the state of canoeing

recently i was in Peterborough Ontario, home of the Canadian Canoe Museum. if you ever get the chance to visit, it’s well worth it. a fantastic museum with a rich display of canoes and kayaks through the ages. aboriginal kayak fanciers would be enthralled. Peterborough by the way is arguably the home of the “modern” canoe. not in the Wenonah vein but in the development of recreational canoeing. the history of boat building in the region is indisputable.

afterwards i went to an incredible retail store in town. i remember it when it first opened up about 10 yrs ago. it has really grown and is a first rate shop all around, with an emphasis on paddling, especially river kayaking. they used to sell canoes as well but no longer. the last 2 they stocked sat there for a couple years before they sold for no margins. there just isn’t any demand for higher end canoes in the Peterborough area anymore they say.

working for an outfitter myself our canoe programs are in the dumps. no demand.

is recreational canoeing dying? what’s the situation where you live? by the way, i’m not talking about sprint, marathon, slalom, outrigger, etc, etc.

require a bit of work that many are unwilling to engage in. My sense is there will be a return of the tandem as all of have children and are simply unable to justify the expense of several kayaks.


Kayaks are King
Around here only a few canoes are carried in stock by the local dealers. Lets face it, once you have a good all around canoe you don’t need any other boat for recreational paddling and tripping.

For Kayaking you need a rec kayak to strat a WW kayak for rivers and a sea kayak for touring. And these three boats are the minimum needed. The explosion od trendy recreational kayaks at really great prices has really made kayaks much more appealing.

When I was much younger it was really rare to see a kayak on the water and then it was usually a slalom kayak like they used in the Olympics. Today canoes are rare.

If you think about it canoes really are more versitile and if I had to have only one boat it would be a prospector style canoe. However, in today’s times of prosperity many own more than one boat and I’d say that three kayaks will be better than one canoe most anytime.

If you look at the Mohawk website they make a good case for owning a canoe, but for me the biggest reason for having one is all day comfort. Quite frankly, most folks are not in their boats for more than a few hours at a time so the kayaks really win out.

In time I think more canoes will be seen on our waters for their verstility and for their comfort, but I think kayaks will remain King.

my thoughts
I would think that a canoe that is more versitile would do better. Something good for tandem and solo.

I’m surprised the wenonah Solo Plus isn’t more popular.

Around here, it’s either a big canoe or sleek kayak. Only middle ground is like a recreational kayak. Perhaps the rec kayaks with their ultra comfortable seats are to blame for the decrease in canoe sales.

I am waiting…
patiently to buy a canoe. Well, not so patiently. I can’t wait to get the family going on trips. Our neighbors just inherited one, and I keep hearing of others interested or have a canoe and like to go canoeing with others. etc.

We were in the Killarney area summer
of '04 and saw canoes all over the interior lakes and streams, but few kayaks except on Georgian Bay. The only thing that puzzled me was the high proportion of canoes with keels. We had brought our Bluewater Chippewa all the way from Atlanta.

I think your high-end shop merely found that customers for kayaks were dumber than customers for canoes.

heh heh.
maybe so. the ol’ Chippewa. nicely made boat eh? when i worked for MEC in Toronto, they made the Chippewa only for us. at least MEC was the only Canadian retailer to get the Chippewa. they sold them as Bluewaters through a small handful of retailers in the States.

Killarney… brings back many good memories of various trips in and around that enchanted area.

Georgian Bay is a great spot for both canoes and kayaks. at one point, there were very few kayaks up there and mostly canoes, even on the Bay.

Canoes still going pretty strong in our
local paddling club in central IL - both solos and tandems. Lately, I’ve been paddling my canoes more than my kayaks, but that can change on a whim. Until a couple months ago, I was paddling all my boats - canoes and kayaks - with kayak paddles. Now I’m paddling my solo canoes and tandem canoe with canoe paddles and loving it - I finally bought some good wooden bent shafts a couple weeks ago.

I think that recreational kayaks are much easier to learn to paddle than canoes and that may account for their popularity with beginner paddlers.

Canoes Rule
in the Ely, Gunflint Trail, and Atikokan, Ontario areas. Driving to and from work in Duluth, it’s a rare day during open water season when I don’t see several vehicles loaded with one or two tripping canoes heading up the north shore or returning from their trips.

Not sure
See a lot of canoes around here (MN), but also a lot of kayaks, at least a lot of kayak racks anyway. Maybe it’s just cool to tool around with a yak rack on top of your subaru??

The stores here still seem to stock comparable numbers of canoes vs kayacks, except for some of the smaller (10’-12’) kayaks which seem to be stuffed in every corner of the store.

Southern Oregon isn’t a canoeing
area either, but it’s understandable since with all the mountains the rivers run fast so the WW kayak is king. In fact I’m going to get a sea kayak maybe next year because there is a lot of places out here to paddle one. I have to travel way up north in BC or further east to do any canoe tripping while with a sea kayak I just have to move on down the road.

In N. IL. the canoes are still popular.
Kayaks are more common near the Great Lakes and big flatwater. Shallow streams see more canoe action and there’s plenty of those.

Solo paddling is more common and the comment about the learning curve is true. Folks can buy an inexpensive kayak outfit and get on the water.

It’s just fine at my house
kayaks are way outnumbered. Just the way I like it.

yaks predominate
here in Charlotte. most people like the quick intuitive learning curve of a yak. Canoes (unfortunately) are handicapped by the oldschool mentallity of 60 inch straight shaft paddles and J strokes.

Even Steven
I see lots of canoes and kayaks here. Almost every care and truck has a rack sporting one or the other. Canoes probably have the edge as I see them racked in a lot of backyards as well.

mostly yaks in coastal s.c.
my canoe doesnt get used much. windage is a big factor here. and even a little rec yak is more seaworthy in most conditions than an open canoe.

going going…
The canoeing program in the whitewater club I belong to is dieing while the kayak program thrives. On the rivers the ratio is about 20 kayaks to every canoe. That goes for both whitewater and flatwater.

I’d like to say that it’s because kayaking is easier but I see no shortage of kayakers out there working hard on their technique, rolls, and other skills.

Guess there’s just no acounting for taste.


Canoe guy

Canoes rule here
in mid Michigan still, but the closer you get to the coastline, the more kayaks you see. I have a need for both. As for the commercial canoe livery goes, tubing far out sells kayak or canoe trips (short 3-4 hour tours)on our local rivers.

Too many yaks
I paddled the lower yough a couple weekends ago with a friend, both of us in oc1’s. As a rough guess, I saw 200 different whitewater kayaks on the water and counting our 2, we saw 6 canoes all day! I won’t dispute the fact that kayaks have a lot of advantages over oc1’s in whitewater, especially all the play moves, but I think the 2 biggest reasons for these numbers is 1: the coolness factor, people generally see kayaking as much cooler than canoeing and 2: it is easier to progress from a bumbling newbie to a somewhat competent intermediate in a kayak.


– Last Updated: Aug-04-05 9:03 AM EST –

Peaceful co-existence here in Alabama...The reason? lots of Canoes here are whitewater boats....

Canoes: Tandem to Solo to Whitewater (Mohawk and Mad River come to mind)...

Kayaks: Some Sea, Touring, Recreation then whitewater....

The is a mix of canoeists and Kayakers, all of us with a common love of things aquatic......