Running Side Slip

Some time ago I put together some information on side displacement (slip). Most of the material was on direct side displacement, although running sides slips were mentioned briefly. I was corresponding with anther instructor over the last week about running side slips, in particular a distinction between when static strokes and dynamic strokes would be most appropriate. When a fast side slip with a fair bit of side displacement is required (e.g. large object appears - such as a lake monster or alien space ship) use of static strokes is likely more appropriate as it slows the speed of the canoe along with providing significant side displacement. When forward motion is critical (e.g. you are hearing bangos and there is a small deadhead) then a running side slip with dynamic strokes is probably the way to keep ahead.

Running Side Slip with Static Strokes

Static strokes are stationary relative to the canoe with the blade face pitched (15-45°) open toward the front (running draw) or toward the back (running pry). One way to think about the direction of pitch is the leading edge points the direction you want to move. The water moving past the pitched blade provides the draw or pry force. These are easy to execute, fast, and provide a significant side displacement, although they slow the forward motion of the canoe. Depending on how 'open' the pitch is will determine the amount of displacement and loss of forward momentum. This is the 'normal' running side slip that is covered in most courses.

When paddling solo the placement of the blade can sometimes be difficult to work out. If you draw a radial line (straight out from the paddle blade) it should go through the pivot point of of the canoe. This usually means the placement for a draw is behind the paddling position, and the pry in front of the paddling position.

The advantage of static strokes is the ease of use, and the power to move the canoe quickly over a short period of time.

The disadvantage is the canoe must actually be moving for an effective running stroke, and there is no additional forward power provided, the canoe will slow throughout the move. The amount the canoe slows may not be significant for short displacements.

Running Draw & Pry


Running Side Slips (static strokes)


Running Side Slips - A Closer Look

Identification of Centre of Lateral Resistance (

Running Side Slip with Dynamic Strokes

Dynamic strokes using during a side slip will allow a prolonged displacement as well as continuing to move the canoe forward. Off side displacement is done using a short forward stroke followed by either an early J/push away, or by a slicing pitched recovery. Onside displacement starts with a dynamic draw followed by a short forward stroke. On the onside a brief J may be required to maintain a straight line.

Dynamic Running Side Slip using Draw

Dynamic Running Side Slip using Pry

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September 20, 2019