Sort Of "Canoe Verses Kayak"

I’m in preparation for a major canoe race and my partner is primarily a kayaker. We will get very little time in the boat together prior to the race due to the distance between us.

For you “switch hitters,” is it easier to transition from kayaking to paddling a canoe…or vice versa?

Any tips on making the transition simpler, besdies “practice, practice, practice?”

canoe vs kayak
I feel that canoeing can be harder overall because there are far more strokes involved if one attempts to master it. Furthermore, many off the offside strokes (cross strokes) are ergonomically difficult and the craft itself is generally heavier and more difficult to move around on the water. Having said that, casual canoeing might be argued to be easier than casual kayaking.

Unless your race is a downriver race through significant whitewater, assuming your partner is going to be paddling bow position in a tandem canoe, (s)he only needs to know the forward stroke and how to keep a nice even cadence. If you plan to switch, then your partner needs to know how to swing the paddle across efficiently when you call the switches. Assuming you know the mechanics of a good forward stroke, you can probably hammer out the basics (how to sit or kneel in the boat, how to get in and out, how to do a forward stroke, how to time the switches) in an hour ir so on the pond.

Either . . .
I have found that there is considerable transfer of the flatwater skills. Whitewater is a bit different.

If you can take either craft, go with whichever is fastest.

If you are allowed, a fast canoe with double-bladed paddles might work well too.

Good luck.

don’t forget
J&J paddles has a great explaination of the basic Marathon (Canadienne) canoe stroke.

I find it is easier to go from kayak to canoe. Canoes can be outfitted with pedestals and knee pads making it more comfortable to kneel or sit on the pedestal especially if you have both knee and foot braces. You can switch hit or paddle one side. You can even double blade. I went from canoe to kayak and found it is just a bit harder to kayak especially sea kayaks under 22 inches. Kayaks have the advantage for dryness and rolling as well as speed. Speed in kayaks are faster given the same effort from the same paddler with equal skill in canoes and kayaks.

Tough to say
Are you planning on just finishing and having a good time, or actually competing? If it is a flatwater marathon(as most larger races are) and everyone else is an accomplished marathon racer, you may be in for a long day if you are planning on kicking some butt!

Take a look at some of the marathon racing videos for technique tips, and be aware that the right gear(good bent shaft paddle, racing canoe, etc) is essential. If you are the better paddler and are comfortable with your partners skills as a canoer, you may want to think about being in the front of the boat. IF(and only if) you function well as a team and can switch sides efficiently, normally the stronger paddler takes the bow position. But most of the videos have pretty good advice.

Beyond that, Practice practice practice