What is a kayak?

There is an awful lot of talk about kayaks on this board :wink: which led me to thinking - is it OK that we call recreational boats, whitewater boats, inflatables and sit-on-tops “kayaks”. Most of them have very little to do with a “quyaq” - a long narrow hunting boat. I’m not nitpicking on word use, just want to see what other people think about it. Somehow it makes more sense to me when people say “whitewater boat” rathern than “whitewater kayak”. But that’s just me.

You’re right. It is just you.

more about paddle than boat
There’s a whole spectrum of vessels and ways to propel them so it’s all a blur. But for most practical purposes anything where you sit and use a two bladed paddle is a kayak. So yes, in a way a canoe that happens to be paddled in such a way is a kayak. For most discussions it’s wise to include the type of kayak.

canoe bit reminds me of…
- “Can a bicycle be Air Force One?”

  • “No.”
  • “Suppose the President riding one falls off a cliff?”

Then it would be…
…Tour de Force One.

“kayak” and “canoe” are cluster
concepts. “Dog” is a cluster concept. “Whitewater boat” is a cluster concept.

There’s a bunch of features that often, maybe almost always, pertain to a kayak. Some of those features may be absent, and people will still be confident that it is a kayak. The same is true for canoes.

But I could not accept junking the appellation “ww kayak” for “ww boat”. A c-1 is also a decked boat, but the paddler is in a very different position, paddling canoe style. An 8 man raft qualifies as a ww boat. A giant Grand Canyon baloney boat is a ww boat.

If I’m writing an account of a club trip on whitewater, will the participants be happy if I say “There were fifteen people in whitewater boats”? They’re expecting me to say there were 6 kayaks 2 c-1s, a rubber ducky, 4 OC-1s, and a tandem.

Registering with the USFS, BLM, or NPS before running a river usually entails listing the specific kind of craft. There was a time when c-1s were not allowed on certain western rivers, although they are certainly ww boats. Distinctions count.

Kayak definition

– Last Updated: Nov-15-13 1:51 PM EST –

Having visited the traditional kayak museum in Portland Oregon, the old world variations are just as diverse as today's "kayaks". I'd say the most universal attributes would be:

-small narrow displacement mono-hull
-propelled by a double bladed paddle
-paddler(s) seated toward the middle
-craft is typically decked and can "enclose" the paddler about the waist line for water tightness

So basically a plastic Hobbie SOT foot pedal boat barely qualifies, whereas my pygmy arctic tern with hard chines and cedar GP paddle is as close to traditional without going the skin on frame route...

They’re all canoes
This side of the pond.

Then you define the type of canoe.

ICF definition
In whitewater slalom, if you sit on your knees and use a single blade, you are paddling a canoe. If you sit with your legs in front of you and use a double bladed paddle, you are paddling a kayak. Both are boats, vessels that are used on water.

(in Greenland, a kayak is a qajaq, not a boat, but we are not in Greenland)

I’m on SOTP a lot, and UK paddlers
consistently draw a distinction between canoes and kayaks. I have not seen anyone trying to lump them together.

Amount of Material
Just put some material on a canoe

Want to go for a paddle?
I have a boat you can use.

Did I just make your head explode?



– Last Updated: Nov-16-13 2:36 PM EST –

Covers both kayaks & canoes. Most shops trade under the term "canoe"

Need I go on ?

president falls off…
that would be called a reason to celebrate

Irrelevant. We all know that most in
the UK were deluded about the kayak and canoe distinction, way back when the BCU lurched toward Bethlehem.

There are now many paddling canoes in the UK, and calling them canoes. Maybe, like Cary Grant, you’ve been away in the tropics too long? In the sun?

Is it winter time already?
Sounds like it and we in for it if this type of question is appearing already.

And to answer the original question. Yes, you are nitpicking. Just get in the boat and “paddle on”, as Frank would say. :slight_smile:

Why would that be? Spray covers
have been added to canoes for quite some time. And, we have decked canoes, of which I have owned several. Of course, people call them kayaks, but they’re wrong.

As with most things
Not always easy to write a complete definition, but pretty easy to identify most of the time – at least when you see it paddled. The same hull can often be converted from kayak to a C-1.

Then one dat you see a squirt boat diving in an eddy line and you ask yourself is that even a boat?". :slight_smile:

Except in UK where kayak = Canoe
I had a very strange conversation in Scotland once trying to rent a “Canoe”

Really full of yourself
Aren’t you. Just another yank who thinks he knows more about the UK than someone who lives here. (There are plenty on the B&B board just like you)

Of course the distinctions are known amongst those who are involved in the sport but as far as the general public are concerned the generic term is “CANOE”.

Many of the dealers selling paddling equipment use the main term Canoes with kayaks as a sub heading.

Now get back to being the advice board monitor !!