The word canoe covers a whole host of different vessel as there are several different types of canoe on the market today. Canoes come in many shapes and sizes depending on what their purpose is to be. Some canoes of the modern world are a combination of two or more designs so they can be sued for multiple uses. For example, a canoe may be designed for pure speed for racing while another may be constructed so that it is light and portable along with having ample space for storage.
The International Canoe Federation, headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, administers all aspects of canoe sport around the globe. It is the International Canoe Federation that determines how long, narrow and heavy a canoe must be in order to be classified as a certain type.Canes are generally designed for one person, known as solo, or two people, known as tandem, but there are some canoes that can take four or more people.
Sprint canoe was the first canoe sport to become an Olympic discipline; it is also known as flatwater racing. In this canoe, the paddler has to kneel on one knee and then uses a single-blade paddle to propel themselves. These canoes can be open or partly covered and the ICF dictates the minimum length of a C1 (solo) canoe has to be 280cm, although C4 canoes (crew of four) can by up to nine meters in length.
Two canoe sports that are a superb spectacle are the slalom and wildwater canoeing. Whitewater slalom paddlers have to navigate their way through a series of up to 25 gates on their way down a 300 meter of whitewater rapids. Paddles know which way to pass through the gates by looking at the colour of the poles; paddlers receive a time penalty for missing gates or hitting the poles that make these gates. Three categories exist in slalom, they are C1 (solo), C2 (tandem) and C2M (one man and one woman) C1 canoes have to be at least 0.65 meters wide, be no more than 3.5 meters long and have to weight a minimum of 10 kilograms. For C2 boats, they must weigh at least 15 kilograms, be 0.75 meters wide and no more than 4.1 meters long. Like the sprint canoe, paddlers must use a single-bladed paddle and be kneeling at all times.
Wildwater canoeing takes place on a class II or IV whitewater in accordance to the international scale of river difficulty. During the 2-3 minute sprint or the 20-30 minute Classic races, paddles have to pass over waves, holes and rocks of a natural riverbed. Marathon canoes are used for long distance races that often include portages, or sections where the canoe must be carried. Rules for marathon vary by race but one special race, the 422 kilometer Texas Water Safari, is an open class where the only rule is the canoe must be powered by humans. The fastest so far has been a six-man canoe.You can also purchase, or build freestyling canoes that are much shorter than a traditional canoe and are used to perform several technical moves in a small space, a general canoe and even canoes for touring and camping.