Canoeing Basics

 

There are many canoeing basics to learn. Paddling in a canoe is an excellent form of exercise and it is a versatile way to get around in the water. Canoes are lighter and easier to carry than row boats out of the water and much quieter than a motorboat.

Canoes work best with two people paddling. They can be maneuvered with just one person and they can carry three people, or two people and gear, easily. Most canoes that you would use today have seats in the front and back of the boat, but you can kneel in the bow and stern and paddle comfortably that way as well.

Each person paddles facing the front. The back person acts as the rudder to steer while the front provides more of the power strokes. Each person contributes to the overall movement of the canoe. It is important in a canoe that people work together, or you will wind up spinning in circles, literally!

Canoeing basics include knowing how to paddle correctly. The flat part, or blade, of the paddle should be perpendicular to the water when in the water and parallel to the water when out. Hold the paddle with one hand on the top of the paddle and the other close to the blade. With the blade straight up and down, push the paddle away from your body, dig into the water, pull the blade towards you and behind you for a complete stroke. Canoeing Basics tip: You must be able switch hands while paddling as just paddling on just one side will cause you to spin in circles.

If you put the paddle into the water behind you and push the paddle forward, the boat will travel backwards. It is usually best when paddling with two people to paddle on opposite sides of the boat. When paddling you must focus on where you want to travel, as it is easy to waste motion if you are not travelling in a straight line. The best practice is to focus on a far off point and paddle towards that.