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Youth in a big canoe.
Photo credit: Priscilla Haskin

Advanced Big Canoe Leader Skills

Discipline: Canoeing Program: Big Canoe Stream: Skills Development

The Advanced Big Canoe Leader Skills introduces paddlers to new challenges to move a big canoe in tight areas.

Students will thoroughly enjoy maximizing the tilt of the canoe to their offside edge while not only moving forward but backwards. Each student will not only learn these advanced skills from the stern but also how each position will expand their strokes to assist in making more dynamic and complex manoeuvres.

Students will also expand their knowledge about paddling these canoes in moderate windy conditions as well as grow in confidence and experience the true stability and power of the big canoe.

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Course Overview

Typical Course Length

12 hours of instruction.

Course Topics

Safety and Rescue
  • Rescues (swimmer assists & multiple canoes)
  • Paddler positions in wind
  • Group dynamics
  • Transport Canada regulations
  • Safe canoe procedures like filing a float plan
  • Signals among multiple canoes like whistles and paddles
  • Communication devices
  • Transport Canada Guided Excursion Regulations
  • Paddle Canada Requirements
General Paddling Skills
  • Enter and exit a canoe: dock/shoreline
  • Offside tilts and commanding a crew
  • Performance paddling
Paddle Strokes
  • Forward and reverse strokes
  • Check (stop)
  • Draw and pry
  • Forward sweep stern only
  • Reverse sweep stern only
  • Low brace
  • Drop skeg
  • Optional strokes for the bow position like draws and pry's
  • Preparatory and immediate calls
  • Grouping of crew positions and roles
  • Advanced commands
  • Forward and reverse straight lines
  • Switching sides while under power
  • Pivots (crew: pry’s and draws)
  • Forward/reverse carved turns (offside tilts)
  • Precision docking
  • Side slipping
  • Shift (side slipping under power)
  • Standing for scouting
  • Risk management
  • Paddling within your ability
  • Paddlesmart
  • Leave No Trace principles
  • Where to go from here (paddle courses and resources)
Course Prerequisites
  • Certification
    • Intermediate Lake Tandem Canoe, or
    • Intermediate Big Canoe Leader Skills
  • First Aid
    • Current Standard First Aid or Wilderness First Aid (location dependent)