seem to indicate that top-of-the-line C1 paddler is ~11 minutes slower than top-of-the-line K1 paddler.

not high kneel
Jack isn’t talking high kneel. He is talking North American marathon canoe.

Also, I am not interested in…

– Last Updated: Apr-27-06 10:58 AM EST –

what is the fastest.
I am interested in knowing if training in one compliments the other, and if so which one?


I race both
Hi Jack…I race both canoes as well as kayaks. I firmly believe that either one compliments the other. I like the variety of training in both disciplines as well…keeps everything fresh.

Cheers…Joe O’

Canoe & Kayak Cross Training
Jack, I like training and racing both canoe and kayak. I think there are helpful tips to learn from both disciplines and from various training partners, but I am not an elite purist. However, it has been suggested that the reason I drop my upper hand on the kayak stroke is due to paddling canoe. Pam

Probably should do both
Techniques are different enough that you should definitely keep up some training volume doing both. An example is the contrast in the motion of the top hand between the two. It totally changes the way the pecs are engaged and the way force is applied to the blade.

I can’t really say which is more beneficial overall. Personnally I prefer kayak because of the leg drive and torso twist I feel like I get more and bigger muscle groups activated with the kayak stroke.

Caution when crossing back and forth is to not let your canoe stroke sneak into the kayak and your kayak stroke sneak into the canoe. On the occasion that I get in a canoe, partners generally complain about my tendency to twist the body and flare the paddle out to the side. They also complain that I don’t put enough down force on the top hand. And you definitely don’t want to drive the top hand down in the kayak.

Because I only have a kayak
for solo paddling, I always train based on whether I have a partner to paddle with or not. If Baldpaddler is available, we go tandem and work the canoeing muscles. If I’m alone I go out in my Carolina. If I’m out for several hours, I definitely notice a difference in which muscles I feel have been worked. I feel it’s good to switch it up frorm time to time if it’s been too long since paddling one or the other. But like Pam said, I’m not what you call an elite paddler. Erudite maybe, but elite, no.

I prefer kayaks
It`s been some years since I raced canoes (north american style and WWR C1 and C2) and kayaks (olympic style K1 and WWR K1), but I remember that I always liked best to work out in kayaks. The double blade made me work harder, and the balance issue of racing K1s made marathon canoes easy to paddle. However, this was before the wingpaddle. Old style kayaking and canoeing was more similar in tecnique.


The biggest difference.
that I notice is I use my leg muscles more in kayaking.

Hey I know what “Elite” means, cause those are the racers that I admire, but what the hell does “erudite” mean?



I Think
that you ought to train for kayak paddling by staying inside and reading a book, (any book),LOL.

Whatever you are doing it works!

Happy Paddling,


Congratulations Jack for doing both. Canoes have a big advantage in the yukon 450 mile race because you are about 2 ft higher to better see what is out there. Friendly float down the river canoe races with family are fun but brother tried to teach me to race c1 and I would go sideways too much. Camping with canoe is easier and lighterbecause you have no top half of boat to carry. If only I had more time would branch out and have 2 racing and experience more. Camping and kayak racing. Seems fewer people are working but those who do work ridiculous hours. I love watch newmans in their grasse river canoes. Father and son really cranking out the miles after a lifetime of paddling together.