Top tips for paddling a canoe

Looking for a way of getting your family all together on the water? Then the canoe is for you! They are traditional by design and adaptable to many different adventures.

If it’s your first time paddling a canoe, there are a few things you should know before you head out. To save you time trawling through the internet, we’ve put all those useful hints and tips in one article… ta da!

7 tips for paddling a canoe

  1. Balance the boat. The best way to find your balance point is to sit in the boat and get a feel for it. Move around, see how the canoe reacts and learn from it. Generally, the balance point will be around the middle of the canoe.
  2. Look to the future, where are you wanting to go? When you’re paddling, choose a point to aim for and follow your nose. If you look where you’re heading, the canoe will follow.
  3. Start in first gear like you’re driving a car. Small, delicate strokes will help to get the boat moving under control. Once you’re comfortable in first, work through the gears to build up power.
  4. Don’t let your belly go to jelly. Keep tension across your core;  it will help you sit up and transfer the effort from your arms to your chest.
  5. Opposites attract. Even the best canoeists use the other side to get the boat to where they want to be. Don’t get hung up on always paddling on one side. Swap sides occasionally and see how the canoe reacts.
  6. Steer at the rear. Once the paddle is past you it is not pushing you forwards, but it can help point you where you want to go. Use it like a rudder and experiment to see how to canoe turns on different sides.
  7. Go with the flow. Let the boat run between the strokes. You don’t have to be paddling frantically all the time!  

Don’t forget, the best way to learn is to do it. If you’re not confident enough to head out on your own, take a look at Paddle Awards to get you started on your canoeing journey!

This article was first published on the Go Paddling. Read more about getting into paddling on the Go Paddling website here.