Golden Rules for Paddling Canoes

Whether you are on a lake, ocean, or another body of water, for fun, sports, or fishing, you should know how to paddle a canoe the right way. Paddling canoes effectively is not as easy as it sounds. It is important to learn how to paddle efficiently, in order to minimize the energy used and to optimize safety. Below are a handful of techniques you can use to successfully paddle a canoe.

Utilize Torso-Rotation Power

Paddling requires powerful upper-body movement to give strength to your strokes. Many people think that only the arms and shoulders are used to paddle, but that’s not the case: the entire upper body is important. The torso acts as a motor, essentially driving your strokes and propelling you forward on the water.

Upper-Lower Body Coordination

Moving a canoe involves twisting the waist, which serves to wind up the entire body. When paddling, for instance, one’s chest never entirely faces the side of the canoe. Your entire body has a role to play. The upper body controls the paddles, and provides the power to move the canoe, while the lower body keeps the vessel stable. The lower body can also be used to tilt the canoe on its side if the need arises.

Hands Where You Can See Them

Your hands should be kept within an area in which you can clearly see them. This will enhance your stroke effectiveness, and keep your arms in a safe and comfortable position. You can keep your hands in a specific area by forming a box shape. When you are holding the paddles, your chest, paddles, and arms should form the shape of a box. With every stroke you make, this box shape should be maintained. You should always rotate your entire body so your arms and hands remain where you can see them.