After kitesurfing, place to Canoe Kayak ! We comb through every details of their stories. Canoeing and kayaking are becoming very popular with 2.4 million practitioners (5%). However both are often confused or they should not be. 

The whole story of Canoeing and kayaking

  • The canoe (kneeling position) is a light, narrow boat with pointed ends and no keel, propelled with a paddle.

    The canoe draws its origins from North Amerindians. In fact, since thousands of years they have used canoe as transport to hunt, fish and travel. Indeed, Canoe is useful to navigate across rivers because of its lightweight materials.

    However, according to the excavations, the Amerindians were not the only users : traces have been found in the Pacific Islands. Plus a canoe has been found in the tomb of a Sumerian king date back more than 6000 years.


Photo credit : Edward Augustus Bromley

  • The kayak (sitting position) is a small, light, narrowboat, pointed at both ends, propelled with paddles. Kayak comes from North, where the nights are endless…The land of the Inuits. Indeed, the term “kayak” comes from their language and refers to a fishing boat made of sea lion skins and waterproofed with whale fat.


Photo credit : Edward Sheriff Curtis

  • The canoe and the kayak appeared in Europe with the settlers. In fact, in 1534, Jacques Cartier discovered the canoe from the Mi’kmaq (Amerindian from the northeast coast) and began to use it. The Canadian settlers was also using the canoe or kayak  as transport.


  • In the 19th century, leisure canoe / kayak appeared in Canada and United States. In 1865, England, canoe became a sport. Thanks to the British MacGregor, the sport has been transformed and popularized to be expanded to France in 1869 and North America in 1871.


  • In 1924 : birth of the international kayak canoe federation.


  • In 1938 : the first world championships are implemented.


  • Today there are two Olympic disciplines : line racing and whitewater slalom. Practices have changed. In fact, Kayaking has conquered whitewater with the extreme sports and canoeing has grown.

(Discover also on #Spotymag the best Destination in France for canoeing)

One thing is certain, the number of practitioners skyrockets !

Summer has started, it’s getting hot, what are you waiting ?

Experience kayak and canoe with Spotyride


Canoeing and kayaking origins