Canadian solo -- what it is good for?

absolutely nothing? …

Seriously, I’ve tried it and can’t find many merits. I have a wood strip Bob Special. I love the boat and love to solo. Also have a Bell solo and a C1. Maybe I like to go too fast for Canadian style.

It seems I can sit in the dead middle of the boat with a bent shaft and go twice as fast as healing it over and using a straight shaft or a bent shaft.

Is it my lack of skills or should I not expect so much from going solo in a tandem?

Say it again, huh!
Some of my solos seem to go faster when heeled than when level, go figure. Some also seem easier to keep straight when heeled a bit, rather than when level. Probably just my poor technique.

If I really want to go fast, I get in the Sawyer Loon and do hit & switch, but that’s not as relaxing and meditative.

Depends on the boat.
Soloing my Explorer seems easier and relatively faster when heeled. It also turn better.

My Malacite wants to do an outside carve when heeled(follows the curve of the hull), so I paddle that flat unless I want the turn.

The solos I paddle switch if I’m looking to get somewhere, traditional if I want more control. Heel to turn.


classic solo

– Last Updated: Oct-07-08 5:02 PM EST –

Nice video clips. It's a way to comfortably solo a wide tandem and make it easy to turn.

She'd have a long reach trying to paddle that canoe from the center if it wasn't heeled.

Looks cool and fun to do …
… can’t imagine much practicality in it though .

Wonder what one is suppose to do with their gear/cargo ?? … probably load it so the noe ballances on the chine ??

I try to be a practitioner…

– Last Updated: Oct-07-08 8:46 PM EST –

of all canoe disciplines. (although I may not be a master of any of them)

The idea is control, not speed. If you want speed, ditch the bent shaft and get a double bladed paddle. If you want to take an 18 footer across a swift river, without adding ballast, and maneuver it into a dock, in that same swift river, then "canadian solo" will fill the bill.

Having that said. Count me in the group who loathe the bent shaft design. When my wife and I are out in the Minnesota 2 and want to cover some water, with single bladed paddles, she uses a bent shaft and I use an ottertail. As soon as we need to maneuver, she switches back to a straight shaft. The bent shaft is just too limited in the maneuvering department.

I own a Bell Yellowstone solo myself. It doesn't work well heeled, but I never really expected it to. (It is a dream on the Hiwassee river though)

Read this link. You'll know where Canadian style came from.

Thank you for posting that
That was an education.

I thought heeling a canoe over went back to the Indians.

The Canadian stroke is a marvelous and elegant thing.

Control and fluid motion, silence in the water.

Quite beautiful.

I have turned to sea kayaking but the canoe is more elegant.

A sea kayak is faster, double paddles used in a canoe makes it quicker but why.

It is a different sport.

It is practical too
Lots of people own one canoe, not sixteen like some canoe addicts.

And that canoe is a tandem… and they want to go out solo. Or have to go solo…

Canadian Style Solo is far more efficient than paddling a canoe from the stern and also more efficient than paddling from the bow seat facing backwards. There is far more control and you can adjust for headwinds to make progress.

Try passing a Lakewater 2 course…its tough… You have to do spins, circles and arrow straight forward travel and backwards too. The tolerances for error allowed are one or two inches.

When Omer Stringer was very young, he worked as a fishing guide. The practice at the time was to use rocks as ballast when going out without a client. He was too small to lift the rocks, so he developed this style. It allows the best control of a big tandem canoe when used solo. The maneuverability is great, the precision is great, and speed is reasonable. A dedicated solo boat will be faster and more efficient, but not as versatile.

Canadian style
It may not be for you, but it works well for many canoeists. Perhaps you would benefit from some instruction. As has been mentioned by others the technique allows a tandem canoe to be soloed efficiently and with precise control. Small/narrow solo canoes are a modern ‘south of the border’ (primarily) development whereas Canadian style allows a tandem to be used very effectively solo. Personally I own and paddle several solo canoes, so that’s what/how I paddle solo most often. But I have seen Kim Gass (Kayamedic above) demonstrate the finer points of Canadian style several times at ACA symposiums and have been privileged to take classes from her. You might want to learn a bit more about the technique before you dismiss it off-hand.

…my two centz… RK

Not trying to dismiss
Just trying to learn.

Tried it again today. Felt like I was more efficient, etc.

Maybe it’s just a dream of mine. I like all canoe disciplines, so maybe this is next on the “work on” list.


Like all things worthwhile
it takes “Water Time”.

Sorta like playing the piano well (OK that didnt call for the piano to be immersed)

I am terrible at piano because I did not practice. I was a bratty kid.

practiced religiously for 20 years
Now I have arthritis and don’t even look at them any more. :slight_smile:

How does canadian style work in the wind

very well
because this conceptual “Canadian Style” is all about adaptability and moving around the boat as needed. it ain’t racing, so you shift your position, gear, etc, as needed for the conditions. one boat does all, in all water bodies. if people ask me how i use my canoe, a prospector, i say all ways, tandem/solo/tripping/lake/river/whitewater/fishing, etc. i don’t know of “Cdn Style” i just know it as canoeing and i learned it growing up in Ontario. it wasn’t until later that i saw bent shaft paddles and canoes in sea kayak like dimensions that were from a racing background, the Wenonahs.

er, uh, not really…
This style of paddling was actually developed in antiquity by native Americans, for the very basic reason of carrying more gear per paddler. Two people can carry twice the amount of trade goods or gear if each paddles a canoe rather than both being in one canoe. It was especially used by the Voyagers ( French and English traders) around the great lakes area to increase the possible payload. They were professional paddlers and one who could handle a large canoe by himself was worth his weight in gold.

Omer Stringer actually developed named maneuvers and linked them to develop a paddling routine.

I’m still wondering …
… where and how one is suppose to load the gear , gargo , the “load” ??

Almost every picture or video I have seen of a canoe heeled over to the gunnel and being paddled Canadian style , “is empty” , save for the paddler .

pagayeur , had stated that this style of canoe use was a bonus to carrying more cargo for traders and native Amereicans . … I can understand a canoe loaded to the hilts when flat out on it’s bottom , but I can not see that same canoe pitched over to the gunnels .

I would like to see such a voyager/traders canoe loaded to the hilts , pitched to the gunnel being paddled in this Canadian stlye .

Like I said , all that I have seen have been basically “empty” … why not demonstrate with a fully loaded canoe to be “true” to this styles history and practicallity ??

amen brother
great question. i’d like to know the answer as well.

just guessing
If you’ve got several hunred pounds of gear to distribute, you can load the boat so that it’s in trim when you’re back in the stern with an easy reach to the water.

Alternately, you could load to paddle from the center, but you’d probably heel less when kneeling on one side.

I’m almost tempted to try it, but I’m not excited about hauling and loading/unloading a bunch of gear I don’t plan to use.

and another thing …

– Last Updated: Oct-10-08 9:18 AM EST –

...... say you are loaded (or empty) (Canadian style) , and moving down a mountain river , like one with boulders or other obsticles that you may do some "side" bouncing off of .... doesn't seem there would be much tilt left before the gunnel went under !!

I know , you are suppose to "miss" all the obsticles , right ?? ..... well at least with the extra and superb ability in manuvering the Canadian style looks to offer , I guess missing them all "might" be possible .

I have had a tendancy to bounce off of things purposely , thinking that is a "skill" level I have devoloped , lol ...