A canoe is considered a boat

More important than the side height, width or length alone is the way in which these interact to form the overall contour. The key to a canoe's handling is how that hull shape moves through the water. The canoe acts as a water displacer - the stern at the bow divides the water, which is brought together again at the end, the stern.

The efficiency depends on how much frictional resistance the hull causes. A semicircular cross-section provides the least wetted surface area, but its instability limits this hull shape to pure racing / competition boats and smooth water surfaces.

A flat-bottomed boat has the largest wetted surface area, but can take the most payload. It can also be rotated very quickly in any direction. This lateral maneuverability makes it more difficult to keep the boat on a straight course. And the boat is also slower because of its high friction. Since the displacement is distributed over a large area, one gets the impression that a flat bottom is very stable in the water. However, this only applies as long as the water is calm. Such a boat can be represented as a cargo-carrying canoe, but it is unsuitable as a sport boat as soon as the water is moving.

The floor with a flat curvature or elliptical contour is a good compromise between a semicircular shape and a flat floor. This shape provides good initial stability and is easier to keep on course than flat-bottomed boats.

A slightly V-shaped bottom slightly increases the draft and causes a slight increase in the wetted surface (slower). But like the slightly rounded one, the V-shaped one offers a large range of stability. It's also easier to keep on course because the V acts like a keel. In contrast, this reduces the maneuverability.


But the keel contour itself also affects maneuverability and course stability. A straight keel that extends from the stern at the bow to the stern gives the canoe good directional stability and is easy to paddle, but difficult to turn. A keel contour, which catches up strongly from the middle of the boat to the ends, causes the boat to turn well around the midships area. The stronger the keel, the shorter the waterline of the canoe and the easier it is to turn sideways. In turn, this means that the midship has to carry most of the load and sinks deeper than causes more friction, which makes the canoe slower. A compromise is that only the keel ends rise slightly, which gives additional maneuverability when unloaded, with more weight and more depth the keel ends also come deeper into the water and give better straight-line stability.


Another characteristic is the stern at both ends of the boat. These strongly shape the visual appearance, but also have an influence on driving behavior. A steep stem drops immediately to the waterline and extends the effective waterline with the same overall length of the boat, which results in better directional stability. A heavily pulled back Steven is traditionally very attractive, but increases the susceptibility to cross winds.

Seen from above, a stern with a slim foredeck results in a small waterline entry angle that divides the waves more elegantly and offers greater speed with less effort. In return, the payload is reduced. A clumsier foredeck is slower, but offers more space for the front paddler and more payload.


All of these factors are intended to provide an overview of the properties and intended use. When assessing your use for lake, hiking river, white water, all-round boat, a preselection can be made.

For more detailed descriptions, the boat providers usually help with precise product descriptions.

Then only the question of material needs to be clarified. -> material types