Canoe and Kayak Store is an independently owned, specialist paddle-sport store based in Gloucestershire. We also have a store in South Wales inside the Cardiff International White Water Centre, where you can demo our boats and paddles on the course.

Our roots trace back to the year 2000 when Richard (having paddled since he was a child) was offered the chance to buy a canoe business. Loving the industry but not liking the company he decided to set up his own – opening a shop in Gloucestershire and leading to where we are today!

Unit 8, Damery WorksDamery Lane Woodford GL13 9JR
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    My thoughts on open boats and why

       Words by Rosie

       on 23/06/2017 15:33:00

    How much should I spend on a canoe?

    There are many boats on the market that will do the jobs we want them to do, be it cruising down the canal with a packed lunch in a bag or touring across Scotland with your worldly possessions in your boat. One of the main factors you must first consider is cost as this will narrow the market when it comes to finally choosing ‘the’ one. The budget boats on the lower end of the market are the work horse of the beginner or the casual paddler who needs access to the water but isn’t fussed on weight or performance. As you move up the price range the weight will decrease and performance gets noticeably better. Always remember that the boat you buy will last, if you look after it and ensure that there is enough development in the design you invest in so that you’re not upgrading in the short term as this can prove costly in the long run.

    Ronnie in Canoe with Drysuit

    The Material Options, which one is for me?

    Next, we need to look at materials, Aluminium is used in some boats but they tend to be for the commercial market and are heavy but hard to destroy unless you’re on a stag do and have had your brain removed by vodka, so it is probably not the choice for the general canoeist.

    Plastics make up a large part of the market. Nearly all manufacturers have a selection for you to look at, and they are normally hard wearing, good value for money and a good medium for the paddler who wants a craft that will get the family on the water. Plastics can come in a little on the heavy side so be aware that you need to be able to unload and move the boat when it is off the water especially if you are a solo paddler. Saying that though, there have been improvements in design and materials that have allowed manufacturers to cut down the weight while maintaining the high durability that they are known for.

    Moving onto Royalex this material is light and my preferred choice in a boat. It gives great rigidity and strength for its weight and this makes a difference on and off the water. However, it requires a little more care as it is not as solid as plastic but is still a hardy material. Although it has stopped being produced it has now been superseded by T-Formex and this is very similar in construction and weight.

    We then move onto composite boats these can be extremely light and very rigid and are at the top end of performance, but they may not be the most suitable boat for beginners as they are not as resilient to impacts as the boats we have already spoken about. But if you wish to pick you boat up with one hand then they are the ticket.

    Weonah on Canal

    Which size should I paddle?

    Size does matter and don’t let anyone tell you different. Open boating is a compromise between nimble and stable but also load and capacity. You should take into consideration what gear you intend to carry and don’t think of the now but project this into the future. If you intend that your goal is to paddle unsupported in Scotland for 2 weeks mentally build a picture of the gear you will need and are you going to paddle solo, tandem or both. 15ft is a good compromise for me as I can paddle it by myself quite happily with or without gear but can always tandem if I want too but it can be a tight squeeze if we were to both take a full set of gear. The best way to gauge this is to look at others who paddle and see what they have, attend a demo day and get in as many boats as possible and then ask your self does it suit your needs as going too big is as bad as too small and draw a conclusion from that.


    Why the different types of Hull?

    Hull shapes will determine how the boat paddles, how stable it is, how fast it moves and how dry it will remain again you need to think of what you are looking for in a boat and choose the most suitable shape that suits your needs,

    The following are an overview of terms and a generic description of what they should be, however there are always boats that have a combination of these features so again only padding the boat can give you a true feeling of how it will perform.

    Straight Sides:

    · Provide less secondary stability than other side shapes.

    · Are less popular than other side shapes.


    Tumblehome Sides:

    · Narrow in width as the side rises above the waterline.

    · Let you keep the paddle almost perpendicular to the water.

    · Increase the power and efficiency of your stroke.

    · Tends to be dryer


    Flare Sides:

    · Increase in width as the side rises above the waterline.

    · Provide greater stability in rough waves.


    Flat Bottoms:

    · Are stable in calm water but are less stable in rough water.

    · Lack the tracking provided with a vee-bottomed hull.


    Round Bottoms:

    · Lack initial stability.

    · Provide good secondary stability.


    Vee Bottoms:

    · Allow good straight line tracking.

    · Less effected by wind.


    Rocker refers to the amount of curvature in the bottom of the hull along its length from bow to stern.



    · A rockered canoe is easier to turn and manoeuvre but harder to paddle in a straight line. In general, the greater the amount of rocker, the easier you can turn the boat or paddleboard, which can be critical when paddling on white-water rivers.


    Flat (No Rocker)

    · A flat canoe (no rocker) is stable and buoyant but tends to be difficult to turn.

    With longer, narrower, and flatter canoe the stroke-to-glide efficiency typically increases.

    Do I need extras?

    Once you have decided on the factors above you then have to make a choice about fittings as you can customize your canoe with air bags, kneeling thwarts, stitching and stowage loops not to mention sailing rigs the list is endless. Again look at what you need think of the gear and environment that you are going to paddle in and then go from there. Do not overcomplicate your boat and remember that you should have nothing fitted that could trap your feet in the boat if and when you capsize.


    To summarise

    Picking a boat can be a confusing process there are a lot of factors that you need to take into account. Look at it this way, it is going to be your partner for a long time, it needs to support you when required, take the load when needed but most of all it will share those special moments with you when they arrive so ensure pick something that makes you happy and fits in with you. If you still aren’t sure what you need then please give us a call in store for more advice on 01454 261058.

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