Kayaks are hugely popular, but don’t discount a reliable, spacious, and sturdy canoe for fun and adventure on the water!
Kayaking may be among the fastest-growing sports in North America but Canada was literally mapped by the reliable and iconic canoe. It’s hard to pick the best as the two means of water transportation offer unique advantages for anyone looking for a self-powered alternative in which to enjoy time on the water.
According to Bill Mason, creator of the pioneering National Film Board of Canada film, Paddle to the Sea, canoes are “the most beautiful and functional object that humanity ever created”. A true enthusiast, Mason dedicated a lifetime to the celebration of this beloved watercraft. Ideal for discovery and exploration, the canoe is truly unparalleled, particularly throughout the Canadian wilds.
The kayak, while it may have a shorter history among recreational users, it was relied upon for centuries by the Inuit. The primary purpose for creating the kayak – or “hunter’s boat” – was for more mobile, agile, and stealthy hunting and fishing. The narrow boat allowed hunters to edge up behind prey on the shoreline and hunt with greater success.
Kayak or Canoe – Paddling is great for your health!
Both canoe and kayak offer significant health benefits. Check out the variety of ways paddling is great for you:
Mental health. Paddling lowers stress levels. Time on the water calms the mind and helps lower your level of stress. A kayak or canoe is sure to boost your mood. Regular paddling can help lower levels of depression and anxiety.
Enhanced level of fitness. Paddling is great for the upper body. The resistance of the water increases muscle strength in the arms, shoulders, chest, and back. Great for your core – with each stroke of the paddle, you engage your torso and core to help stay balanced. Legs, too! Through isometric contraction, paddling helps increase leg strength. Paddling is a full-body, low-impact activity that helps to reduce wear and tear on joints, particularly when compared to other sports and activities. Paddling a canoe or kayak helps improve your cardiovascular health. It’s a terrific exercise that effectively elevates the heart rate.
Environmentally friendly. Whether it’s kayak or canoe, you know you’re operating a watercraft that is doing no harm – no engine, no fossil fuels, no dirty exhaust, and no greenhouse gases. And no noise! You can’t get any friendlier to the environment than a kayak or canoe.
Thanks to the dynamics of paddling, other benefits you may enjoy are reduced back pain, enhanced balance, and improved mobility. Even a relaxed and leisurely paddle will give you a full-body workout.
BONUS: time out on the water in nature is, plain and simple, just good for the mind, body, and soul. Explore, adventure, and get a ton of fresh air. It’s hard to find a downside!
Why a kayak might be the best choice
A kayak is incredibly versatile, agile, and adaptable and great for just about any body of water: river, lake, or ocean. In a kayak, you can reach remote beaches and other features, quietly explore wetlands, play with the kids in the water, and enjoy breathtaking views from a whole new perspective. Not to mention the great workout!
Kayaks are wonderful for water adventures. Especially, if you’re a thrill-seeker! Experienced kayak paddlers enjoy wild rivers and incredible whitewater. Lake or ocean lovers can peacefully access just about any inlet or bay in search of wild-and birdlife – fabulous for exploration.
Are you an angler? An exciting and liberating way to fish, kayak fishing allows you angling access to those spots that are too shallow for a motorized watercraft to reach or that you can’t reach by foot.
For large lakes and ocean, kayaking is very safe. They are stable in wind, driving rain, and large waves and provide a skirt to cover the opening, keeping you dry from the waist down. Keep in mind that if you use the skirt, you must know how to exit the kayak safely in the event you capsize. Canoes, on the other hand, perform poorly under more extreme conditions.
Why a canoe might be best for you
If you’re going any distance a canoe is a great choice! Particularly, if you need to portage – carry the boat from one waterway to another. A kayak is difficult to portage as your head will inevitably be buried in the cockpit, with limited to no view of the path ahead of you – possibly treacherous on a rocky, uneven trail.
A well-designed canoe for two means two synchronized paddlers operating with similar power applied to both sides of the watercraft – making short work of wind and waves.
A canoe offers a higher, more comfortable perch on which to sit as you enjoy a good view of the path ahead along with your surroundings. Enjoy a very stable platform and vantage point from which you can more easily photograph or fish.
Take grandma out on the water… along with the kids and the dog, too! Canoes are super family-friendly – safe, stable, and comfortable for several passengers.
As mentioned, canoeing is woven into the vibrant fabric of our Canadian history. Beginning with the indigenous peoples to the English explorers and French voyageurs to the weekend adventurers of today. It’s a long, rich, and wonderful tradition of which you can be a part.
Explore Squamish by kayak or canoe! Relax and enjoy a meandering morning paddle through a nearby estuary or the calm of a local mountain lake. If you’re more experienced, head downstream – choose your level of excitement! Whether it’s a rental or a guided tour, get the most of your experience in the pristine beauty of west coast flora and fauna from an unparalleled view from the water.
What you choose, kayak or canoe, will depend on how you want to enjoy your time and your preference of adventure on the water. Both offer incredible opportunities for tranquil and healthy water recreation.