Any long-time sea kayakers made switch to canoes?

I switch at wiill

Hi - seem to gotten a bit off topic.

I sea kayaked for 20+ years, then about 5 years ago I started canoeing again (medium length story). The transition was in many ways straight forward - primary and secondary stability works in canoes too, etc. Figuring out the best way to manage the wind took a bit - did a lot of “twirly-es” (involuntary 180 degree turns) the first season.

Things I really like - openness, simplicity, paddling in a new environment, learning to play with the paddle in new ways, the different pace. Understand that these are all based on my paddling profile - your experience may differ.

Things that are definitely different (for me) but I’m ok with: It’s slower and the wind is a pain in the butt. There’s a pretty easy stroke that will really help with the wind (variously called a “sneak stroke” or “underwater recovery” stroke). I actually am enjoying the slower.

A couple of things mentioned in this thread that may have raised concerns I wanted to comment on…

J Stroke and wrist injuries: The classic J certainly requires an extension of the wrist as you rotate to point the thumb of the grip hand down. But the J is not the only stroke that will drive the canoe forward in a straight line. Bill Mason’s Path of the Paddle Quiet Water shows several variations in the first part that do not require an extreme wrist twist. Here’s the URL: Path of the Paddle Quiet Water - YouTube.

As mentioned other places, the seat placement in a pack boat, similar to a kayak, makes them much easier to paddle with a double blade. It’s hard to find a commercial single blade that is short enough to be used effectively from that position.

Hit and switch is a good technique, particularly for tripping where covering the miles is a primary goal. I personally like the flow of the more traditional style, but what works for me may not be the best choice for you.

Kneeling is not required. It’s a more stable position and it’s good to know, particularly when conditions deteriorate. I kneel most of the time, but others paddle sitting.

Anyway - I’ve enjoyed the switch - a lot of skills and instincts transfer and learning new stuff is fun.


Hornbeck canoes are very nice canoes. RIP Pete. Mostly used for the ponds and portage trails in the Adirondacks where they—Hornbeck canoes—are built. Most people in this area that transition from a sea kayak to a canoe are purchasing Placid Boat Works canoes. Very light—22lbs—very fast, and built like sea kayaks. Check them out on the placid boat works canoe website.