Paddling around in a canoe is one of the most pleasurable experiences you can undertake. As you glide on the water almost soundlessly, you can take full advantage of the fantastic scenery as it slowly goes past. It is almost like being at one with nature and is a wonderful way to spend some quality time with your family or friends.
Canoeing is fairly easy to master, there are five basic strokes that you must learn, and these should be enough to get you going with your new pastime. Perhaps when you start you should paddle with a partner as this is the easiest way to learn, but here are the five strokes you must learn.
The Draw Stroke
When you want to change direction of the canoe then you must use the draw stroke. To do this reach out as far as you can with the shaft hand and submerge the paddle. As you do this push the gripping hand outwards while pulling the shaft hand towards you. It will move the canoe in the direction that you are paddling.
The Pry Stroke
Basically, this is the opposite of the draw stroke, and is a way to move the canoe away from the paddling side. Firstly, place the paddle into the water so it is parallel to the canoe, try and get it as close to the boat as possible even a little bit under the canoe is good. Your gripping hand should reach out as far as possible, pull in with the grip hand while at the same time push out with the shaft hand.
This stroke is commonly used by solo canoeists, or those that sit in the stern of the boat. The reason you would use this stroke is to keep the boat going straight whilst you are going forward. It does not replace the forward stroke but should be used as necessary. Basically, the stroke is as it sounds, because you trace a letter J in the water on the left hand side. It is basically the same as a forward stroke but at the end the blade returns to the back of your body. On the port side you turn the blade clockwise.
The Forward Stroke
The most common stroke that you will use in canoeing is the forward stroke, and it is done by reaching forward with both hands placing the paddle in the water. Then draw the paddle back in a straight line, twisting your torso as you complete the stroke. When you are ready for the next stoke withdraw the paddle from the water and repeat the action.
The Back Stroke
The back stroke is the reverse of the forward stroke, simply reach back as far as you can with both hands then pull forward in a straight line. Again, feather the blade out of the water when you are ready for the next stroke. This stroke is to move the boat backwards, or to slow the boat down if you are going too fast. With these five strokes in your armory then you are ready to go canoeing.