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Canadian Style Paddling?

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by alibaba@, Jul 6, 2018.

  1. alibaba@

    alibaba@ New Member

    Forgive my ignorance, but what exactly is this type of paddling? I've seen pictures of it, and was wondering if there is a benefit to paddle this way.Thanks!
  2. Andy Hutyera

    Andy Hutyera The Red Canoe Guy

    As I understand it it’s a straight power stroke with an underwater recovery. The correction takes place during the recovery (instead of the usual J correction). The paddle is brought out of the water at the end of the stroke. It’s not at all hard to learn. I find it a very relaxing stroke and well worth having in my collection of strokes.
  3. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    Welcome to the WCHA.

    Canadian style paddling is similar to, if not identical to, what is called northwoods style paddling.

    It is a very short stroke, so that the paddle is vertical during almost all of the stroke; other strokes, such as the usual J-stroke, are generally longer, with the result that the paddle is closer to horizontal at the beginning and, especially, at the end of the stroke -- where the paddle delivers forward power much less efficiently. Someone paddling northwoods style will usually take nearly 2 strokes to a single stroke by someone J-stroking.

    In addition to being a bit more efficient, with the recovery portion of the stroke being in/under the water, it can be a quieter stroke.

    There is little in print about the stroke; here is what I am aware of:

    Bill Mason’s Path of the Paddle has two pages with demonstration photos on what he calls the Canadian stroke, which seems quite similar to the Northwoods stroke. The video tape of the same title also shows, briefly, the stroke.

    Lynn Franklin’s “Paddling Like an Ancient” in WoodenBoat magazine no. 55 (November/December 1983) shows Alexandra Conover teaching Franklin the Northwoods stroke.

    Garrett Conover’s article “Traveling With Ease and Grace” which appeared in Canoe Magazine’s "Canoeing and Kayaking," September 1984 gives an excellent description of the Northwoods stroke.

    Check your private messages/conversations.

  4. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    Do a net search on Northwoods paddling stroke. Several YouTube videos show the technique.
  5. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Canadian Style Paddling is more than just the one stroke. Style Paddlers are capable of doing some pretty amazing things in canoes... you might learn more at the Paddle Canada web site:

    and you can contact them through this page of their site: where they'll hopefully connect you with a Style Instructor in your area, from whom you may learn more about it. It involves some pretty awesome skills!
  6. Andy Hutyera

    Andy Hutyera The Red Canoe Guy

    A straight forward demo:
  7. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    A difference between the Canadian stroke as shown in the video Andy posted and what I and many folks would call the northwoods stroke is that with the northwoods stroke, you keep your hand that is above the paddle blade nearly stationary, using it as a fulcrum, and you do not slide the paddle shaft rearward, along the gunwale or otherwise.

    Further, lots of folks would avoid regularly sliding a paddle shaft along the gunwale, because of the wear caused to both the paddle and the gunwale.

    The very short Youtube videos at and better show what I think of as the nothwoods stroke, although they do not describe what is going on.

    But as far as I know, the terms Canadian stroke and northwoods stroke have no canonic definition or officially approved way of doing them. “Different strokes for different folks.”

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