Speed Junky Or Man About Town: Are you a Canoeist or a Kayaker?
The Ultimate Kayak Vs Canoe Guide
The musk of the evening dew gliding in from the freshly cut grass. Your trusty and faith-ful Labrador nipping at your heels. Colombian meth - bought at Starbucks boiling in your es-presso machine; caffeine ready to jumpstart your heart and your bowels. A lone rooster calling out as the sun rises. On your Range Rover’s roof, strapped like a gutted deer, a red kayak. The world is your oyster. Your testosterone is king. Right now you could arm wrestle Zeus while sipping tequila shots from Aphrodite’s tight belly. In your head you a drill Sargent’s clarion cry:
“I Love the smell of Napalm in the morning…”
Then, once more confirming your substantial belief in the power of electrical lines and their dastardly effect on nubile and fertile dolls after prom, your wayward genetical face-palm saddles up to you and tosses a monkey wrench on your arms akimbo virile cock play.
“Daddy, can I go canoeing with you?”
You stare down, visions of Homer Simpsons’ parenting techniques going off like kaleido-scopic fireworks in your brain. The sacred bond of smart-aleck overconfidence every chap nur-tures torn asunder by an ankle-muncher with a predilection for sucking on tin soldiers.
“Jesus, Tommy, it’s not canoeing. Do you see two seats? Does that look like a canoe? Does it!? That’s a state of the art fiberglass, Sun Dolphin Bali SS10 Kayak… Not a freaking canoe! Where did I go wrong?”
From the kitchen, your wife marvels at the rather recurring pageantry of papa postering, and grounds a couple of prescription med’s into a mug of smuggled decaffeinated java.
“Honey, dear, just take your coffee. Yes, it’s extra strength… And explain to poor old Tommy the differences. Don’t forget your Vap’… Packed it snare-drum tight with your favorite tobacco.”
A smack on the cheeks, a moment of father and son communion, a wife lifting up a rug and hiding an ounce baggy of suspicious oregano from the fine folks of that State that has their stuff wired tight, Colorado.
“Freaking loin misfire thinks everything is freaking canoeing…”
“Daddy, mom says to really hold in the Vap’ smoke.”
First of all: Canoeing is not Kayaking! Let’s get that settled. It’s not a point of disagree-ment. It’s not a controversial topic to analyze to death. Comparing one to the other is like com-paring tennis to ping-pong. Canoeing is the UMBRELLA term for absolutely everything that looks partly the same from a faraway distance, for anyone suffering from glaucoma and with those funky X-Ray glasses you used to buy off the back of magazines.
History of the suspects:
Do I look like your history teacher? Well, do I, you glib little punk? I’m here to give you the watered down, rock video interplay, blink and you’ll miss, resume of a chronological steam train that has a couple of Encyclopedia Britannica pages hijacked.
The oldest example of a canoe ever discovered was in the place that ended up giving the fabled sports its name: Pesse Canoe, in Holland. A petrified chunk of wood that was dated back to 8,000BC.
But it was really in North America that the whole fandango went into Macarena territory and became an international hit. Plucky Native Americans not only went all Gollum on the de-sign - “Mine!” - but actually introduced lightweight revolutionary birch tree constructions. The frames of these modern high-end frames adding speed and comfort.
They were built for travel. For moving about. For getting away from those devils from the other side of the ocean and relocating.
Meanwhile, up in the Alaskan wilderness, the Inuit and Eskimos were having a hell of a time trying to sneak up to whales and bears. Yogi hearing their stealthy approach from a mile away. They needed the surefooted attitude of a ninja in order to bring the frozen bacon back home. So they developed slick one man crafts made out of stretched seal skin over whale bones. Camouflaged vessels that wouldn’t be spotted by Moby Dick or Happy Feet until it was too late.
They were fast, they were aerodynamic and they were built for the singular purpose of hunting, not traveling.
Canoe Vs Kayak - The Gear
The boats employed in each activity are completely different. Canoes are open-top crafts often designed to seat two or more over benches. They are heavy ships made to support the many human elephants tumbling on their stern. Kayaks, meanwhile, are close-top boats made in many cases for single seaters. They run close to the water and unlike canoes, which seat their gaggle of tourist with legs bending at the knees, Kayaks demand that their thrill seekers to stretch their legs straight.
A crucial difference in these activities are the paddles. They were constructed and manu-factured for two different missions. Canoe paddles are the classic stout sticks with a handle on one side and a short blade on the other. Kayaks meanwhile have a two-sided - Darth Maul in Phantom Menace - lightsaber paddle; sharp long blades on each side.
Canoeist, in essence, prance around digging their one single blade in alternate strokes. There are monks that grasp the T-shape handle and gently slice the surf. Pushing themselves forward in tranquil peace.
Kayakers, meanwhile, go all Tasmanian Devil on that nasty miasma called H2O. At a 90 degree angle to each other, in a dervish of twisting motions, they teach that tart called water who’s the boss. Each cut and slice jettisoning them forward; ensuring they maximize their pushing power and minimize wind resistance.
Aside from the fact that you can bling-out your craft, really give it a personal touch, there are some extra whatchamacallit to consider before braving the streams and jumping on your canoe or kayak. Most of those widgets, thingamajigs, and doohickeys are reserved for the avid Kayakers. Contrivances like spraydecks to prevent water from overflowing into the cockpit. Gizmos like helmet and nose-plugs. Thingamabobs like buoyancy aids, which allow more free-dom of movements than the collared life jackets worn by canoeists.
Which is better for me?
It all depends on what your endgame is.
If you’re a man of speed, adrenaline, of bashing Red Bull canisters over your head, of slapping a Go-Pro on your man-tackle and going bareback balls-deep into any situation. If your muscles get tight at the thought that there is another Fast & Furious sequel this summer. If you want to dash like a bullet out of the barrel of a gun, through rapids and cascades; defying the laws of hydrology. If the thoughts of steep falls, plunging gradients, your cheeks snapping against the G forces, turbulence and velocity battering your boat gives you a happy feeling down under. If you simply can’t stand the nagging of your friend and the constant barrage of baby gagging - “I don’t want to die. I don’ want to die” - and just like the whole lone wolf as-pect of the sport… Then slap your carcass, I mean body, to a Kayak. You’ll love it. It’s for adrenaline junkies and folks who look at a Lamborghini and simply want to hear it roar.
If, on the other hand, you’re a social animal. One that likes fine bottles of wine and spar-kling conversations. One that needs the tranquility of nature to slug off your boss’s incipient and constant flim-flam. One that enjoys the songs of birds and the howls of wolves. Who likes to hold hands and spout out pretty poetry while getting lost in a girl’s eye. A fine feathered gen-tleman that, unlike some nasty kayakers who hunt, likes to shoot wildlife with his Nikon. Then, Canoeing is your thing. It’s your It.
I simply can’t tell you which is better, that’s not my job. They are two completely differ-ent sports. One is a bike ride through the waterfront Miami boardwalk, looking at the g-strings and watching the sunset. The other is a mad dash pell-mell raucous ride with a mountain bike down the scenery of 127 Hours.
It all depends on how you get your jollies.
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Travelers, snake-charmer, writer, Shakespeare’s guro. Purveyor and collector of cool stuff.