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Canoe or Kayak?

Most authorities will tell you that there are two basic types of ‘canoe’ -

kayaks that are related to the Eskimo craft,

and canoes which are related to the North American birchbark canoe.

In actual fact the modern European canoe dates from a boat designed by one John MacGregor. Since he popularised the sport all European craft have developed from his original. To a large extent MacGregor’s boats were inspired by the kayak yet were far shorter, beamier and more boat-like than the Eskimo craft. Over the years these craft have evolved back towards the original Eskimo style and, in 1961 some sea canoeists began to build replica Eskimo kayaks. Today only a handful of craft owe their design to the original kayak style of the Eskimo, most are evolutions of the MacGregor canoe. The term ‘canoe’ is therefore used to cover the whole field of canoe and kayak like craft that are paddled.