Sun, Sea & Canoeing – What You Need To Know

Want to dip a toe into canoeing? Here's what you should know.

By Steve Thio        25 October 2021

While some travel destinations have opened up for Singaporeans, overseas beach holidays may still be some time off from happening. But guess what, you can still enjoy the sun and sea through canoeing! Its relatively easy to pick up for beginners but more importantly, there are heaps of health benefits to be gained from this sport – from building your stamina to working out your muscles and of course, generous doses of Vitamin D for healthy glowing skin! Here are some tips and advice from the Singapore Canoe Federation (SCF) to get you started.

Q: What is the difference between kayaking and canoeing? And which is better for the beginner?

SCF: In a canoe, paddlers use a single-bladed paddle in a high-kneel position whereas in a kayak, paddlers use a double-bladed paddle in a seated position.

The beginner is recommended to start with kayaking on a sit-on-top kayak. As they advance their skills by going for certified courses (e.g. 1-star course), they can progress to try the canoes and kayaks for canoe sprint.

Q: What are the benefits of canoeing?

SCF: Canoeing can help train your core and arm strength, and strengthen your body overall. Participants can get up close to nature while canoeing in the waterways and reservoirs, and enjoy scenic views of Singapore.

Q: What do I have to be mindful of health-wise if I want to canoe?

SCF: Participants should generally have good health and no major illnesses.

Q: Do I need any special gear or clothing ?

SCF: None in particular, but we recommend the following: physical training attire like Dri-fit t-shirts and shorts, sporting sandals and shoes (preferably waterproof), aqua boots / booties or covered footwear  – no slippers. You are also encouraged to dress appropriately for the outdoors – long sleeved tops, shady sporty caps or hats and sunglasses for protection against the sun. And of course, sunscreen for your skin.

Q: Once I have completed the beginners’ lessons, where would be the best places for me to canoe for more practice?

Photo: Singapore Canoe Federation

SCF: You are recommended to continue canoeing in the reservoirs, and to further advance your skills by going for the higher level courses (e.g. 4-5 star courses), which would prepare you for paddling in the sea.

Q: I have heard stories of canoeists being stranded in the open seas – what can I do or be mindful of to prevent this?

SCF: Paddlers should be firstly be competent or certified to paddle in the seas. For example, our 4 and 5 star courses prepare paddlers for the open water and seas. Paddlers should also plan their journey in advance, take water (tidal charts) and weather conditions into consideration, and ensure they have their safety equipment available.

They should also familiarise themselves with the MPA circular which can be found here.

Q: In your opinion, which are the most scenic canoeing locations in Singapore? 

Photo: Singapore Canoe Federation

SCF: Marina Reservoir would be one of them, as it is situated within view of many stunning landmarks e.g. Singapore Flyer, Gardens by the Bay.

MacRitchie Reservoir is a good place to get close to nature. Apart from these, of course there is Sentosa, but we strongly recommend that paddlers should have more experience (e.g. obtain a 2-star certification) before paddling out in the sea.

Q: Are there any safe distancing or Covid-19 restrictions for canoeing at the moment?

SCF: Yes, generally to have the group size limit of 2 pax per group, and to maintain safe distancing of 2 metres between each individual when exercising.

Our detailed safe management measures for paddling activities can be found here. Do check back for updates before you plan your canoeing session.

Q: What are some of the programmes and rentals you offer?

Photo: Singapore Canoe Federation

SCF: We offer star courses for those who would like to get certified and advance their skills, and kayaking orientation programmes for those who want to learn some basics and have fun. We also offer kayak rental at MacRitchie Reservoir. You can find out more at the links below:

Singapore Canoe Federation (SCF) was founded in 1971 and is the National Sports Association responsible for the management, development and promotion of canoeing in Singapore. It aims to promote opportunities for public participation in a full range of canoeing activities in Singapore with high standards of safety.

Share your canoeing tips with us at magnsman@sph.com.sg!

Featured image: Singapore Canoe Federation