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Difference between Canoes, Kayaks and Stand-Up Paddleboards

Confused about the difference between a canoe and a kayak? Want to get out on the water but not quite sure which craft is best for you? Take a look at the descriptions below to help you make the right choice...


Canoeing is when you are sitting on a bench-type seat with your feet on the floor, using a single-ended paddle to propel yourself through the water. In general, you can fit between 2 and 4 people in a canoe. Canoes are the most stable and sit higher on the water, making them the best option for people who may be a little nervous or are insistent that they don't want to get wet! They also tend to be a good option for people with any joint, hip or back issues as you are sitting in a seat, compared to a kayak where you are sitting on the floor with your legs out in front of you (if you have any medical concerns then please talk to your GP before booking).
A Canoe

We have three different types of canoe available for hire, two person, three person/small family and large family

Two Person Canoe - With a seat at either end this canoe is designed for two people with a maximum combined weight of 225 kg/36 stone
Three Person/Small Family Canoe - This canoe has three seats and is able to accommodate three adults or two adults and two small children (up to the size of an average 10 year old) with a maximum combined weight of 225 kg/36 stone
Large Family Canoe - This canoe is wider than the small family canoe giving it the ability to seat two adults and two larger children (medium sized teenagers) with a maximum combined weight of 225 kg/36 stone


A Kayak
A kayak is smaller than a canoe and is lower to the water. When in a kayak you sit on the bottom of the boat with your legs out in front of you, and your feet resting on foot pegs for support. When paddling, you use a double-ended paddle and paddle on both sides of the kayak. Kayaks are a great choice for people who are more confident in their abilities or are up for getting slightly wet from the splashing of the water when paddling. They give you more manoeuvrability when on the water and when paddling correctly, can reach some impressive speeds! Kayaks can be "sit-in" or "sit-on-top":-
Sit-in Kayaks - This is the more enclosed of the two types of kayak. The seat is within a cockpit meaning your legs are inside the craft. Sit-in kayaks are available at our Wroxham hire location.
Sit-on-Top Kayaks - These boats do not have a cockpit, with the seat located on the top deck of the craft. No part of the paddler enclosed. Sit-on-Top kayaks are available at all of our hire locations.
Single Kayaks have a weight limit of 100 kg/16 stone whereas our Double Kayaks have a combined weight limit of 250 kg/40 stone
A Sit-on-Top Kayak

Stand-up Paddleboards
Stand-Up Paddleboards (SUP)

Arguably the most fun (and most wet!) of all the options. Not only do you get a completely different view from that of a canoe or kayak, but you also get a core workout at the same time! Stand-Up paddleboards sometimes take a little getting used to if you've never been on one before, but once you've got the hang of it, you'll be on your way. These can be paddled from either a kneeling or standing position, with a long, single-ended paddle.
The maximum weight limit for our stand-up paddleboards is 95 kg/15 stone and users must be aged 12 or over.
Stand-up Paddleboards

Rowing Boats
Rowing Boats

Rowing Boat
Only currently available from our Beccles hire location, a rowing boat is the option for those who want a little more room and stability from their water craft! Propelled using oars from a sitting position this craft is perfect for a relaxing river trip. Small, 2 person or large, 3-6 person boats are available.