If you like to be outdoors and don’t always have a companion to join you or just like the challenge of being in charge of your own canoe, solo canoeing can be a fun hobby. Solo canoes are made for only one person to sit in. They can be made of plastic, fiberglass or aluminum and when used to canoe in white water, will often have air bags in the front and the rear to lessen the volume of water taken on board. The parts of a canoe consist of the hull or the body of the canoe, the deck or front and the rear of the canoe usually topped by pieces of metal or plastic, the seats and the gunnels which are the metal pieces running down the sides of the canoe which help give the canoe its shape and there are usually two wooden or metal support cross bars which also help to give shape to the canoe. The paddle, which is used to maneuver the canoe, has a t-grip at the top that you hold onto, a shaft which supports the paddle and the paddle blade which is used to maneuver the canoe.
Entering and Exiting the Canoe
Entering and exiting a canoe can be tricky as canoes can easily turn over because they are rather unstable crafts. When exiting a canoe, pull up as close to the shore as possible, place one hand on each side of the gunnel, the strip along the top of the canoe’s sides, this hand placement will also help to keep the canoe in balance, stand up in the center of the canoe and then step out onto the shore. To enter a canoe, put your hands on the canoe to keep it steady, slowly step into the center of the canoe, staying low to keep the canoe steady and also, so you don’t fall out of the canoe.
Paddling a Canoe
Forward Stroke: The forward stroke is the one you need to use to get the canoe to go where you want it to go and the forward stroke is a very simple one to learn. Keep both hands on the paddle on one side of the body, place the blade of the paddle into the water at the forward side of the boat, pull the blade along the length of the boat and when you reach the rear of the canoe,turn the blade in a vertical position so that you can use the blade as a rudder to steer the canoe in the direction that you want it to go.
Sweep Stroke: The sweep stroke is a maneuvering stroke where you place the paddle at the front of the canoe keeping the shaft at an angled, almost horizontal position as you place it in the water which allows the canoe to turn in different directions. You can extend the paddle to the stern of the canoe or you can take little sweep strokes dipping the paddle into the water until the boat comes all the way around making a full circle.
Reverse Stroke: The reverse stroke is used to reverse the direction of the canoe. Extend the paddle flat behind the canoe and pull the paddle forward; as you do this, the boat will start to move in a reverse direction. Then turn the paddle vertically to use it as a rudder to help you reverse the boat and determine the direction you want it to go. Remember, paddling should always be at a comfortable pace to help you to stay in control of your canoe and also to keep you centered so that the canoe does not tip over.