Canoe Strokes


My family loves to go floating. If you’ve never tried it, we can get you started. Most important: always wear a life vest…even if you’re a strong swimmer. Canoes are unstable, so to be safe, stay low…stay in the middle…and don’t move around a lot. Hold the paddle with one hand over the grip, and the other about 6-inches above the blade. Insert the blade near the side of the canoe and dig down until your bottom hand almost touches the water, and sweep back. As the blade leaves the water, flatten it like an airplane wing.

Bring the blade forward…keeping it close to the water…and repeat. To move backwards, reverse the motion. To turn the canoe, use a drawstroke. Insert the paddle out in the water with the flat side facing you. Pull back with your lower hand. Reverse that stroke to turn back. Insert the paddle right next to the canoe and push away with the bottom hand. These are basic beginner strokes. The stern paddler needs to know a variety of strokes to steer…so put the beginner up front.