Which Craft?

Paddle sport is defined generally as, “any sport involving the propulsion of a watercraft by means of a paddle”. In real terms, this will include canoeing, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding. Each of these forms of watercraft share the affinity with the use of a paddle, but there are many differences too.

As a useful guide to offer the difference between kayak and canoe, and the characteristics of a stand up paddle board


Possibly the oldest form of paddle craft, traditionally used for thousands of years, as a form of transport across water. Today, they are mostly used for recreation, to explore the great outdoors by water.​

Canoe Features


The main distinguishing feature of a canoe compared with other paddlecarft is your position within the boat. You sit or kneel in a canoe making them potentially more accessible, comfortable and versatile.


Each participating paddler uses a single paddle with a blade on one end and a grip handle on the other. Advantages to using a single blade paddle include energy conservation, and minimizing zigzagging in the water;​


A Canadian canoe typically has an open deck to paddle from, you are therefore, able to move freely, carry equipment and small passengers, making canoeing ideal for multi day adventures.


A canoe ia made from a number of different materials and, while a canoe can be used by a solo paddler,a canoe is often much heavier than a kayak and may not be as easily moved around obstacles on your own.


Kayaks have become a widely used form of paddle craft over the last few decades for sport, recreation, exploring nature and the pursuit of adventure. Generally, kayaks can be a sit in or sit on top kayak. As a hire business we offer the safer sit on top kayak. Often used by a single paddler, but can also be used in pairs, see our blog on tandem kayaks. Part of the paddle family and very similar to canoes, but with some distinguishing features

Kayak Features


In a kayak, you’re always facing forward, with your legs stretched out in front of you. Traditionally, the seating is lower down and the paddler closer to the water.


A kayak paddle has two blades, one at each end. With a double-bladed paddle, the technique is relatively easy to learn and can result in a quicker pace.


Usually carry few people. A sit on top kayak and provides secure moulded seating.


With a canoe sometimes referred to as the “pickup truck” of the paddle family and a kayak more like a “sports car”, metaphorically speaking! A Kayak can travel faster and therefore, favoured for competitive and challenging water conditions.

Stand up Paddle Board (SUP)

While this is a relatively new and quickly growing sport with its popularity spreading to new groups of enthusiasts, this method of transportation has a rich history that comes from the Hawaiian Islands.

Often described as “surfing for the lazy”! Stand up paddle boarding allows a person with nearly any body type or athletic capability, to get out on the water and travel further than other boarding method. Here are a few pointers for SUP beginners:

Stand up Paddle Board Features


A stand up paddle board can be enjoyed by almost anyone with a reasonable sense of balance. Stand or kneel within any position on the board.


Each paddler uses a single, long length paddle with a blade on one end and a grip handle on the other.


Deigned in many shapes and sizes, it is generally advisable that a wider board is used by beginners for added stability, but not too wide to avoid the board becoming sluggish.

About us

Stour Valley Adventure Centre operate both guided and self-guided (hire only) trips on the river Stour from our riverside storage at Sudbury (Suffolk). Canoe / Kayak / Paddleboard trip options range from hourly 'have a go' and half day 'Paddle'n'Pub' to one-way and multi-day canoe camping adventures. Group Walks, Multi-family Camping, Wild Swimming and Cycle Hire are also available.

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