Solo Paddling — Examples

Some Classic Canadian Style Canoeing

Canadian Style canoeing has its roots paddling more traditional tandem canoes solo in controlled and flowing maneuvers. Because larger canoes are used in this discipline the canoe is paddled on one side and it is tilted, or heeled, to make reaching the water easier. Heeling the canoe also shortens the water line making it easier to control the larger canoes when paddling alone. The canoeist sits relatively still moving the canoe around their position. Because of the width of tripping canoes cross strokes are rarely used. Practitioners of Canadian Style canoeing typically use a paddle with a short shaft and a long narrow ottertail style blade.

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My camera very kindly auto adjusts the contrast/brightness - my canoe is too white.
Images reduced from the original 720p to save space.

'Life' - this clip was the first practice run of a very basic routine representing the passage of time through life. It is slow and there are a few goofs.

'Circles' - a basic set of circles and pivots. Not to exciting but another simple routine.

Virtually any canoe can be used for Style canoeing, in particular Canadian Style. When demonstrating style paddling I usually use my Bluewater prospector and many people assume that you need a 'special' canoe. I figured I would add a couple of clips using my 17 foot Grumman to demonstrate that larger wide canoes can be used - in fact the canoes that I first used for style paddling were 17/18' Grumman and Alumacraft boats. It was only later that I started using other canoes. Unfortunately my camera really wanted to focus on the water closer to the shore (lesson learned).

Some other clips and information elsewhere on this site:


Some Basic American Freestyle Moves

American Freestyle Canoeing or Advanced Quietwater Paddling Technique is often also called obedience training for the canoe or canoe dance, some people equate it to figure skating on water, I think of it as more akin to dressage. Unlike Canadian Style canoeing this technique uses many expressive static strokes with minimal slow cadence strokes between. Since many cross strokes are used smaller narrower canoes are the norm in this paddling discipline. The canoeist is active and visible in this form of paddling. Because of the lower paddling cadence and static strokes a Freestyle paddle has a large blade and longer shaft.

Practitioners of interpretative Freestyle (competition) expect turning manoeuvres to be at least 180 degrees. My use of Freestyle is more in line with paddling in the field - turns should be clearly identified, sweeping and under control. I am not a stickler for 180 degree or more rotation, unless the routine your are doing requires it, but I do like to see control. If you watch YouTube videos you might get the idea that AFS is all about canoe dance and music - really it is about control and efficiency. Paddling to music might help but it is not necessary.

Various Style Paddling

I have recorded a few short clips that include some AFS moves. There is much better material appearing on the web done by the likes Marc Ornstein, Kim Gass, and Mark Maier. A lot of the material is competition video done to music but there is some stellar educational material as well.

The following clips show some progressions - these were not meant to be perfect but provide a progression from a more Canadian style turn to a more AFS style turn.