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Canoeing in simple words means a water sport activity involving racing in canoes or kayaks. It involves paddling a boat called canoe for recreational purpose, sport, or transportation. Canoeing refers exclusively to the use of a paddle to propel a canoe by a human only without any external source of power such as engines etc. A boat is propelled with the help of a paddle fitted with two blades where paddlers sit with their legs mostly extended in front of them, whereas canoes are propelled using single or double bladed paddles where the peddler known as the canoeist sits on a thwart, with his knees bent and legs more or less beneath them.

Canoes are usually open boats whereas kayaks are closed boats with a spray deck. There are also open kayaks and closed canoes. In technical terms, a kayak can be considered as a special kind of canoe. However, it is tough to determine when canoes can be called an exact kayak and it is arbitrary. Under international standards, the term canoeing is used as a generic term for both forms. The other two terms paddle sports or canoe/kayak is also used. However, in Northern America, the term canoeing is used for canoes only as opposed to both canoes and kayaks. Paddling a kayak is also referred to as kayaking.

In modern days canoeing water sports, the terms canoes and kayaks are classified together, in spite of the fact that these two boats possess different designs, and their historical usage. Both of these typos of boats can be available as closed-decked boats. It is really difficult to differentiate between canoes and kayaks used for competition purpose on the basis of specifications like length and width and seating arrangement. However, one of the most common differences between the two is that the competition kayaks are always seated and paddled with a double-bladed paddle; on the other hand, the competition canoes are generally kneeled and paddled with a single-bladed paddle. In the early times, the most traditional and canoes did not have seats, the paddlers merely kneeled on the bottom of the boat. The modern day recreational canoes and kayaks used for recreational canoeing have seats and whitewater rodeo and surf variants increasingly employ the use of 'saddles' to give greater boat control under extreme conditions.

Let us now have a brief look at the history of canoeing. Well, the canoes were developed primarily by the native people of North America. The actual word which is popular nowadays is canoe which has been originated from the word Kenu meaning dugout which in turns mean a canoe made by hollowing out and shaping a large log . Canoeing was the major mode of long-distance transportation at one time throughout much of North America, the Amazon Basin, and Polynesia, among other locations. But nowadays, canoes as a major mode of transportation have generally been replaced by motorized boats, airplanes, railroads and roads with increasing industrialization, although they remain popular as recreational or sporting watercraft.

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