If paddling down the river in a canoe feels more like a battle than a beautiful day on the water, let BOC’s Mike and Rhonda Mills boost your canoeing confidence skills. In our latest videos, you’ll learn simple, yet game-changing ways to make your paddling time on the Buffalo National River the joy it’s intended to be!
The Right Way to Hold a Canoe Paddle
Right off the bat, you can usually tell if someone is new to canoeing if they are holding their paddle in a choke grip: two hands wrapped tightly around the upper part of your paddle. Not only does this limit your forward stroke power, but it keeps you from being able to make small corrections to your canoe.
There’s a simple solution to this! Remove one of those hands from its death grip and place it on top of the paddle on the T-Grip. This gives you the flexibility you need to adjust the course of your boat as needed, in addition to freeing up your other arm’s full power. Rhonda goes over three such course correction movements briefly in the video above.
How to Keep Your Canoe Straight
Beyond little corrections, your strokes also control whether you flat smoothly down the river or end up crossways or backward – not a place you want to be!
J-Stroke and Power Pry
A J-Stroke is when the power face of the paddle (the side with a concave curve) is facing outward at the end of the stoke, and a Power Pry is when it’s facing inward toward the boat. Both of these are powerful strokes meant to get you headed in the direction you want to go.
Once you get the boat moving, especially if you’re canoeing downstream, you may not even need to propel the boat forward – but that doesn’t mean your job is done! By dipping the head of the paddle into the water towards the back of your canoe, you can use it as a rudder to direct the tip of your canoe in the direction you need to go. Simply move your paddle left or right depending on which way you need to go.