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Thread: Hi Im new but willing to learn, and kinda need to too!

  1. #1

    Default Hi Im new but willing to learn, and kinda need to too!

    Hey guys and gals,

    Im totally new (ish) to Canoeing but i would like to learn how to be more confident in a Canoe as i have a phobia of drowning and tend to "freak out" or "panic" as it's more commonly refered to as haha

    So yeah! Any tips apart from not falling out of the Canoe would be appreciated haha

    Have a beautiful evening Canoeists!!

  2. Default

    Hi Yemaya
    I take it you wear a PFD. If you are worried about tipping out, then maybe you could find a shallow lake or river to practice on until you have more confidence. I am not too experienced either. I have only been out in my canoe a few times. I find my canoe a little tippy at first, so when I get in, I rock the canoe from side to side using my body weight while holding the bank just in case.Helps me judge it`s balance point. I also find it gets more stable when moving. Kneeling lowers your centre of gravity and gives you more control but can get uncomfortable for some. There are a lot of good canoeing videos on youtube. I picked up a lot of tips from them but there is no better way than to go out with others that have more experience. I went for a paddle with Old Man from this forum for instance and he noticed that I wasn`t doing the J stroke properly and showed me the correct way. He also kindly let me try a couple of different paddles and his canoe which is very different to mine. Or you could join a club and do a course.
    Welcome to the forum.

    P.S. Where are you based?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008


    Hello and Welcome!

    Joining a club can be a good way of learning, if there's a good one near you that isn't just kayak orientated but also canoe.

    Otherwise, canals are probably the safest environment for learning. On canals, the biggest chance of falling in is getting in and out, and once you know how to do that, you should be fine. Have you got your own canoe? What type is it?

    Whilst I don't have a phobia of drowning, nor do I like swimming particularly. I can happily say that in 10 years of canoeing, I have never fallen in on calm, still water. I have certainly fallen in on moving water, and when deliberately practicing rescues etc! As long as you do the latter in a controlled way with other people, the danger is taken out of the equation and you will learn lots.

  4. #4


    Hi and Welcome.

    I would agree about joining a local club, the benefits can be well worth it especially if you can find the right type and style of club for you.

    I hope you have a great and fun filled time developing within Canoeing.
    Best Wishes.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Near Banbury, England and just South of Poitiers France.


    I think we all have a phobia of drowning. But freaking out will spoil your enjoyment. Suggestions already made all make perfect sense. Canoes are a lot more stable than they appear, but I've always thought of canoeing as a 'wet sport' Always prepare yourself and your canoe assuming it will capsize. If you're prepared and practiced it need not be a big deal. Keep gear in the canoe in waterproof bags and tie them in. Have spare clothes to change into. Wear a PFD. Actually you're fairly unlikely to capsize accidentally unless you paddle white water but being prepared can contribute to reducing anxiety.

    A reassuring aspect of an open canoe is that you needn't feel trapped if it does capsize.

    It's a long time since I used to teach canoeing, but it wasn't uncommon for people to feel very tense and worried about capsizing. On the basis of my experiences from those long gone days I'll echo the first suggestion above... On a nice warm day go and play in a safe lake near the shore, unless you have access to a pool! Go with friends (both safer and more fun.) Practice capsizing. Try standing up (and if that works try standing on the gunwhales.) Spend half a day falling out, climbing in, experimenting with self rescue, generally trying all sorts of silly games (paddling a canoe that's half full of water can be amusing.) Experiment with support strokes if you've been shown how to do these.

    Just play until you are not only absolutely comfortable with the stability and tipping point of your boat, but you are also completely blasť about falling in.


  6. #6


    Thank you all for your great advice much appreciated.

    I think I will have a go at rocking the Canoe from side to side just so I can get some sense of just how stable both the Canoe and I feel. Thanks for the suggestion Teflon!

    Well the thought of practising a rescue attempt scares the bejeezus outta me, I think it's probably a good idea as it will take some of the fear away (desensitization of fear over time). Oh and we have 2 Canoe's an Apache 15 and an old town disco 158. Thanks for that Mal Gray AND also Timoc.

    I will have a look at clubs too. Thanks ScoutingSteve.

    Have a great evening all and a lovely day tomorrow too!

  7. Default

    All good advice from the others above. Some canoes are more stable than others but they all feel a bit tippy to some degree. You will get used to it. Some get more stable as you tip them. Up to a point obviously. This video teaches some great techniques for getting in and out of a canoe, as well as paddle techniques etc.

    This one shows some interesting paddle techniques but also that a canoe can still be stable when on it`s side.

    I learned a lot from these two videos. There are many others that are well worth a watch.

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