Kayaking Vs Rowing: A Comparative Analysis

Kayaking Vs Rowing: A Comparative Analysis

Kayaks and boats are both vessels that people use to explore water bodies. They each have their own advantages and drawbacks, but for the most part, they’re not drastically different from one another. Still, they’re used for different purposes, and it’s important to know which boat is the best one for you.

In this article, we’ll discuss the differences between kayaking machines and boats, so that by the end, you will have a clear understanding of each type of boat and which is better suited for your needs.

A Brief History of the Kayak

The kayak was first developed by the Inuit people many centuries ago. These early kayaks were made from animal skins that were sewn together and turned inside out. Inuit men used these early kayaks for hunting and fishing. They were also used to navigate through the arctic waters, which were very shallow and dangerous for navigation. Eventually, several Inuit tribes learned how to construct and use wooden boats with high flotation on their sides. They did this by attaching sealskin rolls to the sides of the kayaks.

These kayaks eventually evolved into the canoe. The Inuit people used canoes for hunting and travelling around the arctic waters. They were also used to travel through the shallow though dangerous waters; they were called kayaks because of their use in these waters. As the Inuit developed their kayaks, they also learned how to build boats with high flotation on their sides. They attached seal skin rolls to these boats’ sides to increase their buoyancy. The Inuit rode across the sea in these types of boats during hunting and fishing expeditions.

What’s The Difference Between Kayaking And Rowing?

Kayaking is a sport that requires great physical strength. It involves using a kayak to navigate water bodies, such as lakes and rivers. Expert Kayakers face both hardships and dangers while they’re on the water since they can slip, roll over, or capsize; these are all things that require great balance and strength.

1. Rowing Vs. Paddling: 

One of the biggest differences is the sports equipment required for each. Kayaking requires a kayak and paddle, while rowing does not. Skilful Kayakers use a paddle to propel the kayak, and Rowers use oars to propel the boat.

2. The Difference Between Rowing & Kayaking: 

Rowing is a sport that’s done on large water bodies, such as the sea and the ocean, while kayaking is done on smaller lakes and rivers. It involves using a boat called the “rowboat”. The rowboat is propelled by “oars”, which are used by the oarsmen to move the boat. The sport can be done solo or in teams.

3. Equipment:

Kayakers use a kayak and paddle, while rowers use an actual rowing boat and oars. Kayakers sit on top of their kayaks while rowing boats have seats located inside of them for the rowers to sit on; this is so that they can move their boat in different directions without throwing off their balance. 

4. Different Direction Of Travel: 

Kayaks can be used to travel in any direction, while rowers are steered only from the stern. When you’re rowing, the oarsmen steer their boat to the left and right by using these oars. This means that a kayaker can go in any direction they want when rowing; however, rowers are only able to move their boat in a forward motion.

5. Different Controls: 

Kayakers use a paddle to propel their boat forward, while rowers use their oars to propel their rowing boat. This is why kayakers have more control over their boats. A kayaker can move their boat in whichever direction they want without changing the oars’ position; however, rowers have to move the oars in different directions to steer their boats.

6. Speed: 

The speed at which a rowing boat can travel is much faster than that of a kayak. This is because of the oars used by rowers. The oars are used to propel the boat forward, which makes it easier for a rower to move their boats across the water. 

7. Tracking:

The kayaks that are used in rowing are much longer and narrower than traditional kayaks. This allows rowers to move their boat across the flat water much faster than normal kayakers can do with their typical kayaks. 

8. Depth Of Water:

Kayakers can use their kayaks on water that has a low depth, which is usually only a couple of feet deep. They can even use them in areas that have a very shallow depth of water, such as deep rivers and small lakes. As you can see, kayaking is much more advantageous than rowing to exercise and be physically fit.

Compare Row Boat VS Canoe For Exercise

Rowing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, pedal power, and canoes are conventional human power sports crafts that can be good for exercising and toning up the upper body. You can get a great workout from both sports as well as build endurance.

  • Rowing: Aside from building endurance, rowing also helps to improve your cardiovascular fitness while toning up your arms and back and even strengthening your abdominals. Resistance training is also a big part of the sport since you’ll need to use all of your muscles to paddle properly.
  • Kayaking: As the name implies, you’ll need to use your arms muscles and strong leg muscles, as well as your core muscles, to maneuver your kayak in the water. However, some people are afraid that kayaking could be too dangerous, and they’d rather not do it. But you can easily have fun and stay safe so long as you take some precautions to secure yourself when out on the water.
  • Stand-Up Paddleboarding: This is another sport where you will have to use your core muscles in a variety of ways. For example, if you’re practising yoga before your paddleboarding session, you’ll be able to practice some of the same poses when on the water. Depending on which way the wind is blowing, stand-up paddleboarders can burn upwards of 1,000 calories an hour.
  • Canoes: This is one of the simplest sports on this list, but it’s also one of the most fun. Canoeing builds muscle tone, strengthens your heart and lungs, improves your balance and coordination, and helps relieve stress.
  • Pedal Power: Biking does all the things pedalling a canoe does but in an even more efficient way. It builds muscle tone, strengthens your heart and lungs, improves your balance and coordination, and helps relieve stress. Plus, it’s a great way to get around town.

Different Paddling Strokes For Different Boats

There are different paddling strokes for different boats, meaning that there are different ways to propel a kayak or a rowboat. For example, a canoe is propelled by paddling, while a rowing boat uses the oars to propel itself forward.

1. Canoe Strokes: Three basic strokes are used in canoeing: forward, forward, diagonal, and backward. You can see how these strokes are performed in the video below:

2. Rowing Strokes: Four basic strokes are used in rowing; they are catch, drive, finish, and recovery. You can see how these strokes are performed in the video below: 

3. Stand-Up Paddleboard Strokes: Three basic strokes are used in stand-up paddleboarding: forward, forward, diagonal, and backward.

4. Kayak Strokes: In kayaking skills, there are three basic strokes: forward, forward, diagonal, and backward. You can see how these strokes are performed in the video below.

5. Pedal Power Strokes: Three basic strokes are used in pedal power: forward, forward, diagonal, and backward. You can see how these strokes are performed in the video below:

What You Should Know About Kayaks and Paddles 

Kayakers paddle with the same hand they use to grasp the oar. Some paddlers prefer to use both hands. But it is possible to paddle a kayak with just one hand.

  • There are two different types of paddles: a single blade and a double blade. Double-bladed paddles are usually used for extra maneuverability. Beginners generally use a single paddle blade.
  • A variety of methods can propel kayaks. What is most important is the control of a kayak.
  • Kayak steering is done by tilting the paddle at the end of the shaft. The blade at the other end moves parallel to this, and moving both simultaneously moves your kayak in a straight line.
  • Kayak paddles are adjustable, making them more comfortable to use. The adjustment is generally made by sliding the paddle’s shaft back into position.
  • Men and women can use kayaks for recreation, transport, and exercise.
  • Kayakers should wear a life jacket and all-weather clothing. Also, they should take precautions to make sure that a kayak does not go too far in the water and capsizes.


Several aspects of canoeing make it different from the other two sports. For example, the boats are longer and narrower than typical kayaks, which means that they may require a parachute to be raised out of the water once capsized. These characteristics make it the most difficult sport to learn, as you will need to adjust to the actual task of paddling in the water.

Safety Tips For Every Type Of Kayak There is a proper safety technique for every type of kayak.

1. Canoe Sculling: By using the correct rowing technique, you can scull a canoe without any difficulty in the water. All you need to do is to move your paddle and steer your boat at the same time.

2. Canoe Sailing: A few techniques are used to sail a canoe, but one of the most common ones is to use your paddle as a rudder. You can also do this by using your body weight and lean forward or backward.

3. Kayak Sailing: There are a few different ways that you can sail the kayak, including using your paddle as a rudder and using your body weight. 

4. Kayak Knee: Kayaking is a sport that requires you to use your whole body. So long as you’re adequately seated, your knees should stay bent while paddling.

5. Canoeing: When you’re kayaking, it’s best to use a two-bladed paddle. This will give you more power and control than using a one-bladed paddle. 

6. Kayaking: Kayaking is a sport that requires you to use your whole body. So long as you’re appropriately seated, your knees should stay bent while paddling.

7. Rowing: Here is a basic technique for beginning rowers that can help you to get started. Place your weight evenly on both feet. Keep your shoulders relaxed, back straight, and head up. Use your arms to pull the oars towards you. Keep your arms back to prevent soreness. Also, it’s best to keep your elbows at a 90-degree angle. Pull forward with your oar by using the whole body. 

8. Paddleboard Sailing: Paddleboard sailing is similar to kayaking. You’ll use the same techniques, just as you would for a kayak-sailing it. However, paddleboard sailing requires you to use a longer paddle. In addition, since paddleboarding is a solo sport, you’ll need to maneuver your paddleboard to move it. 

9. Stand-up Paddleboard Sailing: Stand-up paddleboarding is similar to canoeing. It’s a fun way to get around and has many different advantages. For example, if you’re out on the water, you can still use all of your muscle powers and burn calories

10. Rowboat Sailing: Sailing a rowboat is easy to learn. All you need to do is paddle your boat and then use the wind’s movement to make it go where you want. 


Kayaking and rowing are very similar sports, as they both involve using your body to propel yourself on the water. However, kayaking requires you to paddle with one hand while using your body weight to steer.

Rowboats, canoes, and kayak races are recreational water vessels that have been around for thousands of years. They use different techniques and equipment to propel themselves through the water. There are many different ways that you can start using kayaking and boating as a way to get around on the water. If you’ve never tried them before, it’s definitely time to give them a try!