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Two men paddling down whitewater in a red canoe.
Location: Bonaventure River, Quebec. Photo credit: Felix Serre

Introduction to Solo Moving Water Canoeing

Discipline: Canoeing Program: Moving Water Stream: Skills Development

This Introduction to Solo Moving Water Canoeing course is designed to introduce participants to the exciting world of solo moving water canoeing emphasizing boat control, reading water and safe practice.

The course is taught in a fashion that focuses first on the essential method of carving a canoe with a few flat-water drills and then onto experiencing moving water. This approach gets the participants successfully executing manoeuvres quickly and developing the confidence and enthusiasm for moving water canoeing.

From the foundational block of carving the canoe, paddlers will development skills to smoothly move across currents, learn the basics for water reading and risk management.

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Course Overview

Typical Course Length

14 hours of instruction

Course Topics

Safety and Rescue
  • River hazards
  • River anatomy
  • Canoe stability
  • Reading current
  • River signals (whistle, paddle and hand)
  • Swimming (being prepared)
  • Shore rescue using a throw bag
  • Water rescue: canoe over canoe, parallel/curl, canoe re-entry
  • Towing
  • Swimming a canoe to shore
General Paddling Skills
  • Body position, balance and tilt
  • Carving
  • Lateral movement
Paddling Strokes
  • Forward stroke
  • Offside forward stroke
  • Draw, bow and stern draw
  • Pry, bow pry and stern pry
  • Bow cut, crossbow cut
  • Reverse stroke
  • Bracing (forward stroke)
  • Low brace
  • Flatwater Drills (Forward Paddling, Pivots, Figure-8s)
  • Launching and landing in current
  • Accelerating from a stopped position
  • Front ferries
  • Eddy exit and entry
  • S-turns
  • Descending back ferry
  • Navigating river bends
  • Running side slip/shift
  • 2x4 Method
  • Carving
  • Shape of the arc
  • Canoe design
  • River left and river right
  • Eddy pool
  • Eddy line and eddy wedge
  • Current and current line
  • Grain of current
  • Waves and standing waves
  • Canoe design
  • Outfitting
  • Personal preparedness
  • Knots for canoe tie down
  • Equipment for day tour
  • Paddling within your ability
  • Paddlesmart
  • Where to go from here (paddle courses and resources)
Course Prerequisites
  • Introduction of Lake Solo Canoe or permission of the Instructor, based on proof of prior learning of equivalent skill and knowledge.