Wednesday, August 3, 2016

From the Nose of Our Kayak: Chapter 10 "Canoe vs Kayak"

Hello and welcome to the JLB Creatives Blog, where you'll find an array of creative features from a hand-picked group of creative geniuses. 

Wednesdays on the JLB Creatives Blog are set aside for our blog book, "From the Nose of Our Kayak." JLB Creatives CEO, Janet Beasley, and her husband, Don, have been kayaking for nearly 10 years. Together they are excited to share with you, their awesome experiences that they have encountered. In this Wednesday feature you'll find kayaking stories, scenic nature photography from their outings, and some helpful tips when it comes to maneuvering your "butt sleds" (aka kayaks) on your journeys.

So if this is a topic that interests you, you'll want to be sure and become a follower of the JLB Creatives Blog, and stop in on Wednesdays each week for the latest chapter in Don & Janet Beasley's adventure blog book, "From the Nose of Our Kayak." 

Previous chapters can be found in our blog archives. We began the series on June 1, 2016.


From the Nose of Our Kayak
Don & Janet Beasley
Chapter 10: Canoe vs. Kayak

Being December in Florida brings some of the most beautiful weather in the nation. Nice cool, comfortable temperatures mixed with plenty of sunshine and bright blue skies. December, like November, is a continuation of an autumn feel in the air. 

Believe it or not, we dashed back to Rock Springs Run for one more run in 2010, and our visiting went family with us. At the time we didn't have but only one tandem kayak at the house in Florida, that being the Wilderness Systems T145 "Mean Greenie" as we like to call it.

That meant we needed to rent a vessel for our guests. The rental house didn't have any kayaks available at the time, so our company decided it was fine with them to tackle the river in a canoe. 

Even though a canoe and a kayak are similar, you'll find some differences. For starters each one has its own "look" about it. A canoe has an open bow and aft, meaning the front and back of the canoe come to a point (like a kayak) but there is no covering so to speak. A kayak lends itself to being more enclosed on the front and back, and even sometimes in the middle if it is a tandem kayak. 

Another difference is the seating. In a canoe the seats are "raised," sitting flush with the top rim. Usually canoe seats stem from side to side between the left and right rims of the boat with one seat in the front, one seat in the back and sometimes a seat in the middle. A kayak usually puts paddlers sitting "on the floor" of the vessel in a chair-like seat as opposed to a bench style found in canoes. There are also what are considered to be sit-on-top kayaks. The sit on top kayaks are a popular style sometimes used for fishing. 

Canoe paddles are "one ended," meaning that there is a paddle on one end, and some type of handle shape on the other. Kayak paddles boast blades on both ends. A canoe paddle can also be used as a make-shift rudder. Some kayaks, like ours, have a rudder installed and can be operated by pushing on right and left foot pegs attached to cables that steer the rudder.

A canoe is a real workhorse making it great for carrying tons of gear, supplies, and even the dog! Kayaks aren't known for their "roominess" though gear can be carried on top of the nose and tail by strapping it down with bungee style cording, or in handy (though small) lidded compartments on some kayaks.  

Depending on who you talk to, you'll get mixed opinions on this next topic. Which tips easier? We used to do quite a bit of canoeing. When we discovered kayaking we both found it to be much easier to paddle and maneuver...without feeling like we were going to tip over. We went over more times in our canoe than we can count, but in our tandem kayak we've stayed upright, unless we decide to tip it over and get cooled off. Smaller, narrower kayaks will feel very "roly poly" if you're not used to them. So for us, we prefer the less roly feel of our kayak...but again, others may feel better paddling the heavier solidity of a canoe. But we will tell you that an Eskimo roll in a canoe is most likely not going to happen. 

Which is faster? Typically a kayak is faster, however there are some canoes out there that can keep up with some kayaks. But as a rule of thumb a kayak will be faster.

You may be asking yourself, "Is a canoe or a kayak right for me?" Only you can decide that, and you'll be happy to know there is no wrong answer. Research your options, think about where you'll be using your choice, and don't be afraid to ask questions. Most importantly, have fun!  

Below are some photos of the scenery and wildlife we saw during our December trip with our in our kayak, and our family in a canoe. It was a fantastic Florida December day on the river!


Kayak Tip of the Week: If you are renting a canoe or kayak for the first time be sure and ask the rental person to explain some basic tips for paddling one or the other. This will help to put you at ease, and make for a much more enjoyable trip. 


Turtles on a log

King Fisher with his catch

King Fisher perched

King Fisher taking off

Scenic autumn view on the Rock Springs Run River

"Partly Cloudy" 

Blue Heron

Passing by a turtle

Awesome oak branched reaching over the river

Photos by:
Don & Janet Beasley

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JLB Creatives Editor Dar Bagby (L) and JLB Creatives CEO Janet Beasley (R)