Good grief, we suck!

We went out on Saturday for a long training day and I really only had 2 goals, ride for 32 miles on hard pack trails and canoe with all 3 of us in a canoe for 1-2 hours.  The bike ride went fine, but when it comes to canoeing, we suck.


I really don’t understand it.  It seems that no matter how hard we try, or how smooth we try to paddle, we can’t go in a straight line to save our lives.  I will say that after about an hour, we did get slightly better.  I would say we improved to the level of, “We almost don’t suck.”  But then we’d get excited, lose concentration and zig zag or do circles for the next 15 minutes.  In the end, we could only maintain a track if I was steering from the rear using the paddle as a brake.

Ana and I have gone out a number of times before and everything seemed to go fine, we could maintain a track, we could even put in corrective strokes when we got slightly off course.  But once we get 3 people in the boat, it all falls apart.  And no, I’m not blaming Stu.  I think having 3 people really changes the dynamics of the boat and we haven’t figured out how to deal with this yet.  It definitely makes the boat more tippy.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any helpful information on the internet about paddling 3 people in a canoe using kayak paddles.  Pangea has some info on paddling for adventure races and here is a video clip from Ron Eaglin.

Locally, we are having a canoe paddling clinic that I think I’ll sign up for.  But I doubt it will be applicable to 3-person kayak style paddling.  So, if any of my 4 readers find any good information or videos on paddling, please send me a link.  Until then, we’ll keep providing the comic relief at our races.  Have the camera ready, because someone’s probably going to get wet.

4 thoughts on “Good grief, we suck!

  1. I teach kayak and canoe workshops here on the river. Can cover 1, 2, 3 or 4 person paddling with single or double blade. I even coached dragon boat racing for awhile in Asia…….40 paddlers working together!!

  2. I remember when Nate and I (team Canyoneros) used to have this problem as a two-man setup. For us, it all basically boiled down to everyone looking at a target in the distance and micro-correcting with every stroke. Anytime the boat veers off the line too much, it takes more effort to bring it back, so it is pretty important to maintain the line. As soon as one guy puts his head down to just paddle with equal power on both sides, that’s when things will veer. We never really did a 3-man setup until we got more experienced, but when we did, everyone was experienced in micro-correcting, and all we had to focus on was syncing together. Oh…back then we also ran into the issue of not knowing there is a correct orientation to the canoe. If it’s pointed the wrong way, there’s almost nothing you can do to keep it straight haha. If the guy in front doesn’t have enough leg room, then it’s probably pointed wrong 🙂 Not sure if this applies to you guys, but I hope it helps.

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