Celebrate National Go Canoeing Week with our top 10 facts

As of Saturday May 28th National Go Canoeing Week commences for a whole week! The special event is designed to celebrate everything from canoeing to SUP’ing (stand up paddle boarding), while also looking to inspire beginners in a variety of watersports to head out on the water to learn and experience the benefits on offer.



So to get you in the mood, we thought we’d give you some pre-event facts focused around kayaking and canoeing which you can share in future.

  1. The world’s oldest boat is a canoe, believed to be around 10,000 years old and was discovered in the Netherlands in 1955.

  2. In Inuit the word kayak translates to “hunters boat”, and were originally used by Eskimos for transporting furs as well as hunting seals.

  3. Eskimos used to build the kayaks themselves by stretching seal skins over a frame made from whale bone.

  4. Did you know that canoeing first made the Olympics in Paris in 1924?

  5. Hungary is the country with the most Olympic medals across all canoeing events, with a healthy tally of 77.

  6. So far Great Britain have taken a strong 13 medals between kayaking and canoeing disciplines, four of which came at the London 2012 games.

  7. North American Indian ancestors would fashion their canoes from birch bark. The joints were held together using the root of white pine trees. They would also need to apply hot pine or spruce resin to ensure their canoes did not let water on board. Fortunately, you can buy canoes from us that are fully watertight… Not a seal skin or root in sight!

  8. Pope John Paul II was a confessed keen kayaker prior to becoming the Pope. The Pope would take his personal folding kayak on holiday and even signed up for some races.

  9. Talking of Pope John Paul II’s kayak racing career, once he entered to compete on the Dunajec River in Poland in 1955, but he got a hole in his vessel and proceeded to sink just short of the finish line!

  10. A WWI veteran by the name of Franz Romer was the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a kayak at the age of 29. Romer began his trip from Lisbon, Portugal and finished the adventure in Puerto Rico some 58 days later, covering 4000 miles in doing so.

Feeling inspired? We hope so. And if you are, and want to get involved in National Go Canoeing Week, you can log your mileage on the official website which will be submitted to the event’s overall target of 30,000 miles. You can be a solo paddler, or in a group. For more information, follow the link here.

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