Types of canoe: best canoes for beginners

Types of canoe: best canoes for beginners

Aren’t all canoes the same? When looking at canoes for beginners, most types will look the same to the untrained eye. They are typically between 14 and 17 feet long with an open space to paddle from.

But, there’s a little more to it than that, but we’re going to keep it simple in this beginner guide! When you feel ready, you can find canoeing near you on PaddlePoints here.

Types of canoes for beginners

So, the question is: what’s a good beginner canoe?

  1. Most canoes are made from plastic. This makes them forgiving, durable and sturdy, perfect canoes for beginners.
  2. Shape is not a huge consideration when you’re looking at types of canoe best suited to beginners, but generally, length will affect the speed of the boat.
  3. The longer and thinner the canoe, the faster it will go in a straight line, but turning might be more difficult.
  4. If the canoe is shorter, it will turn easier than a long canoe, but it might not glide quite so well and will likely be slower.
  5. Canoes with a larger volume or surface area are ideal for carrying more kit and/or more people.
  6. The width of the canoe will affect stability. Wider canoes will be more stable and therefore a better choice for beginners.
  7. When buying a canoe, you will get what you pay for. Cheaper canoes will be heavy and harder to transport. They will also be less durable, which is a key element for beginners, as you are likely to take a few knocks when you start out. As you move up the scale, the canoes will become lighter and more durable as the price increases.
  8. How much does a canoe cost? Prices range from around £500 to well over £2,000 for wooden and personalised designs. You can pick up a good quality canoe, perfect for beginners, for around £800-900.
  9. Popular traditional canoes are designs like the ‘prospector’, a design made by many different companies. They will be the most common ones you find when you go to a club or centre and are excellent for learning.
  10. Still a bit confused? Our friends over at Glenmore Lodge have created a fantastic video demonstrating the different types of canoe available. Take a look here.

There are a lot more technical elements to consider when looking at different types of canoe, such as the trim, types of paddle and paddle length, but this beginner’s guide should give you a good overview of what’s on the market. If in doubt, head to your local canoe retailers for more specialist, personalised advice.

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