When compared to each other, kayaks and canoes are quite similar to one another. People sit in them, paddle, and both vessels silently glide through the water. However, they also have their differences as well: canoes use paddles with a single blade, while kayak paddles are double-bladed. Seats of a kayak are lower—they are located right on the floor of the boat, on the same level as the waterline. On the other hand, the seats of a canoe are raised just a little below or on the same level as the top rail of the boat.
Kayaks are faster since they sit lower in the water, so that means less time in paddling through the water and less wind resistance. Also, the double-bladed paddles are more efficient—unlike a single-bladed canoe paddle, you don’t have to paddle from one side to the other on a kayak.
However, everything will depend on whether the person is a skilled kayaker or not. If you put one beginner on a kayak and the other on a canoe, the canoe will surely race ahead. Because they are so light, kayaks are harder to control—it would probably just spin around in the hands of a rookie kayaker.
Canoes are generally wider, and have more of the vessel touching the water. While this means more resistance, on the other hand, canoes are more stable, gliding straight on calm waters, and would fare better in rougher waters and against strong winds than a kayak.
Canoes are used for a wide variety of activities, such as racing competitions, whitewater canoeing, fishing and exploration. There are many different types: first, you have the playboats, which are most similar to kayaks. Whitewater canoes with high sides to keep water out, no matter how turbulent, and places to tie floatation bags to in case of capsizing, as this will help keep the vessel afloat. Racing canoes are made of lightweight materials such as Kevlar or fiberglass, and have a narrow beam, spray skirts and closed decks. Recreational canoes, such as fishing canoes, might have rod holders to make fishing more convenient. Camping canoes have space for attachment of necessities. Canoes are pretty much adaptable with the addition of sails, motors and outriggers. They, are in a sense, like Legos, like the catamaran, which is basically two six-people canoes attached together.
We’ve established that canoes are much more stable and balanced, but when an outrigger is attached to the boat’s rigging, extending beyond the gunwale of boat, these additional floats add even more balance and stability to its overall performance. In an outrigger canoe, the outrigger is a long, thin and solid hull that is used to lend support and additional stability to the main hull. This is a very important feature, especially when sailing in open seas. One good example are the rather crude bangkas of the Philippines: the vessel is majorly made out of wood, with outriggers attached on either side of the boat. Although crude, they are very effective in crossing the seas when fishing or island hopping.