Types of Canoeing


  • Sleek, high volume boats designed to cut through waves.
  • More rocker for increased maneuverability.
  • Designed with reduced drag for higher average speeds.


  • Sprint canoeing is all about speed.
  • Sleek, fast, unstable designs built for minimum resistance.
  • Minimum weight, beam and length to class specs. 
  • Classes are called C1, C2 and C4 for the number of paddlers.
  • Olympic event since 1936.


  • Designed to play in whitewater.
  • Able to do tricks in holes and other white water features.
  • Similar to kayak playboats.

General Recreation

  • Easy to maneuver, very stable, medium in length.
  • Made for class I and II waters. 
  • Great for fishing and touring the local lake and streams.


  • Long distance racing on rivers and flat water.
  • Pure racing boats designed to meet class specs.


  • Canoes are low profile to allow the bow and stern of the craft to pass under the hanging gates.
  • Hulls are designed with lots of rocker to aid in quick turning.
  • Dimensions restrained by rule book.

Touring and Camping

  • Good tracking with high stability.
  • Designed to carry larger loads such camping gear.
  • Some have more rocker to assist with maneuvering around obstacles in moving water.

White Water Classification System

Class 1

Very small areas of rough water does not require any maneuvering, (skill level: none)

Class 2

Some rough water, small drops, some rocks, may require some maneuvering, (skill level: basic paddling skills)

Class 3

Whitewater, medium waves, up to 3-5 foot drops, but not much considerable danger, may require some significant maneuvering. (Skill level: Experienced paddling skills)

Class 4

Whitewater, large waves, long rapids, rocks, possible large drop, sharp maneuvers maybe needed. (Skill level: Advanced Whitewater Experience)

Class 5

Whitewater, large waves, continuous rapids, large rocks and hazards, large drops possible, precise maneuvering Often characterized by "must make moves" the failure of which may cause serious injury or death. Sometimes expanded to 5+ the most extreme runnable rapids (Skill level: Expert)

Class 6

In practice this refers to rivers that are unrunnable, meaning any attempt would and result in near drowning and/or death.