C-1 Paddling Techniques


I was wondering if anybody who is well-versed in the art of C-1 paddling knew of any techniques that are good for maintaining your alignment while surfing.

I suspect that somebody really well versed in surfing a C-1 would say “screw alingment!”.

C-1ers tend not to be looking for a static front surf, but want to get sideways, drop their edges and be carving it up back & forth.

That aside: the correction strokes would probably be combos of a stern pry and an offside draw.

But lots of C-1’s (and C-1ers) aren’t made to stay parallel to the current. And not all C-1s are the same, is your boat 6’ or 10’?

For real answers, surf here:



Gabe in the Cascade?
Hmm… Cascade should frontsurf OK.

DrillTime is an Open Boat vid but it has some good surfing tips that should help.


Basicly get your paddle back and close to the hull and try to rudder without dragging the boat back.

Unless you want to drag it back. Sometimes your bow will get up too far and make it impossible to hold.

Or let it go and sidesurf. Side surfing will perfect your brace and with experience will get you out of some sticky situations.

Pick your wave/hole. Some waves like some boats and some like others.

And like Pat said www.cboats.net

Have fun,


Thanks for the assistance. I never really gave much thought to side surfing, but it seems cool. Also the link to CBoats was really helpful. Thanks guys. By the way I have an 11ft Dagger Cascade.

Good point about picking your wave.

You may have been surfing an 11’ boat on a 6’ wave. Just because one type of boat can do something, doesn’t mean every boat will.

Also, some waves are better paddling lefty and some righty.

To correct your angle back from your offside is easy with the rudder/pry.

Once you blow it to the onside though, it takes a perfectly timed offside bow draw or a really strong onsider stern draw. Most people will loose their surf to their onside. So, favour you angle to offside, “cheating” on the pry/rudder.

Presumably you have other people to paddle with, watch them closely - see what they’re doing with their paddles, and when & where they loose their surfs.


this is Gabe

I think this canoer thinks these guys have some good tips, especially with the “peel-out” or side surf. Gabe, if you watch you in this video, surfing like your dad or me in our long waterline canoes wasn’t going to be as good, but when you came off that wave sideways, man, that was cool.


– Last Updated: Nov-28-06 2:24 AM EST –

Take what I say with a grain a salt, because you look more comfortable in that Cascade than I might be, but...

The strokes and their timing is pretty subtle: you need to anticipate what micro adjustment you need to make, before you need to make it.

One thing I noticed - you're paddling right, and you got blown off to your right (as described above), yet one of your last power strokes was a cross forward, which helps turn your boat to your onside/right.

So, you threw an offside stroke when you shoulda been applying the power onside (even if it swung your bow a little left and you need to go to a stern pry right a way once you got the surf.)

If you're leaving an eddy onto a wave that's to your onside, be very conservative on your angle, because if you start a "jet ferry to your onside, it's very hard to kill. If the waves on your offside side, you can get away with a bigger angle, because you have more leverage with a pry stroke.

On the wave in the vid, I'd either try it lefty; or I'd come onto it with more power, maybe with forward sweep strokes, and being really anal about holding a tiny angle, and ready with stern draws to surf it back towards my left and my pry correction right away.

The weak eddy looked like a bit of struggle too, maybe if you'd paddled up along the bank, got higher and ferried onto the wave more than paddling up onto the wave?


I find that for short steep waves
I have to really lean back and unweight the bow to keep it from digging in and throwing me to one side or the other.

My older, rounder c-1s were more
difficult to front-surf. They were more likely to be thrown off if I did not keep them carefully aligned, and they certainly did not carve back and forth well at all. My best front-surfing boat is a Dagger Zealot slalom boat. It has a slender bow that does not purl, and a broad, flattish bottom with enough edges for control.

I don’t think a boat has to be short to front surf well, but it probably has to be flatter than a Cascade. I only paddled a Cascade for maybe 20 minutes on the Nanty, and I found it maneuverable and forgiving. It was willing to front surf, but did not seem to have enough flatness to plane and carve.

good point

– Last Updated: Nov-28-06 2:26 AM EST –

True, round hulls like the Cascade aren't known for their surfing/carving.

But don't get frustrated. Just try a different wave.


A dad says “thanks”!
Gabe has really been supported by your responses. Even with my preference for the canoe style of paddling, I keep asking if he would rather try kayaks. I keep getting the same response - he really likes his Cascade and wants to get better. He just found out that he has been admitted to Warren Wilson College and will be heading to Asheville, North Carolina for the next four years - whitewater at its finest to say the least!!

Again - thanks for supporting Gabe as he works to improve and learn more about how to work WITH the river because as Louis (Burt Reynolds) says in “Deliverance” - “You never beat the river…”



Congratulations Gabe
Just finished doing the college tours with my daughter, but never visited one that included canoe/kayak as a varsity sport - good stuff. See you guys on the river - spring if not sooner


I’m jealous!
There are some great rivers in Asheville for Gabe to practive on, as well as one of the finest paddling schools around at Nantahala…you’ll be surfing that Cascaded and putting us all to shame next year, Gabe!

Don’t get too discouraged about getting blown off those waves in the film…all of them looked "offset, feeding into the main current anyway, without good shoulders on both ends: that’s why no one got a real good surf there.

as for side surfing, isn’t that what you were doing at the ledge where you swam? :wink:

Yarnell, so what c1 are ya
paddling these days?

Counting fish?
Didn’t see that in the video.

all I saw was wading!!Aaron was taking a leak and didn’t notice a thing. Thought we were waiting for him!!

The swim
was preceeded by some very agressive edging, and an ineffective air brace or two, but no side surfing.

The fatal flaw was departing the eddy and crossing a very squirrely eddy line while pointing down stream.

My old Invader kayak has a similar hull shape and length to the Cascade. If you want I could bring that up some time and we could compare surfing performance.

june 1-3
bring everything ya got!!!

I’d need to borrow your truck

The Cascade was designed by
Jon Lugbill, and while old-school, it is no river pig. I was whipped by a young stud paddling a Cascade while I was paddling a Dagger Zealot, designed by Lugbill and Clawson for the '96 Olympics. The best thing to do with a Cascade is paddle it hard until you wear it out.

Then you can get a glass Atom from Class V in Chattanooga.