Skip to content

Best Racing Canoes: What you need to Know

Racing Canoe

Are you planning to purchase a racing canoe? If so, have you ever thought about the additional features that canoes need to have so that they can help you win the competition?

Well, you need to understand that you can’t take your traditional old canoe to any national, state, or international racing marathon and expect to win. These are a few things you need to keep in mind before buying a canoe. Read the article to learn more about the features and specs of the canoe.

What Things You Need to Consider before Purchasing a Canoe

Although there are many things that you need to consider before purchasing a canoe for racing, the following are some of the basic factors you need to keep in mind.

Choose the Size

In terms of size, you need to consider the length, width, and depth of your racing canoe.


For the racing purpose, 16 to 17 feet canoes are the most popular ones. These types of canoes offer you a surprisingly excellent combination of manageability, speed, and carrying capacity. You might not know that longer canoes are much easier to paddle to achieve long distances. On the other hand, shorter boats relatively get less affected by winds. Yes, they are easier to transport, but for racing, you need to have a canoe around 17 feet long.


Generally speaking, wider boats tend to be much stable. Conversely, narrower boats offer you much easier and efficient paddling. The narrow boats are also light-weighted and easy to keep on track. In this case, you need to determine which option will be best for you to win the race.


In the context of the canoe, depth is the distance between the bottom of the boat and the canoe’s gunwales. Deep boats help you prevent water from getting in it while increasing carrying capacity. As they have taller sides, the canoe gets more affected by the wind. Besides these, shallow canoes are not vulnerable to winds but allow water to accumulate in them. It depends on you which problem you are ready to deal with, water or wind?

Consider the Materials

There are ranges of materials available for you, and all of them have their own pros and cons. The following are some of the options you have in regards to the materials.


CrossLink gives you ultra-springy and ultra-durable material, made from a layer of closed-cell foam enclosed between two layers of high-density polythene.


This is another material that gives you a highly affordable and durable canoe. The PolyLink is made for the foam core enclosed between two layers of linear polyethylene.


Fiberglass canoes offer you extreme stiffness and sharp exit and entry lines, which help you achieve optimal water speed. This type of canoe has the composition of woven fabric combined with polyester resin.


Kevlar canoes are one of the strongest canoes. It is also 25 pounds lighter than the Fiberglass canoe, making it the best choice for canoe lovers. However, it is also one of the priciest canoes you can find. These types of boats have the composition of fiberglass hulls bonded together with woven Kevlar fabric.

Don’t Forget the Extras

Besides size and material, you also need to look for the following things in your racing canoe.

Number of Seats

Generally, canoes have two seats, while solo models have one sitting arrangement. Additionally, seats need to be fitted in a position that can give you both stability and comfortable knelling. They should not be too low or too high.

Type of Seats

Woven cane ones are durable and tough, as well as drain water to keep you comfortable and dry. In contrast, woven plastic seats offer you similar features but need less maintenance than cane. Moreover, solid plastics seats are highly durable but don’t allow air circulation, which prevents water from evaporating. So, make sure which type you will need for racing purposes.


Gunwales need to be firm, rigid, and strong because they take a lot of strain while you are racing canoes. Pick a canoe that has smooth wedges of the gunwales to protect your paddles and hands.

Best Racing Canoes

Nova Craft Canoe Prospector 18

This Nova Craft Canoe Prospector 18 is one of the best canoes for racing purposes. It comes with a range of features and specs that you will need to win your race. The most important advantage you can enjoy is its 18 feet length, which is, of course, one of your preferences.

While it is best for a racing marathon, it is highly versatile. You can use it for any recreational activity to explore the wonders of a river or lake. Furthermore, you get high speed and control because of its hull, specially made for racing purposes. If you don’t want to purchase a longer canoe, you can opt for its 15 and 17 feet model.

Sea Eagle Travel Canoe

Sea Eagle Travel Canoe is another excellent option for participating in a marathon. Fortunately, this canoe also offers you lightweight so that you can easily carry it from your car to the edge of the lake or river. It is highly durable, stable, and efficient, with a total weight of 60 pounds.

Moreover, it is 16.38 feet long and allows accommodation for three people with a total weight of 915 pounds to get on the adventurous journey. It is an excellent option if you want to experience class 4 rapids. The well-designed stern and bow molds offer you a paddling speed of around five miles per hour.

Old Town Penobscot 164

The old town Penobscot offers accommodation for two individuals. The primary reason why people opt for this canoe for racing is its 16.4 feet length. Despite its long length, it only weighs 75 pounds. If you are looking for longevity and durability, its triple-layer construction can help you achieve it.

Its rounded bottom and sharp bow provide easier tuning and less friction to you. Apart from having all the modern features and specs, it has a traditional design which helps you make people wonder about its abilities.

Wrap up

The best racing canoes are the ones that offer you features that increase your chances of achieving optimal speed and control. So, make sure that your preferred canoe can run faster once you get into the water to help you win the race.


Back To Top