Intro and Advanced instructional videos see download
Keep things simple
I think simplicity, the economy of movement while paddling is important, this entails
using leverage instead of brute strength to move the canoe. A
student recently told me he suffered back pain and was trying to build up his
weaker muscles, and he was surprised that there was no hint of muscle fatigue or
spasm while taking my two-hour paddling lesson.
Break old habits
I find that experienced canoeists may have to overcome muscle memory when learning
new strokes. Try changing to your less familiar paddling side. This way the strokes feel brand new and there are not as many old habits to slip into.
Enjoy your surroundings
The surroundings where I paddle are important too. My classes are not just a technical
stroke session, I encourage my students to stop and look at their
surroundings and respect and appreciate our natural environment.
Practice is good
I recommend that new and seasoned canoeist's practice in a safe comfortable environment,
be it a small lake or sheltered bay.
Yes to comfort
Above all else, I like to stress comfort while paddling. This includes both
physical and psychological comfort. If a student can't kneel we find a happy
medium perhaps they sit on the seat with one leg stretched out utilizing the
3 point stabilization technique. If we are cold we put an other layer on and
have a rain coat handy. It's Murphy's law if you have a raincoat within
reaching distance in your canoe it probably won't rain or for very long.
Researching your paddling trip
There are endless resources for researching a trip, from blogs and websites
to books and magazines the information out there is astonishing. But I do have my
favourites and the following is a short list of a few that I find
myself returning to regularly.
On line paddling resources
When I want to get inspired about where to go or search out
a route I first go to the
Canadian Canoe Routes.
I can spend hours happily puttering around reading the forums on trips people have taken and
what's happening in the Canadian canoeing community.
For Uk or Europe trips I think the
Song of the Paddle
is swell. And for the USA
is good too. Here are some Canadian ones that are fun to pour over too. Here
are a few.
Outdoor Adventure Canada
Some great guide books
After I've narrowed my choice down to where I'm going, the next stop is getting
a handy dandy routes guide book. I love tripping on lakes and rivers
and I plan my trips around that wish. I know it sounds old fashioned to
want to have a book but it is really nice to have it along to read in the
evening in the tent. I usually go to
Kevin Callan's site
to see what book titles and videos he has available on the specific trip.
Before my trip I always review what
Hap Wilson's guide books
I have in my collection. He's been producing guide books for many years.
For many of his books he does beautiful drawings for each route and they are fun to follow.
I do like travelling with the
Chrismar's Adventure MapsŪ
too because along with the map they put lots of wonderful notes to enjoy on their
One of my favourite newsletter is
, a quarterly magazine devoted to the wilderness tripper and slanted towards
extended northern trips. I always enjoy reading Canoeroots mag. and they
have many other fine Mag covering all our paddling sports by
Canoeing North into the Unknown by Gwyneth Hoyle and Bruce Hodgins is an
excellent historical reference for northern trips as it details those who
have gone before us on these rivers that flow to the Arctic. It's remarkable
to see how much traffic these remote wilderness rivers have seen over the
years. Back issues of magazines are great too.
The book Canoe Atlas of The Little North
is an excellent choice for route planning
because it is a one of the kind reference tool for a vast area. Jon
Berger (one of the authors) read my guide book picks above and he says "
- the Atlas has no subjective slant - as
is the case with the many trip reports on the sites you cite.- Narratives -
inevitably - let the bias of the observer creep in - and this is no help for
folks looking for a route - or scouting moving water- in both situations-
the senses of the scout have to be tuned in - not affected by other's
accounts- invariably inaccurate- .Jon is entitled to his opinion
but I still like and think it's important to cross reference various people's opinions and
experiences on a specific route. I really do like to hear where the raspberry and blueberry patches are
and do look forward to finding them on a trip. I find it interesting to read
about various mishaps that have gone before me and when I'm on the spot
where they have occurred I try to puzzle out why they happened and then try
to avoid the same mistake. There are places in the wilderness that have an
unexplainable bad vibe to them. I suppose for a lack of a better word
cursed. It's happened more times I can remember that I've probably avoided
a bad experience because I've read beforehand that something
repeatedly has happened in a specific area. Something to think