Basics of Canoeing

Following the KISS principle I have always wanted to make things easier, and more straightforward [to learn]. Back when I was first starting to learn how to canoe my instructors insisted on us knowing (properly executing and identifying) something in the order of 150 paddle strokes and 20, or more, basic maneuvers. Even after many years this still seems excessive and overwhelming. When teaching canoe skills I now try to boil down the skills into a very basic set of concepts and skills. I don't want to imply that the basics are all that are needed but If you understand the basic concepts and how they are applied then expanding on the skills, alone or in combination, is easier.

Three Points of Rotation

pivot points

When paddling one of the one of the most important concepts to consider is where and how you are placed in the canoe and the influence of the corresponding pivot points. Balance in all facets of canoeing is important.

Consider:

Two Maneuvers

I realize that many paddlers (and instructors) think that everthing can be boiled down to just an arc. A large arc is a straight line, small arc is a pivot. This line of thought is just a little too simple for me, I have expanded into two basic maneuvers. These two basic moves are at the opposite ends of the spectrum - pivots stay in one place, straight lines move the canoe. In combination these moves can make circles, curves, arcs, lines.

Just as a clarification any time the pivot point of the canoe moves in a straight line, without rotation around the point, the mannoever is a straight line. Thus a line can have the canoe facing forward, backward, sideways, or even at 45 degree angle. Through a combination of a line and a pivot you can have pinwheels, circles, line pivots, etc...

Four Strokes

Use these four 'strokes', keeping in mind the forces needed to move around the pivot points, to move the canoe through the basic maneuvers. The strokes, alone or when combined together into compound strokes, placed in various locations will provide all of the torque or propulsion necessary for all of your canoeing needs. Again a minimalist would point out there is really only one stroke with the force applied in different directions and places but that is too basic for me.


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Last modified: Sat Feb 19 09:49:04 2011