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Self-Improvement & Hobbies

Down by the riverside

Canoeing and kayaking
CATS Classified In The Straits Times - April 7, 2011
By: Goh Mei Yi
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Down by the riverside

As we live in an island country, with water bodies like reservoirs fairly accessible, it’s relatively easy to take up a water sport in Singapore. Canoeing and kayaking are two forms of paddling, which refers to the manoeuvring of a vessel through water with a paddle.

Canoes and kayaks are quite similar, and it is easy to confuse the two. Sometimes, the term canoeing may be used in a generic manner to refer to paddling either canoes or kayaks.

Typically, the canoe is an “open” boat where the paddler either sits with his legs tucked under him or in a kneeling position. The kayak has a narrower design than a canoe and is considered a “closed” boat. The paddler sits on the floor of the kayak. The kayak may have a spray skirt to create a watertight seal around the paddler’s body.

The biggest difference between the two is that a canoeist usually uses a single-bladed paddle and a kayaker uses a double-bladed paddle. However, there are exceptions to the rule, and it can be quite difficult to differentiate the two at times.

In Singapore, one can participate in canoeing sprint and marathon events and canoe polo. The official distances for sprint races are 500m and 1,000m, with six classes of canoes and kayaks used. Marathon races cover longer distances over mostly flat water courses, and could include portaging, which is carrying the canoe over obstacles.

Canoe polo is played with two teams of five players who attempt to score a goal using a water polo ball. Players may use their hands to pass or shoot the ball, or use the paddle to flick it.

Kayaking can be done at certain reservoirs, the coastal areas around Singapore, and even some outlying islands. Those keen on kayaking can take orientation and certification courses of various grades.

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