Common Whitewater Canoeing Mistakes & How To Avoid Them

The sport of whitewater canoeing involves many various situations where, if handled incorrectly, could lead to serious injury or worse. By making sure not to make the same mistakes yourself, you are sure to be one step ahead the next time whitewater canoeing is on the to-do list.

One of the worst mistakes that many novice whitewater canoeists make is thinking that it is correct to change paddling sides to help steer the canoe. You want to keep the sides of the paddle consistent in order to get a good flow with the moving body of water.

Another widely misunderstood concept of whitewater canoeing is that you should bury the blade completely under the water when making your strokes. Having the blade be completely under the surface of the water will help guide the boat more efficiently and make sure that you are getting the most out of your paddling.

Some other words of advice to correct common mistakes of whitewater canoeing are: when moving toward a turn, do NOT heel the hull of the canoe into the direction of the turn; when paddling in a tandem or solo paddling, make sure to rudder at the end of a power stroke; hold the paddle vertical when doing a power stroke; and finally, having the grip be outside of the gunwale.

Whether you are solo paddling or paddling as part of a tandem, make sure that you are using good stroke techniques as well as incorporating the mechanics listed above. Not following some of the most basic rules of whitewater canoeing will lead to an inability to effectively manage tough conditions, such as big drops or rushing water. Adhering to good, strict principles will keep you safe and help you become a more accomplished whitewater canoeist no matter the type of situation.