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Canoes are small and light boats that have pointed ends and long narrow bodies. They are mostly propelled by human power by usage of single bladed paddles with one or more paddlers, depending on the capacity of the canoe. Some canoes are designed for sailing and are propelled by sailing rigs. These canoes are generally used in the smaller bodies of water.

A canoe might look identical at both of its ends, but each end is constructed differently and each serves a different purpose. The front end of the canoe is known as the bow, and it contains the entry line where the canoe would slice through the water. The back end of the canoe is known as stern and is a little smaller than the bow and mostly contains a foam block or the flotation compartments. The seats are generally located next to the bow and the stern which allows the paddlers to steer the boat from both ends. Running across the bow and the stern is the hull that makes the main boat body and prevents water from entering the canoe. The top edge of the hull is known as gunnel or gunwale. The hull holds it together by a horizontal crossbeam which is known as thwart.

There are many canoe manufacturers available, each having an assortment of models. On top of it all, there are those opinionated canoeists who go out of their way to tell you that you bought the wrong boat, just at the very moment you bring it home. Honestly, buying a canoe can be even more stressful than purchasing a car, with just as many models out there. The canoeist should select the best boat suitable for the strength of the water being paddled.

Obviously, owning a dozen canoes could be a little expensive and storage in your backyard would tend to be problematic. For most canoeists, the best bet would be purchasing a versatile canoe. The most important elements that determine a good canoe trip are the dimensions, material and shape relative to the water conditions.

The activity of canoeing is sure to prove a rewarding experience. If you are planning to lose weight and tone your body but you canít stand being in crowded gyms or sweating in running shoes, then canoeing might be for you. If you are experiencing a lot of stress, nothing could be better than cruising on the soft waters, feeling the sunshine and the breeze on your skin and hearing gentle lapping of water to clear your mind.

Aluminium Canoes

Canoes can be found in several materials, one of these being aluminium. Aluminium canoes are inexpensive and durable and usually for the purpose of instructional/ organizational use.

These almost indestructible canoes were given aircraft technology. They are made from identical halves of an aluminium mould which join at the keel using stem plates that are riveted over the longitudinal seams.

Aluminium on its own is a little soft for the canoe construction so other metals were added to give the light metal some strength and hardiness. The better quality aluminium canoes that are made from an alloy called 6061-T4, a material that contains silicone and magnesium which has been heat hardened and is considered one of the best materials for building an aluminium canoe. Some cheaper boats are made from the cold formed alloy known as 5052-H32 which is a weaker and softer material.

Regardless of the alloy you are using for the construction of an aluminium boat, it still will have the characteristic of sticking to the rocks because of the sticky quality of aluminium. Some additional drawbacks include being cold in spring and hot in summer, and noisy year round due to the loud echoing sound when the paddle hits the gunwales. Aluminum canoes are mainly flat bottomed and have slow lines. Despite all the disadvantages, and in face of the stiff competition, the aluminium canoes are quite popular due to their durability.

Aluminum, once a standard for the middle-of-the-line canoe, has taken the back seat to the resin and synthetic materials that are available on the market today. Aluminium is about the strongest material that you could get in a canoe. It is durable, tough and can take being dragged over the bottom. It doesnít have a gel coat or the polyethylene skin that would make it subject to abrasion. The outer hull is not as subjected to degradation or fading from long term exposure to sunlight as some other materials. The extremes of cold and heat donít affect aluminum, just the comfort of the canoeists.

Aluminium material is also a little sticky in nature, which means it tends to hit and drag on under water objects. The heavier weight can make maneuvering a little harder and portage more difficult (carrying it over land to avoid obstacles in the water). If the aluminium gets punctured it is easy to repair but evidence of repair is harder to hide than fibreglass.

Aluminium canoes are great for flat waters and ideal for a lake front property where the canoe would get stored outside year-round and used for casual paddling and excursions on calm water. However if you plan to canoe in whitewater or in a rocky environment then the aluminium canoe is not the best choice.

Having said that, blended aluminium allows canoes to be lighter, thinner and stronger as compared to true aluminium. Some of the alloy constructed canoes are even lighter than the synthetic cousins. If you are planning to use the boat for the purpose of touring and portage, you should test the light alloy boat to make sure the claims of the lightness are true. All boats are not necessarily created equally, and when considering lightweight aluminium canoes you need be sure the claim is accurate.

Touring Canoes

Touring canoes are specially designed for lakes and other flat waters. They use traditional designs and are mostly built for stability and comfort. They are popularly known as tripping canoes or recreational canoes. The touring canoes can be found in two main types Ė the prospector canoe having a symmetrical hull and arched body, and the long distance touring canoe having a rounded hull, cockpit, higher rims and lower gunwale lines for keeping the boat drier.

White-water Canoes

White-water canoes are mostly used for paddling in white-water rapids, water characterized by highly aerated fast water flow. These canoes are mostly made from materials like fibreglass, polyethylene and carbon fiber. They are all designed to withstand the aggressive paddling and the rough impact of the rocks. Most of the models of white-water canoes have an internal lashing point for keeping floating bags, spray decks and harness in place. Subtypes known as play boating, banana boat or open canoes are typically designed for competitive slalom and canoeing tricks. They are mostly short and have high rockers.

Square Stern Canoes

The Square Stern Canoes are asymmetrical, having flat and squared off sterns designed to hold outboard motors. This makes it easy to motor up the river and paddle back. They are generally used to paddle and fish on the lakes.

Racing Canoes

The racing canoes or the sprint canoes are mostly used for fast paddling and racing on flat waters. They are usually long and have narrow beams that reduce drag and increase the boatís speed. However, this also makes them more vulnerable. They are mostly paddled on one side while canoeists are kneeling on one knee.

Inflatable Canoes

Inflatable canoes have bows and sides that are made from inflatable flat tubes and flexible floors. They are quite light and are ideal for the rough white-water travels, but donít work well on flat waters.


The beam refers to widest point of the canoe, which is typically at the hull. A wider beam has better stability and a narrower beam is better for faster travel. A wide hull doesn't sit deeply in the water which makes it much easier to maneuver, but it is likely to be carried along by strong winds and currents.


A long and narrow canoe allows faster travelling on flat waters. Long canoes are quite easy to track and to keep in a straight line. They are are very useful for paddling on lakes and smaller bodies of water.


The rocker is basically a curved part towards the bottom of the boat. A highly rockered boat would have a bottom that is deeply curved which allows for easier turning. A canoe needs to have a high rocker for a fast turn while avoiding the rocks and any other obstacles in the water. However, rockers tend to compromise tracking and speed. Thus, it would be wise to select a canoe that has a gentle rocker for the purpose of general paddling.


Select a canoe which sits at reasonable distance above water level, mainly at the widest point. This feature is known as flare or tumblehome which keeps you dry even in the rough waters.


The keel is basically one strip of a rigid material that runs across the length of the boat. Not all canoes have a keel, but it is best to choose a canoe with a sturdy keel. This helps keep the rocker together and improves tracking., but it can also make it harder for the boat to turn.


When canoeing first became popular, canoe paddles began accompanying the canoe. A certain canoe went with a particular pair of composite canoe paddles. In recent years, most of the canoe paddles that you see are made of many diffent materials.

Composite canoe paddles, also called blades, are mostly made of wood or metal. However, modern paddles are constructed from other materials like plastic or fibreglass. The shaft, grip and blade make the three main parts of the canoe paddle. Blade is the wide flat end of the paddles which is used for pushing off water. Shaft is the longest part of paddle and is also called a handle. Grip is the little crux that prevents the paddle from slipping out of the hands.

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