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Canoeing is a fun activity that you can practice with family and friends or on your own. For some people, this type of paddling is a way to relax and connect with nature, away from the hustle and bustle of crowded cities. If you are the type of person who prefers to go on water trips by themselves, read on for a few tips on how to solo canoe like a professional.
Pick a good solo canoe
Having a good solo canoe will make your life easier because the seat in these canoes is in the middle. The position of the seat distributes the weight equally among the two halves of the canoe. This makes for effortless balancing and ultimately makes the boat more stable.
Take a look at this Old Town Canoe Discovery 119 Solo Sportsman Canoe if you want a high-quality solo canoe.
Paddling in a tandem canoe
If you don’t want to go out of your way to purchase a solo canoe when you already have a two-person one, you can follow this simple trick:
Flip the opposite ends of the canoe before you get into it. The former bow should be the stern now, while the former stern should be the current bow. Sit on the new stern seat (old bow seat) while facing the new bow. You will notice how this seat is almost in the middle of the boat, helping you be more balanced.
If you still need to stabilize the boat, you can simply place your gear and weighty equipment in the front of the canoe (the new bow).
When paddling solo, some people prefer to kneel in the canoe instead of sitting on the seats. This is suitable for paddling in a two-person canoe. If you want to kneel, make sure to use a foam pad to cushion your knees. Keep in mind that you might lose feeling in your lower legs. To prevent this, you can place a spacer between your calves and hips. In doing so, you will open up your knee joints to allow for better blood flow.
Kneel as close to the center of the canoe as you can. This way, you will be more stable, and you won`t have problems with keeping the canoe leveled.
Choosing your paddle
The best type of paddle for solo canoeing is the all-purpose beavertail paddle. When choosing your paddle, we recommend that you go for a longer narrower blade that can be easily maneuvered in the water. You can choose either a double-bladed paddle or a regular canoe paddle with a single blade.
Paddling in a straight line
Keeping your canoe going straight is pretty difficult until you get the hang of it. It is a good idea to use the C-stroke when paddling. It is called this way because your paddle draws the letter “C” in the water.
To execute this stroke, begin with an angled draw that will move your bow slightly to the side your paddling on. Continue with a forward stroke and finish it all off with a pry to push your stern to the opposite side.
Keep in mind that even advanced paddlers can`t make their canoes go perfectly straight. The canoe will always veer to one side or the other. Wind, waves, and currents will only make the process harder, so don`t beat yourself up if you are having difficulties.
Lifting your canoe
Here are a few tips on how to avoid injury when lifting your canoe:
First, step to the center of your canoe. Grab the gunwale closest to you and tilt the canoe up on the opposite gunwale. Bend your knees so that the underside of the canoe is resting on your thighs. Reach over to grasp the yoke and the opposite gunwale with your hands. Now, pull the outer gunwale toward you, while shifting the inner gunwale down to your thigh.
Make sure that your knees are at a 90-degree angle. Start rocking on your toes and heels with your hips to build momentum. Use this momentum to lift your canoe on your head while pivoting your feet. The key to lifting your canoe properly is using your legs instead of your back.
Solo canoeing is a wonderful way to relax in nature and spend some quiet time by yourself. Make sure to be safe and take all of the right equipment with you. With time and effort, you will see your solo canoeing skills improve.