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Trail Tips: Paddling

Easy Does It

1. Kneel in the canoe, wedge your knees against the sides of the craft and rest your weight against a thwart or the front edge of a seat.

2. Work as a team with your partner, paddling in unison on opposite sides of the canoe.

3. Strokes should be steady and light. Use the strong muscles of your shoulders and back.

4. Keep your eyes on your destinations. This will help keep your line of travel straight, and you’ll use less energy.


feathering.jpgTurn the blade flat (parallel with the surface of the water) as you move it forward out of the water. You can feather your paddle underwater, too, by turning the blade sidways. Feathering cuts wind and water resistance.

Forward Strokeforward-stroke.jpg

With one hand on the grip and the other on the shaft near where it meets the blade, dip the full length of the blade into the water. Pull with our lower arm, push with the upper one, and draw the paddle through the water parallel to the canoe.


Begin lie a forward stroke, but when the paddle is even with the hip, rotate it so the edge of the blade nearest the canoe turns back and out, forming a “J”. This helps keep the craft on course.


backstroke.jpgStorm on the brades by pushing the blade forward until it breaks the surafce, then feather it back and stroke again. Throw your shoulders and back into this one-it requires some power.


To rotate the canoe toward your paddle, pull with the lower hand, push with the upper one, and slip the blade out sideways (feathering it underwater) to begin the next stroke.


This stroke rotates your canoe away from your paddle. Slip the blade into the water next to the canoe and push it away.

7 Comments on Trail Tips: Paddling

  1. Crazy boy // May 10, 2013 at 8:35 am // Reply

    We go canoing every year with the men from are church we’ve never been first know I have some tips lol

  2. Good information!!

  3. Those are some very good tips!

  4. thats alot of stuff

  5. Good site!

  6. Nathaniel // June 8, 2007 at 9:41 pm // Reply

    Great tips!

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