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A student learning intermediate canoe poling techniques on the Hammond River, NB with Tim Humes.
Location: Hammond River, New Brunswick. Photo Credit Tim Humes

Introduction to Canoe Poling

Discipline: Canoeing Program: Canoe Poling Stream: Skills Development

Introduction to Canoe Poling introduces a beginner to poling a canoe in calm sheltered waters.

Students will be introduced to the basic poling strokes, canoe balance, walking forward and reverse in a canoe as well as land and water rescue techniques.

Upon completion of the course, students will have the confidence and basic skills to venture out on flat water poling adventures plus motivated to continue his/her learning and aware of his/her individual limitations.

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Course Overview

Typical Course Length

6 - 14 hours of instruction.

Course Topics

Safety and Rescue
  • PFD or lifejacket selection
  • Hypothermia, hyperthermia, hydration
  • Retrieving a swamped canoe
  • Canoe over canoe rescue
  • Parallel rescue
  • Communications
  • Personal gear and comfort
  • Safety gear and boat
  • Equipment requirement
General Skills
  • Entering canoe and canoe launching
  • Standing in the canoe, balance
  • Boat tilt
  • Stopping
  • Kayak stroke
  • Power forward
  • Pole recovery
  • Rudder turn
  • Bottom stern pry
  • Water stern pry
  • Forward and reverse sweep
  • Cross bow draw
  • Stopping
  • Aggressive power turns
  • Reverse power
  • Hand over hand or windmill
  • Pry (bow)
  • How to hold a pole
  • Stroke differences (paddle & pole)
  • Momentum, initiation, tilt & hold (MITH)
  • Canoe trim
  • Entering and exit a canoe
  • Standing hop forward
  • Walking forward/backward in canoe
  • Forward straight line
  • Right and left turns
  • Side slipping
  • Stopping
  • Reverse straight line
  • S turns
  • Pivots
  • Radical turns
  • Poling heritage: traditional, sport/recreation
  • Canoe and indigenous peoples
  • Canoe & pole (parts, proper terms & care)
  • Trimming principles: flatwater & wind
  • Basic canoe lifts and carries
  • Canoe transport
  • Knots: bowline and trucker’s hitch
  • Safe poling practices
  • Equipment
  • Poling resources & additional courses
  • Poling within your ability
  • The canoe as a national symbol
  • Leave no trace principles
Course Prerequisites
  • None