Equipment Design and Types

Design of Canoes

Racing Canoes

Racers are somewhat limited in design because the aspect ratio of length and width and sometimes their weight are class specifications.

Hull Design

Hull design canoes are displacement hulls meaning that they go "through" displacing the water. A few freestyle canoes are planning hull designs.

Profile Design

The shape of the sides are important because they help to determine drag, stability and ease of paddling. Straight sides are a good compromise, whereas flared-out sides more secondary stability but the paddler must reach farther out to reach the water with his paddle. Tumble home is a "flared-in" design that allowing greater access to the water for the paddler reduced stability and drag.

Rocker

Rocker as the name suggests, is similar to the rail on a rocking chair. The amount the hull is curved up on the ends determines how much effort is takes to turn the canoe. Lots of rocker is for quick turning slalom or downriver boats, white flat bottom boats are designed to track straight across lakes and down larger rivers. a Folding Kayak has a collapsible frame and water proof skin, making it easier to store and transport. Its design is based on an Eskimo Kayak which was made of a wooden frame with animal skins stretched over it.

Type of Canoes

Downriver Canoes

Sometimes called wildwater and slalom canoes, they are very maneuverable and much more stable than sprint boats. C1, C2s and have minimum weight and size restrictions, flotation and decks are utilized to keep out water.

Flatwater or Sprint

Canoes under this category are a long and narrow and very hydrodynamic which makes them very unstable. They come in C1,C2, C4 based on the number of paddlers. The Olympic race distances in 2012 were 200, 500 and 1000 meters. They are raced by amateurs in rivers and lakes all over the world.

Freestyle

A specialized canoe made to play in white water and perform tricks. They are similar to short kayak play boats except for the seating area and paddle. Sometimes called wildwater and slalom canoes, they are very maneuverable and much more stable than sprint boats.  C1, C2s and have minimum weight and size restrictions, flotation and decks are utilized to keep out water.

General Recreation:

Paddlers, nature lovers, and even fishing enthusiasts can readily enjoy Canoeing with Recreational Canoes.  These easy-to-maneuver, all-around boats are usually not more than 14 feet. They are ideal for mild river trips and perfect for novices who are starting to get comfortable in using Canoe Paddles.  A squared-off stern model is available for mounting a motor, the design is meant for fishing and lake travel.

Marathon

Marathon boats are long distance races such as the 90 miler in the  Adirondacks each year. Minimum weights and widths define the class boats. The 262 mile Texas Water Safari has an open class with the only being human powered

Outrigger Canoes

Outrigger canoes were originally built for island hopping in the pacific ocean. There is a rich history of this type of craft from Hawaii throughout Polynesia and Australia and South Africa.  Dragon boats have more paddlers and were more popular in the Chinese and Asian continent. Built for longer distances than most canoes outriggers have lager crews generally 6 and dragon boats have as many as 20 paddlers. The outrigger adds a tremendous amount of stability for rough ocean conditions. Interestingly, Magellan encountered these crafts in his explorations, he noted they were faster and more maneuverable than his sailing vessels. Races cover great distances such island to island races of 50 miles or more are very common in type of event.

Touring and Camping

Touring canoes are generally good tracking boats with plenty of stability. Tripping canoes are designed for greater stability and carrying larger loads for longer back country camping expeditions. These canoes are designed with greater rocker to allow them to turn easier for safer travel on white water where avoiding obstacles is important. Meant for sometimes called wildwater and slalom canoes, they are very maneuverable and much more stable than sprint boats.  C1, C2s and  have minimum weight and size restrictions, flotation and decks are utilized to keep out water.