The most important skill any solo canoeist needs is to be able to control the canoe in all types of weather and water conditions.
Our friends at Happy Paddlin show us a few must-have paddle strokes (whether you prefer a straight shaft or bent shaft paddle) for solo canoeing in this video
The Draw Stroke
The draw stroke (also called sculling draw stroke) is used to move your canoe sideways. It’s like “spreading peanut butter” as you form rainbow shapes in the water back and forth with your paddle blade.
You’ll use the draw stroke anytime you need to pull up alongside the shoreline or another canoe.
The Low Brace
The low brace is an important safety stroke. If you feel yourself starting to capsize, a good low brace will help get you back upright.
You can even combine the low brace with the sweep stroke for tight maneuvers once you have it down.
Propelling Your Canoe Forward in the Straight Line
Getting your canoe to move forward in a straight line—especially a solo canoe—can be challenging.
You can certainly switch sides of the canoe every few strokes to keep yourself as straight as you can. But that gets tiring, especially if you’ll be on the water all day long.
There are a number of strokes you can learn and combine to stay on one side of the canoe and keep that straight forward motion: C stroke, J stroke and even a pry stroke occasionally.
(You’ll see these demonstrated in the video)
The In-Water Return Stroke
You can even keep your blade in the water when you bring it back to the front for your next forward stroke with the in-water return stroke. This is especially helpful when you face a strong headwind.
At the end of your J stroke, keep the blade parallel to your canoe as you bring it forward. The power face will alternate each time you return it to the front.
Practice these strokes in calm, flat water until they’re easy for you. Then when conditions are rougher with current, waves and wind you’ll have no problem paddling your canoe where you want it to go.
Need help choosing a canoe paddle? Contact our Wisconsin-based Customer Service team today: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]
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