Canoeing can be a wonderful pastime, but it is not always as easy as it looks! The first time you rent a canoe and head out on the water, you may feel a bit unsteady or be unsure of how to steer. Before long, you will get the hang of it and have a great time on the water. The tips below will help you out during your first canoe experience.
1. Keep your body steady.
The most important thing to remember as you row is to keep your body steady. You can move your arms as you paddle, but try to keep your arms independent from the rest of your body so your core stays in the same place with as little movement as possible. Many beginner canoe rowers try to put their back and core into the paddling motion, and this ends with the boat rocking from side to side uncomfortably.
2. Paddle from side to side.
There are a few different paddling techniques that you can learn when you become a more advanced canoe rider, but when you are first starting out, the best approach is to row one stroke on the left, and then one stroke on the right. Keep switching from side to side. This will keep you going straight ahead. When you want to turn, paddle repeatedly on the same side—opposite the direction you want to turn. For instance, if you want to turn left, keep paddling on the right.
3. Keep your paddle vertical.
You should be reaching straight down with your paddle so that its pushing perpendicular to the surface of the water. It's really tempting to go in on an angle, but this does not generate as much force and will result in you working really hard -- but not going very far. Just remind yourself every few strokes that your shaft should be perpendicular to the water.
4. Wear your life preserver.
Water is unpredictable, and many first-time canoe riders end up capsizing. Make sure you wear your life jacket, and your capsizing experience will only be a minor annoyance, rather than a serious, life-threatening experience. You will get used to the life preserver faster than you think; before long you won't realize it is there.
For more tips, reach out to local canoe rental services such as Tennessee River Blueway. They can let you know what has worked for previous clients.