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Kayak your way around the world, adventurers!

From the coastal gems of Australia to the majestic waterways of Norway, we’re paddling through the countries where kayaking isn’t just a sport—it’s a way of life.

Keen to explore where the rivers run wild and the adventures never end?

Let’s make a splash into the top kayaking hotspots!

Countries where kayaking is most popular:

  1. United States
  2. Canada
  3. New Zealand
  4. Australia
  5. Germany
  6. France
  7. United Kingdom
  8. Norway
  9. Sweden
  10. Austria
  11. Slovenia

#1 United States

Shane T. McCoy, White water kayaking competition, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC0 1.0

Kayaking in the United States flourishes, from serene lakes to wild rivers, reflecting the country’s diverse landscapes that cater to paddlers of all levels.

The availability of numerous national parks and waterways, coupled with a culture that values outdoor recreation, makes kayaking a popular and accessible activity for Americans seeking adventure and connection to nature.

#2 Canada

Kerry RaymondKayaking in the Canadian Arctic, 2019, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY 4.0

Canada’s vast and stunning wilderness offers an unparalleled kayaking experience, from the rugged coastlines of British Columbia to the majestic lakes of the Canadian Shield.

Its rich natural resources and emphasis on outdoor activities make kayaking a favorite pastime, allowing Canadians and visitors to explore the country’s scenic beauty and abundant wildlife.

#3 New Zealand

en:User:PhiloViveroMarlboroughSounds-OceanKayakking, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY-SA 3.0

With its intricate coastline, fiords, and waterways, New Zealand is a kayaker’s paradise. The country’s strong outdoor recreation culture, combined with its breathtaking landscapes, has cemented kayaking as a beloved activity.

New Zealanders and tourists alike paddle to discover secluded coves, witness marine life, and embrace the Maori concept of connecting with the land.

#4 Australia

Alex Proimos from Sydney, Australia, Kayaking on the Tigre (4514249842), scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY 2.0

Australia’s unique combination of tropical reefs, dramatic coastlines, and peaceful river systems makes it a hotspot for kayaking enthusiasts.

The country’s avid promotion of outdoor sports, along with accessible kayaking spots around cities like Sydney and Brisbane, ensures that kayaking remains a favoured way to experience Australia’s diverse environments.

#5 Germany

Isiwal/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0, 2160528 Strauß Franz-5655, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY-SA 4.0

Kayaking in Germany is highly popular, thanks to its diverse water landscapes, from serene lakes in Bavaria to the challenging rapids of the Rhine.

Germans prize outdoor activities, and kayaking offers a perfect blend of adventure and communion with nature. The country hosts numerous kayaking competitions and has a strong community of enthusiasts, fostering a vibrant paddling culture.

#6 France

anonymous, Canoe-kayak-marathon, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY-SA 3.0

France’s extensive network of rivers and coastlines provides a paradise for kayakers. The French Riviera and the rapids in the Alps are particularly beloved by paddlers.

The presence of kayaking in the French ethos is further solidified by its inclusion in their physical education programs. Paddling sports are part of many French peoples’ lives, making it a key leisure activity.

#7 United Kingdom

Sea Kayaking by Anne Burgess, Sea Kayaking – geograph.org.uk – 4944976, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY-SA 2.0

In the United Kingdom, kayaking is woven into the fabric of outdoor activities, with its vast network of canals, rivers, and rugged coastlines offering paddling adventures for all skill levels.

The British Canoeing Association reflects the country’s commitment to the sport, providing support and organization. Kayaking here is an accessible and cherished pastime, embraced in both competitive and recreational forms.

#8 Norway

Øystein BjørkeBrandsetelvi 3, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY-SA 4.0

Kayaking in Norway offers some of the most stunning paddling experiences, with its vast fjords, coastal archipelagos, and numerous rivers. The sport is both a popular recreational activity and a mode of exploring the pristine natural landscapes of Norway.

From sea kayaking along the Norwegian coast to whitewater kayaking on its challenging rivers, the sport caters to a range of skills and preferences. Norway also hosts various kayaking courses and expeditions, promoting safe and environmentally conscious paddling.

#9 Sweden

Foto: Stefan Brending, Lizenz: Creative Commons by-sa-3.0 de2022 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships – Erik Holmer – Sweden – by 2eight – 9SC1976, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE

Sweden’s extensive coastline and thousands of lakes make it an ideal destination for kayaking enthusiasts. The Swedish right of public access (“Allemansrätten”) allows paddlers to explore most waterways freely, making kayaking a popular way to enjoy the outdoors and the country’s natural beauty.

Sea kayaking is particularly popular in the Stockholm archipelago and along the west coast, where organized tours and rentals are available. Sweden also has a vibrant competitive kayaking scene, with clubs and associations offering training for sprint and slalom kayaking.

#10 Austria

Foto: Stefan Brending, Lizenz: Creative Commons by-sa-3.0 de2022 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships – Mario Leitner – Austria – by 2eight – 9SC7312, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE

Austria might be landlocked, but its numerous rivers and lakes offer superb opportunities for kayaking. The country is renowned for its whitewater kayaking, with rivers in the Austrian Alps providing some of the best rapids in Europe.

Places like the Ötztal Valley are hotspots for both beginners and experienced paddlers. Austria hosts several kayaking schools and clubs that offer courses and trips, and it organizes national and international kayaking competitions, particularly in slalom and sprint races.

#11 Slovenia

NiksySoča in Slovenia 2015 3, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC0 1.0

Slovenia is a hidden gem for kayaking in Europe, known for its beautiful rivers like the Soča and the Krka, which are perfect for both scenic tours and challenging whitewater experiences. The emerald waters of the Soča River are particularly famous in the kayaking community for their beauty and the thrilling rapids they offer.

Slovenia’s commitment to outdoor sports is evident in its well-developed infrastructure for kayaking, including numerous rental facilities, guided tour services, and a strong culture of water sports. The country also regularly hosts international kayaking competitions, drawing paddlers from around the world.

Kayaking

FAQ

Which country is kayaking played the most?

Kayaking is played the most in the United States, where it is a popular recreational activity and competitive sport, with a vibrant community and widespread access to diverse waterways.

Which country watches kayaking the most?

The United States watches Kayaking the most, due to its large number of enthusiasts and the prevalence of Kayaking in the country’s sporting events and outdoor lifestyle programming.

Where was kayaking originally played?

Kayaking was originally played in the Arctic regions by the Inuit, Aleut, and Yup’ik peoples. For more detail, see our Kayaking history article, which explores the evolution from its indigenous origins to modern sports.

Meet Rev, one of our dedicated team members who embodies the essence of sports passion. When he’s not immersed in the world of sports content creation, Rev is busy honing his skills in esports and exploring the great outdoors through activities like hiking and basketball.

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