The Introductory course provides the foundation for Style canoeing. Basic core skills will be covered and the ability to paddle in precisely controlled manoeuvres will be developed. At this level candidates must be able to complete the core skills and open water manoeuvres on one paddling side; they should also be encouraged to attempt the skills on both sides.
Ratios for Style Canoeing Program
Maximum ratio of one instructor to six students (1:6)
Minimum time required to complete each course Introduction: 8 hours (2 days will be required if the participant does not have the required Basic Canoe and Solo Skills)
Participants should expect to practice at least two additional hours for every hour of instruction time. Instructors may want to include this time as part of the course (e.g. Intermediate Style Canoeing would become a three day course). Courses should be run over multiple days, or weeks, allowing time to practice manoeuvres, and/or develop and choreograph routines.
Since Style canoeing focuses primarily on canoe control on quiet water only a small area is required. A pool, sheltered pond, or small lake with 50m open water is usually adequate – larger groups may require more space. The water should be deep (1.5m or more) and free of obstructions or weeds allowing the deep paddle placement required of many of the strokes used in Style canoeing.
Style canoeing requires good flexibility and often uses paddling positions/movements that may stress muscles and joints. A proper warm-up and cool-down is critical before and after any Style paddling to prevent injury.
Excellent balance is a required skill in all style paddling as the canoe is often edged or tipped to the point that the gunwale touches the water, body placement may even be shifted outside of the canoe and supported by a strong brace. Participants should be encouraged to participate in other activities that require good core strength and balance (e.g. Yoga, trail riding, Tai Chi, kneeling or standing on a Pilates ball, standing on one foot [with eyes closed], ballet or other dance, skiing (cross country, downhill, telemark), sit-ups/crunches/fishies, etc... and actually canoeing)
Boat and Paddle
Style canoeing takes its history and development from paddling traditional tandem lake and tripping canoes; the program reflects this heritage. The traditional canoe used for Canadian Style paddling is a symmetrical tandem boat with some rocker, soft chines, central thwart or yoke, and slightly rounded bottom.
American Freestyle usually uses smaller solo canoes with no centre thwart.
Core skills, Manoeuvres, Routines
A core skill is a simple motion (e.g. straight line or pivot) that is held over a defined distance or period of time. Core skills are the very basic foundation of all Style canoeing, in this program there is a defined criterion for each skill that must be completed. There are two levels of core skills identified in this program: simple motions such as straight lines and pivots; and more complex or compound skills that involve two or more basic movements such as turns which include both a line and arc or pivot.
Manoeuvres are core skills (e.g. pivot) and their associated extensions (line pivots) that are completed in open water without markers or criteria – manoeuvres allow students to show individual expression and style.
Routines are a series of smoothly interconnected manoeuvres on open water that allow the canoeist to display control over the canoe and personal style and interpretation. The transition between one manoeuvre and the next is just as important as the manoeuvre itself – transitions should be intentional and controlled.
At each level assessment is based on the completion of core skills within the identified criteria, open water manoeuvres, and routines. Although paddling strokes are taught within each level assessment is primarily based on the movement and control of the canoe in routines rather than execution of specific strokes.
The end point of style paddling is open water manoeuvres and routines. Assessment of core skills with buoys and/or a dock is used only to show the level of boat control needed during more open water displays and must not be the focus or end point of the skills in this program. Instructors and candidates may choose not to use markers at all for this reason.
Individuals entering the Introductory Style canoeing course must have at least the Paddle Canada Introduction to Lake Solo or be paddling at an equivalent level at the discretion of the instructor (e.g. old Paddle Canada Flatwater D certification, ORCKA Basic Level 4 solo, ORCKA Style Paddling Level 2 (solo), ACA Freestyle level 1). Entry into the course without the prerequisite skills will mean an extra day of instruction. There is some degree of overlap between the skills required in other Paddle Canada paddling programs but the focus on control and routines make this stream different and challenging.
INTRO Core Level Requirements:
Core Skills (corridor/length/yaw)
Safety and Rescue
MORE COMING SOON