Best Boating

Paddling and Rowing

On this page we will discuss what we are going to refer to as paddling or paddleboating (including things such as kayaking, canoeing, and rafting) and rowing as a group sport.

Knowing the Differences

Not everyone knows how to tell the difference between kayaking and conoeing, so the first thing we will do is cover the basics of each. There are many similarities between the two, but they can also be extremely different. Both require that research is done prior to enjoying either activity and as with all water activities that certain safety precautions are taken. When either canoeing or kayaking all individuals participating should be wearing a lifejacket.

Both include a variety of options as far as boat, coming in three categories: touring, recreational, and whitewater.

If calmer water is more your speed, boats that fall within the touring category are probably what you will want to look for. Touring takes place on calmer waters and is often done at a casual pace, allowing partakers to enjoy the environment instead of focusing on what the water is doing. Recreational canoeing and kayaking are also usually less dangerous than whitewater activities and usually occur on slow moving rivers or lakes.

When whitewater paddling those on the water are tasked with taking their boat down water bodies that have a high concentration of rapids, and for this reason this type of boating is not recommended for those with a low tolerance for thrills. While conoes do exist specifically for this task, if whitewater boating is your preference you may be more inclined to enjoy kayaking, as they have more stability where whitewater boating is concerned (though not necessarily more stability overall). Canoes don't move as freely through rapids, but kayaks tend to be more technical with a steeper learning curve. When taking a boat through rapids it is important that in addition to a lifejacket, the boater wears a helmet as well.

Paddles

Along with deciding what boat you need for your purposes, you should also consider the different paddle types. Not all paddles are created equal. Everything from the size and shape of the paddle, to the materials used to construct it, make a difference in the efficiency of your paddling.

Many people consider wooden paddles to feel quite natural and comfortable to use. When using a wooden paddle you can more easily feel how the water responds to your strokes due to the sensitivity of the wood. The downside of a wood paddle however is that with time it will become damaged and cracked and will either need to be replaced completely or require maintenance. The are ideal for deeper flatwater boating but can be equiped with a protective blade end for use in rocky, shallow water.

Aluminum paddles are some of the most affordable paddles and are made out of an aluminum shaft with a polyethylene blade. They last a very long time, are extremely durable, and you can use them to push off rocks without worrying about breaking. They are however heavier than other paddles, and when spending a long time on the water, can cause more soreness than a lighter paddle would cause.

Carbon fiber and fiberglass panels are strong and lightweight, though often the most expensive. They are used by the experienced boater due to their high performance. They aren't as durable as other paddles, however, so it is not recommended that those just starting out purchase a carbon fiber panel to start.

Rowing

Rowing, often called crew, has existed since Ancient Egyptian times. As a competitve sport it can be traced as far back as the 18th century. Today rowing clubs are in abundance, with competive rowers getting started in their youth due to high school rowing clubs.