I have a “wee lassie” style solo canoe (17 lbs. 10 1/2’ long) - you sit flat on the bottom and use a kayak paddle. I’m trying to learn a bracing stroke for this configuration. Neither canoe nor kayak bracing tutorials seem to apply. The deck is wide open and knees can’t exert much pressure. I’m open to serious suggestions!
Start with a different canoe that is
amenable to braces and control strokes.
knee bumps might help
When bracing, the force of the paddle blade on the water does not right the canoe or kayak. It is the motion of you lower body, which moves in an opposite direction to that of your paddle and upper body which serves to right the boat.
But if you are not well connected to the boat, the motion of your hips and the rest of your lower body will not be transmitted to the boat as well.
Even without any modification you should be able to weight your buttock opposite the side of your paddle brace as you execute the brace and this is what I would concentrate on while practicing.
If you have enough boat length to stretch your legs out straight enough that your knees are near, or not too much above gunwale height, and you don’t mind making a minor alteration to your boat, you might try fashioning a pair of foam knee bolsters or bumps and attaching them to the sides of the hull with contact cement.
The purpose of the bolsters would be to better secure your knees in position so that the knee on the side of your paddle brace does not tend to slip up way above gunwale level as you brace.
It’ll still work
Since you won't be paddling such a boat in serious rapids, I expect that the need to really "pry" on the boat with your body connection won't be too great. I expect that the downward push you can create with a low brace will be more than enough to stop you from going over, should that be about to happen.
The next question, is have you experienced much need to brace in that boat? My boats that are of the sit-near-floor style are wider than pack canoes, but the waterline footprint is barely wider, if at all, and I've never had the need to brace, nor could I do so if I wanted to since they are rowboats. I go out in waves as high as my head and feel fine, even with the boat laterally oriented to the waves. I do apply a little body English at times for intentional heeling of the hull.