from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
White water canoe on the Soca cemetery route - at this water level WW III-IV, Slovenia
Canoeing on the Sieg

Canoeing is a water sport in which a canoeist moves a canoe forward in the direction of view and moves forward by being hit with a paddle . In contrast to rowing , there is no fixed connection between the paddle and the boat. English captains brought the first canoes to Europe in the 16th to 17th centuries. English students brought canoes to Germany towards the end of the 18th century. The sport is practiced as canoeing on rivers, as white water sport, as competitive sport and in several special disciplines. Different types of boats are used.


Kayak from GFK with open deck and luggage hatch

Traditionally there were two types of boat, the kayak and the canoe . The British rebuilt these using the construction of rowing and sailing boats . The first canoes in Europe were a mixture of different types of boats.

If the original kayaks were always closed and Canadians were open, modern canoes can no longer be clearly distinguished by them. In addition to the sitting position, the most important differentiating feature is the paddle . Kayaks use a double paddle and Canadians use a single paddle .

The kayaks of the Eskimos were single kayaks as hunting boats and were very smooth-running. Although the folding boat is based on their construction, two- fold boats were often used in the beginning. With the advent of individual mobility through the car and the development of plastic boats in the 1950s and 1960s, use shifted towards plastic single kayaks. This also had an impact on the individual disciplines and techniques. So the were canoe polo and whitewater paddling popular only with the more stable plastic boats. Certain disciplines are carried out exclusively with kayaks. Canoe polo, for example, is only played with a special kayak. Folding boats, which are also available as Canadians, are used for long-distance trips , military special forces and by enthusiasts .

Many modern Canadians are also built for multiple people. However, a high transport capacity usually also means a somewhat stiff boat. Canadians therefore focus on hiking in the water. Canadians were built for multiple drivers. Modern materials have also found their way here. While they are not suitable for coastal canoeing outside of protected areas, they can also be very suitable for white water. With playboating it is more difficult to do some maneuvers with a single paddle, but all tricks are possible like with a double paddle.

There are many variations on both types of boat. In addition to the dimensions for length and width, the shape of the hull over the imaginary main frame also influences the properties. There is a round frame , knickspant , U- or V-frame, and various intermediate forms. The keel jump also influences the properties. Different boats are available for different body sizes, bodies of water and areas of application.

Later, kayaks and canoes were joined by other types of boats that are moved with a paddle that do not exactly fit into these two categories, such as the outrigger canoe and the dragon boat . Both are moved with a single paddle. Other boat sports are counted as canoeing depending on the respective national association, such as rafting .


Since all paddle boats in the United Kingdom were called canoes , the term canoeing has established itself in Europe as a generic term for all sports with paddle boats. So all paddlers as canoeists are referred to, such as in while American between kayak (kayak) and canoe will be different (Canadian). Also in the French language kayakiste . In the French language the term canoë-kayak is used to describe the sport of these two types of boat, and in the Spanish language the pirogue stands for the paddle boats. There is also the neutral expression paddling .

The term Canadian in Europe probably originated from a misunderstanding when the open canadian style canoe from Canada , the open canoe recognized by the American Canoe Association at the time , was regarded as representative of all North American canoes. The Maine canoe made of wood and cloth, which was not recognized until 1934, was then also referred to as the Canadian.

The two boat types also use the first letter of their original name from North America as an abbreviation. Kayaks are abbreviated with the letter K and Canadians with C for canoe. The number of canoeists is written after it. For example, a K1 is a kayak single and a C2 is a Canadian scull . The abbreviation F for folding boats is hardly in use today, since they no longer have a separate discipline at the Olympic Games. Open (whitewater) Canadians, on the other hand, are abbreviated as OC1 or OC2 - for "Open Canoe".


English ship captains brought the first canoes in the 16th and 17th centuries. Century to Europe. English students brought canoes to Germany around the end of the 18th century. At the beginning of the 19th century, isolated Greenlanders , as the kayaks were called at the time, appeared and documented in Germany. In 1860 the first Greenlander Club was founded in Breslau on the initiative of English students . The Scot John MacGregor published A Thousand Miles in the Rob Roy Canoe on Rivers and Lakes of Europe in 1866 , contributing to the popularity of the new sport.

The construction of the first paddle boats was based even more on the rowing and sailing boats of the time and were quite heavy. It was not until 1907 that Johann Klepper began building folding boats .

Before the invention of the folding boat, canoeing spread mainly in northern and central Germany. The return transport was difficult against the stronger currents of the rivers in southern Germany. Many canoe clubs were founded by English students who wanted to continue practicing the sport while studying. Centers were in Leipzig , Berlin and Hamburg . Many former rowers also switched to canoes because they needed less space on the rivers and no crew.

The first paddle boat race in Europe was held as part of a rowing regatta in Budapest in 1862 . Herbert Klintz from Cologne organized the first regatta in Germany in 1870 . Since the separation between paddling and rowing was not so strict at that time, information about the beginning of canoeing in the first few years is not always clear.

Many early clubs were affiliated with the rowing clubs. In 1905 the Alster Canoe Club was founded in Hamburg , the oldest still existing canoe club , and in 1914 the German Canoe Association (DKV) was founded in Hamburg.

The first championships in Germany took place in 1919. In 1920 the German Canoe Day decided to classify canoes into kayaks (K) and "Canadier" (C). These designations are still valid today.

The Austrian Canoe Association was founded on August 6, 1922. The forerunner of the Swiss Canoe Association was founded on May 17, 1925 as the Association of Swiss River Walkers in Brugg .

In 1924, the forerunner of the International Canoeing Federation (ICF) was founded, and canoe races were presented at the Olympic Games in Paris . In 1927 canoe polo became a new type of competition of the DKV, since 1933 there have been European championships in canoe racing, and in 1934 canoeing was confirmed as an Olympic sport by the IOC . Canoeing was first held at the Olympic Games in 1936 , and the first Olympic canoe regatta was held in Berlin-Grünau . Austria played a dominant role, and Germany took second place thanks to its successes on the long distance. In 1938 the first world championships (WM) in canoe racing were held in Växholm (Sweden).

In 1927, Bernhard Grügor travels with a folding boat and bicycle from Germany to Africa in 2.5 months , that is the title of his book from Leipzig, 1930 - with a report and photos. Before the Second World War, the German Oskar Speck paddled in a folding boat from Germany to Australia.

Women have been taking part since the 1948 Olympic Games in London, but only in kayaks. For the 1960 Olympic Games, the 10 km races were canceled and the 4 × 500 m relay was introduced, but the relay was canceled again in 1964 and the four-person kayak was introduced. Although four new Olympic canoe slalom disciplines were introduced on the Augsburg Ice Canal in 1972 , they were abandoned in 1976 in favor of four 500 m canoe racing disciplines . Only 20 years later (1992) canoe slalom became Olympic again.

In 2003, the Paddle Rodeo World Championship was held on the modified Mur below the main bridge (today: Erzherzog-Johann-Brücke) in Graz , A. The stone blocks inserted to the left of the bridge pier to create a water jump have meanwhile been displaced by floods.

Health aspects

Break from wind protection in a storm situation on Femund

Depending on the discipline , canoeing can demand strength , endurance , coordination, a sense of balance and tactics. Relaxation can also be the main goal or paddling can be part of expeditions. Since the movement of the paddle is transmitted to the boat via the arms and torso, this is where the greatest stress points arise. In addition to the dynamic load on the upper body, there is also the static load on the lower body. In the case of pre-existing illnesses in these areas, it should be carefully examined to what extent they can meet the requirements. In addition to being able to swim, you also need sufficient visual acuity, especially in slalom.

As with any water sport, there are special risks in the area. In addition to carefully assessing the risks in relation to your own abilities, protective clothing against moisture, cold and solar radiation is essential, as is the use of life jackets and head protection.

Basically, canoeing (outside of heavy white water) is one of the low-risk sports and can be practiced from children to senior citizens.


Recreational sports

WW Open Canoeing - Paddlers on the Inn, "Giarsun" section, WW III-IV; in a current open canoe for heavy whitewater - clearly recognizable the necessary buoyancy.
White water kayak

Disciplines that are practiced without an established competition system:

  • Canoeing (also touring paddling or hiking paddling). More than 98% of canoeists in Germany use canoes on mostly calm waters. In addition to short distances, longer tours are also undertaken and traditionally operated in combination with camping or via canoe bases. Because of the relatively secluded stretches in North America and Scandinavia, Canadians predominate there with their high transport capacity and easier disembarkation and transfer in case of obstacles, while most canoeists in Germany use the kayak . The relatively low physical demands in simple bodies of water lead to wide distribution. The sport can still be practiced in old age or as a family with children.
  • Sea kayaking (also salt water, sea or coastal paddling), kayaking on large bodies of water, is the most common form of canoeing. In addition to knowledge of navigation, it requires the consideration of tides and weather. The demands on physical fitness, mastery of rescue techniques and equipment are significantly higher.
  • White water paddling , has a smooth transition to water hiking and is operated on white water . Different boats can be used depending on the body of water and the level of difficulty . Exact exploration and consideration of water levels is necessary. Many canoe associations and canoe schools offer instruction on the necessary paddling and rescue techniques. Some of these waters are also used for rafting.
  • Playboating (formerly known as Kanurodeo) is the playful use of white water. In recent years, the popularity of this sport has grown faster than that of the traditional disciplines. Many whitewater paddlers also perform figures in suitable places on their tours. However, the special boats for this canoe acrobatics are not suitable for all whitewater stretches, and conversely, these figures are not so easy with other whitewater boats.

Competitive sports

Single-racing kayaks in the race at the West German Canoe Racing Championships in 2003

Disciplines that have established a regular competition system such as the Olympic Games , World Games , World or European Championships :

  • Canoe racing has been an Olympic sport since 1936 and is carried out in a kayak or canoe on stagnant water in straight lanes. Canoe racing has the longest tradition of canoeing competitions: there have been German championships since 1919, and since 1936 it has been an integral part of the Olympic program. The first world championships took place in Vaxholm (Sweden) in 1938 . Olympic disciplines are single, double and quad kayaking (women & men) as well as single and double Canadians (men only). Common competition routes are 200, 500 and 1000 m. Races for people with disabilities are called Paracanoe and have been part of the world championships since 2009.
Canoe slalom, Monschau / Eifel, nature route
  • Canoe slalom is an Olympic sport in which a route prescribed by gates is driven as error-free as possible on moving, fast-flowing water in the shortest possible time. The canoe slalom was invented in the early 1930s on the white waters of the Alpine region. World championships have been held in canoe slalom since 1949. Canoe slalom was first held in Augsburg on the ice canal in 1972 as an Olympic discipline. The costs for the whitewater facility amounted to 17 million marks. After Munich there will be a 20-year Olympic break. Canoe slalom only became Olympic again in Barcelona in 1992. Only in 1996 were the slalom competitions held in Atlanta on a natural course, the Ocoee River, otherwise the competitions were also carried out on artificial courses because of the stricter rules. The high investments were repeatedly a reason to consider removing the sport from the program of the Olympic Games. Olympic disciplines are single kayaking (women & men) and single and two-man Canadians (men only).
  • White water racing is one of the oldest competitive disciplines in canoeing. In the whitewater, a fixed distance is traveled through for a time. Competitive disciplines are single kayaking (women & men) as well as single (women & men) and two-man Canadians (men only) as individual and team races. There are world championships every two years and an annual world cup series. For several years now, competitions have been held on a sprint route as well as on the "classic" long distance.
Canoe polo player throwing on the goal
Wellington Dragon Boat Festival 2005
  • In canoe polo , two teams try to get a ball into the opposing goal with a paddle or hand. The first rules based on football were adopted in 1926 and the first German championships were held in 1928. It was only with the advent of plastic boats in the 1960s that their popularity rose again. New international rules with a smaller playing field and special kayaks were introduced in 1991, and world championships have been held since 1994. Canoe polo is part of the World Games program.
  • Races in dragon boats are held in large boats, usually decorated with dragon heads, on straight lanes. Common boats in Europe are 12.5 m long and have 16-20 paddlers equipped with paddles, a drummer in the bow and a helmsman in the stern. Dragon boats have been around in Asia for a long time. The first dragon boat race in Germany took place in 1987 as part of the Canoe Racing World Championship in Duisburg. There have been regular competitions since 1990, German championships since 1992 and world championships since 1995. In 2005 dragon boat was a demonstration sport at the World Games. The most important competition routes are 250 and 500 m. There are also numerous non-championship competitions for so-called fun teams.
  • Canoe marathon is a variant of canoe racing and has been held on a route length of mostly 42.195 kilometers with mandatory portages since 1982 as a World Cup and since 1988 as a World Championship. If the focus of the World Cup is on the team rating, at the World Championships it is on the individual canoeists.
  • Canoeing is a variant of sailing that is carried out in very slim special boats. The boats are the fastest monohulls and role models for sailing dinghies. In contrast to these, however, they do not have a transom, but (like canoes) a pointed tail.
  • When rafting is a raft down. Mostly a river in white water is navigated with a rubber dinghy . There are different disciplines such as sprint or slalom and combinations thereof.
  • Canoe freestyle , the competitive form of playboating. The number of figures in different boat classes (kayak, canoe, open canoe, squirt) is rated.
OC1 Freestyle / Rodeo, Eli Helbert, Team USA, trains for the World Championships 2011 in Plattling, DE - Salza, Heliwelli, Wildalpen, Austria
  • Squirt Boating is operated in closed boats with extremely low volume and spray decks, most of which are below the surface of the water. Both double paddles (Squirt Kayak) and single paddle (Squirt C1) are used. By using Bernoulli's inverse law , special figures can be performed, sometimes completely below the surface of the water (so-called "mystery moves").
  • Surf ski competitions are held over distances from 700 m to approx. 20,000 m. Most sprint races are involved in the rescue athletes' competitions , where European and world championships are also awarded. Meanwhile, some long distance races are also offered in Germany. World Cup races have so far only taken place in Australia and South Africa, the most famous race is the Molokai race in Hawaii.

Other canoe disciplines without official championships:

The starting age for canoeing is five to ten years. The ratings start from the age of seven.


The most successful canoeist in the world is Birgit Fischer , who won a total of twelve medals at the Olympic Games, eight of them gold.

In the men's category, the Swede Gert Fredriksson leads with eight medals between 1948 and 1960, six of them gold in a single kayak, once gold in a two-person kayak and once bronze in a single kayak.

Andreas Dittmer leads the field in the Canadians, with seven world champions and more than three Olympic titles, “Stifti” is the most successful racing canoe driver in the world. Andreas Dittmer stopped his competitive sports career in 2008/09. He was duly bid farewell to all of his fans, coaches and family members at the sports high school in Neubrandenburg.

In 2004 the Bambi were awarded to : Birgit Fischer , Katrin Wagner-Augustin , Maike Nollen , Carolin Leonhardt , Andreas Dittmer , Ronald Rauhe , Tim Wieskötter , Christian Gille and Tomasz Wylenzek for their successes at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

Gender differences

Women have different strength options in their upper body and arms, so they have to train and ride differently, as there are highly significant differences in the ratio of flexion to extension of the arms. While this pull-to-push ratio was 147% for top Australian riders, it was 129% for top riders. This is mainly due to the less favorable values ​​of women in the stretch-shortening cycle of the upper body. The differences in the lower extremities are not nearly as great. However, these play a minor role in canoeing.

Olympic canoeing

Canoeing has been represented in the Olympic Games program with various disciplines since 1936. Since 1992 the program of the Olympic canoe competitions has consisted of twelve disciplines of canoe racing and four disciplines of canoe slalom.


  • Axel Bauer, Sigrun Schulte: Handbook for Canoeing - Training and Leisure. 2nd revised edition. Meyer & Meyer Verlag, Aachen 2003, ISBN 3-89124-826-1 (also with whitewater and canoe polo).
  • Franco Ferrero et al: The British Canoe Union Canoe and Kayak Handbook. 3. Edition. Pesda Press, Bangor 2002, ISBN 0-9531956-5-1 (the British standard work).
  • Horst Obstoj: 75 years of the German Canoe Association 1914–1989 . DKV Wirtschafts- und Verlags-GmbH, Duisburg 1989, ISBN 3-924580-25-1 (on the history of canoeing).


Individual evidence

  1. Folding and folding bike, Michael Niemann, Georg Slobodzian, "New Forum" since February 17th 2011, accessed October 3, 2019.
  2. MR McCean B Burkett (2010). The relationship between joint range of motion, muscular strength, and race time for sub-elite flat water kayakers. J Sci Med Sport 13 (5), 537-542.
  3. ^ K Miyaguchi & S Demura (2009). Gender differences in the ability using the stretch-shortening cycle in the upper extremities. J Strenth Cond Res 23 (1), 231-236.
  4. ^ Arnd Krüger (2012). Women sports. Performance sports 42 (4): 22-23.

See also

Portal: Canoeing  - Overview of Wikipedia content on canoeing

Web links

Wiktionary: Canoeing  - explanations of meanings, origins of words, synonyms, translations
Commons : Canoes  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Links to national canoe associations

Links to international canoe associations

Other canoe associations


This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on January 11, 2006 .