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1. How to Paddle a Canoe

The Paddle: Place your upper hand over the top grip. With your lower hand, grip the shaft about a foot above the blade/shaft intersection. Remember holding the shaft closer to the blade only makes you work harder with each stroke.

The Power Stroke: A strong stroke is the fundamental tool of canoeing. To begin rotate your torso so that your paddle-side shoulder is forward. At the same time, plant your blade in the water up to the blade/shaft intersection. The blade should be kept close to the boat, with its inside edge just touching the side of the canoe. The shaft should be vertical. Your strongest stroke will utilize the full forward range of your torso/shoulder rotation, yet keep the shaft absolutely vertical. Your stroke ends when your torso rotation brings the paddle back to your hip. Paddle recovery is now a straight-forward matter: rotate your torso to put your paddle-side shoulder forward while bringing the paddle over the water surface to begin the next stroke.

The Efficient Stroke: The thrust of your stroke is achieved by rotating your torso rather than pulling with your arms. Using your torso muscles distributes the work to many muscles rather than a few, making your stroke both powerful and efficient. The results: more forward thrust and less fatigue.

2. How to Paddle a Kayak

The Paddle: Place your hands on the paddle shaft a little further apart than shoulder width. As a guide, hold your arms out to the sides then bend them to 90 degrees at the elbow. This is about how far your hands should be from each other as you grasp the paddle. Remember you only want to hold the paddle, not choke it. Over grip can tire your arms. You may notice some paddlers using off-set or feathered blades rather than blades that are on the same plane. Feathered blades are sometimes used to lessen wind resistance, but are largely a matter of personal preference. For beginners a straight blade arrangement is easiest.

The Paddler: Sit all the way back in the cockpit of your kayak. Careful adjustment will make your backrest a comfortable aid in maintaining proper body position. Also adjust your foot braces before you leave the shore. To properly adjust foot braces on a sit-on-top kayak, straighten your legs all the way then bring them in one foot well. On a sit-inside kayak, foot brace adjustment should provide a snug fit for your knees and thighs. The fit will depend on the paddler and the kayak bracing system. Remember if your legs are too straight, you may strain your lower back.

The Power Stroke: The basic paddle technique is a forward stroke. Place the blade in the water near your toes. Pull the blade back alongside the kayak approximately to your hip–a better way to think of it is pulling the kayak up to the blade. Lift the paddle and perform the same move on the other side. To turn the kayak, use a wide sweep stroke on one side. The bow will swing away from the stroke.

The Efficient Stroke: For greater efficiency use your torso and shoulders to paddle, not just your arms. Make sure to sit up straight to avoid straining your back. There are many paddling techniques you can use–check out books, videos, our website, Paddling TV or get kayak instruction to learn more.

3. Choosing a Canoe Paddle

Blade size, shape and materials vary depending on the type of paddling; whitewater, river or flatwater. Main considerations are weight, comfort, durability and cost.

BOW PADDLE: Bow paddling requires shorter more frequent strokes, a shorter paddle is suggested. As a general rule, a bow paddle should measure from the ground to the middle of the chest of a standing paddler.

STERN PADDLE: Stern paddling requires longer strokes, as well as maneuvering and steering the canoe, a longer paddle is suggested. As a general rule, a stern paddle should measure from the ground to the collar bone of a standing paddler.

4. how to re-enter a kayak

Kayak Re-Entry

There are a variety of ways to get back on a sit-on-top kayak. One process seems to be particularly easy for most people. It was developed by Mark Olson, a representative for Ocean Kayak and is called Bellybutton, Backside, Feet or BBF.

STEP 1: 

If the boat is upside down, it will need to be turned over. To do this, reach across the bottom of the boat and grab the scupper holes.

Bring your knees up and onto the bottom of the boat. Lean back and the boat will roll over.

STEP 2: 

Position yourself so your head is near the cockpit area of the boat and you are facing the boat. Let your feet float to the surface of the water by floating on your bellybutton.

Reach across the boat to the far edge and then swim up and onto the boat, so your bellybutton is across the centerline of the boat. (Your belly should be between the foot wells and the seat.)

STEP 3: 

Roll over onto your backside which should end up in the seat. Sit up, swing your feet into the foot wells and you're ready to go.

5. How should I transport my kayak and canoe?

Factory installed roof racks and reputable aftermarket racks can be padded for scratch prevention. Be aware of roof rack weight ratings, and make sure you have the correct rack for your canoe.  Foam block canoe carriers are sold on our online Accessories store. Whichever type of carrier you use, be sure to tie 2 belly straps and front and rear guide ropes for stability when transporting your canoe. Pls confirm our kayak and canoe racks in the accessories.