How to Canoe | 3 Key Strokes All Paddlers Should Know

This episode of Paddle TV is brought to
you by the ACA—improving the paddlesports experience for over a century.
Learn more at American canoe dot-org One of the reasons canoeing is such a
popular activity is that as long as you stick to small calm bodies of water and
stay close to shore, you can throw on a lifejacket, hop into a canoe and go for a
paddle without having received any formal instruction. That being said,
taking the time to learn a few key canoe strokes will make you a more competent
paddler and make you safer on the water, because you’ll be more equipped to deal
with wind and waves which can play havoc on inexperienced canoers. And so in this
video, we’re gonna look at three key strokes that will dramatically improve
your paddling competency. The first stroke we’re going to talk about is the
J stroke. The J stroke is the form of a forward stroke that allows you to keep
the boat going straight while you paddle. On one side of the canoe, the J stroke
starts like a normal forward stroke but once your paddle shaft is alongside your
knee you’ll twist your top control hands thumb forward and down while you pull
the same hand inward. While doing this, your lower shaft hand stays still and
acts as a pivot so that as your top hand pulls inward, the paddle blade is prying
water away from the stern of the canoe, which counters the natural turning
effect of the forward stroke. This prying action will only be effective if you’ve
twisted your top control hand enough so that the blade is parallel to the side
of the boat while doing so. The next essential canoe stroke we’ll talk about
is the draw stroke. The draw stroke is used to move a canoe sideways, or in
tandem, it can be used to spin a canoe around if both paddlers use it on opposite sides. The draw stroke is a key maneuvering stroke when launching, landing, and a great positioning stroke
when performing a rescue. The draw stroke begins with the paddle positioned to the
side of the canoe adjacent to your hip, with your arms extended and your torso
rotated to face the paddle. The more vertical you get your paddle, the
more effective the stroke will be. Now with the blade
planted deeply in the water, pull it towards your body. The stroke ends before the paddle hits the side of the canoe and there are two ways to finish the
stroke. The easy finish is to slice the paddle out of the water towards the
stern. The more advanced and fluid technique involves twisting your top
control hand thumb away from you to rotate the paddle 90 degrees, you can
then slice your paddle blade through the water back out to where it started. You
can then twist your blade back into position and take another draw stroke.
The last stroke we’re going to talk about has two variations—the stern draw
and the stern pry. These are key strokes for solo canoers and for the person at
the back of a tandem canoe, because they represent the best way to initiate turns
or for keeping the boat going straight. The stern pry starts with your paddle
flat against the side of the canoe at the stern, with your lower shaft hand
resting on the gunnel just behind the hip and your top control hand reaching
across the canoe. With your blade fully immersed, you’ll pull your top control
hand inward, while your lower shaft hand stays on the gunnel acting as a pivot
point for the pry. The stern draw is used to turn your canoe in the opposite
direction. The idea is to pull water directly to
the stern of your canoe and this is done by planting your paddle blade behind you
and away from the side of the canoe. To take the stroke, you’ll push your top control hand across the canoe while you pull your lower shaft hand back and towards
the stern of the canoe. Just make sure to lift the blade out of the water before
it hits your canoe, where it can get pinned and throw you off balance. Well I
hope you found this video helpful and if you enjoyed it, please subscribe to our
Paddle TV YouTube channel for more tips and tricks.

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