5 Types of Paddle Sports


Paddlesports require the use of a paddle to propel and steer a vessel on top of the water. Many different paddle sports make for a fun, thrilling, and exciting way to spend time on the water.

Initially, two main types of paddle sports were recognized. These are kayaking and canoeing. However, many people are now embracing stand up paddleboard as a paddle sport.

While not traditionally recognized as a paddle sport, white water rafting and river rafting offer an excellent way of spending time on the water. While there are plenty more water adventures you can try this summer, below is a list of the main types of watersports. Let’s dive straight in!

1. Canoeing

Think of canoes as small boats with a long and slender build. The seat inside the canoe is raised and the canoeist sits down with his legs at a 90-degree angle.

There are two ways you can propel your canoe—using a single-bladed paddle or a double-bladed paddle. Some canoes are designed for white water rafting and others made for calmer waters.

Canoes are a favorite of many water sport enthusiasts and have been around for centuries with people making use of their long slender boats for fishing, hunting or simply crossing from one section of the river to another.

While modern technology has increased the performance of canoes, making them more buoyant and easier to control, the basic traditional design remains the same.

There are many different types of canoes which include recreational canoes that are made from plastic or aluminum, intermediate canoes, white water canoes, solo canoes as well as racing canoes to mention a few.

2. Kayaking

Like canoeing, kayaking has been around for hundreds of years. However, more and more people have taken to kayaking over the last 20 years. Kayaks have a similar design to canoes, also featuring a long and thin design.

One of the main differences is that the kayak seats are not raised. They are placed onto the floor of the kayak with the legs and feet of the kayaker being in front.

Most of the kayak designs are sit-on-top or sit-ins. There are many different ways to enjoy this paddle sport. There is white water kayaking which requires special white water kayaks to handle the fast-flowing water, sea kayaking, and recreational kayaking to mention a few.

Different types of kayaks are suited to different situations. Recreational kayaks are short and wide which makes them easier to paddle. Pretty much anyone can do recreational kayaking.

Touring kayaks are designed for being in the water for a long duration. These kayaks are long and thin which also allows them to be good at tracking or going in a straight line. If you are torn between recreational vs touring kayaks, then understanding the difference between these two watersports can help make the right choice.

Sea kayaks are designed to be used in the oceans. Because waters here can be quite unstable, these types of kayaks are wide for maximum stability.

3. Stand up paddleboarding


There are many reasons why you should try stand up paddleboarding. The idea of stand up paddle boarding came from surfing. This time, however, you will be using a paddle to propel the board forward.

Stand up paddle boarding originated in Hawaii and while it is a recent addition to the list of paddle sportspeople, some believe that it has been around for longer.

Simply put, stand-up paddleboarding involves getting on a surf-like board with a long SUP paddle which you will use to propel the board while standing up straight. This paddle sport is great for photographers as they can get a much better view while standing up.

There is more than one way on how to paddle a stand-up paddleboard. You can race, tour, surf as well as do SUP yoga. You can even turn your SUP into a Kayak. More recently is white water paddle boarding for the thrill-seekers. Kayaking may have been the fastest-growing paddle sport, but this title has been taken over by stand up paddleboarding.

4. Rafting

Many people may not want to believe that rafting is a paddle sport, but considering paddles are involved, it most definitely is. And you can choose between white water rafting and river rafting.

Rafting requires you to choose a course of a river on a raft. The raft will usually be an inflatable boat that is constructed from highly durable rubber and vinyl material. And it needs to be tough because there’s nothing easy about rafting. The waters are turbulent and there is every chance that you might run into a rock.

Rafting is usually done with several paddlers on top that use paddles to guide the boat. The fun of it is that it is among the most thrilling types of water sports out there. For the adventurer and thrill seeker, rafting is a definite must-try.

You might also like: All The Parts Of A Standup Paddle Board

5. Rowing

Rowing is mostly done for sport and involves sitting in a rowing boat and using oars to propel yourself. Unlike the normal forward motion in a canoe or blow up kayak, you will be moving backward in a rowing boat.

You could argue that paddles are not used to row but instead, oars are used. However, the names are just technicalities and the oars are similar in structure to the paddles. It is the mechanism of propulsion that is different.

Globo Surf Overview

Paddlesports are gaining popularity rapidly among water and outdoor enthusiasts. There are many ways to enjoy paddle sports including, exercise, fishing, rafting, and photography and the right type of paddle sport for you will depend on your personal preference. However, keep in mind that some such as kayaking can get a bit dangerous and that is why it’s important to practice kayaking safety and especially safe kayaking in the ocean.

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