Canadian Style Paddling???

I am pretty new to canoeing and have heard a lot about Canadian style paddling. I think I understand a bit about what it is based upon watching this video:

but have some questions. I understand that this involves paddling the canoe heeled over solo. I paddle my canoe heeled over a little but not to the point where it is completely on edge / gunwale almost in water. Would that be considered “canadian style”?

Next, what is the difference in the stroke?

Last, the video above shows a sculling side slip AWAY from the power side. I can easily do a sculling draw but this is a bit trickier and I have been having trouble replicating this maneuver…it is pretty cool and I want to learn it. Any tips?



first tip
Notice that the maneuvers are always demonstrated on glassy smooth water. Right there I know I’ve never had a chance to practice it. Heeling the canoe over is good if you are paddling an oversized or underloaded canoe - it reduces the wetted perimeter and shortens the length-in-water so it turns easier.

You should work up to the Canadian stroke, after you’ve mastered going in a straight line with a simple j-stroke. Then it’s just a matter of morphing into an underwater recovery stroke that doubles as a corrective stroke.

But I think the real efficiency is that them there Canadians can cover a kilometer with that stroke faster than a Usa’er can cover a mile with a j-stroke. :wink:

box stroke?
are you referring to the box stroke where you just slice the paddle forward back to the power phase of the stroke?

I have not tried that but looks fairly straightforward with practice. What is the correction part of it?


You have to say “Eh” every other stroke.

Sculling pry
For me the mechanics of the sculling pry are different than for the sculling draw. Imagine looking over the guwale on your paddling side and inscribing a smiley face on the water while pushing out against the paddle. The corners of the smile are toward the stems and the lower part of the smile at your gunwale.

No its not necessary to submerge the gunwale. Any increase in heel does accelerate turns, but its not necessary.

I have to go back over and watch Rolf and Debs video again. What they call a box stroke is not for me. I think of the box as a draw to the stern a slice forward and a pry at the bow. The draw and pry need be equal distance from you in order to avoid travelling. To complete the box simply slice back to your starting point for the stern draw.

This series of strokes enables you to make a spin in place. After you get it going pretty good you can slice back and forward only and apply pressure inward during the slice to the stern and outward at the bow.

To further confuse things, you can reverse the drawing of the box!

Come to Raystown next fall
Some of the best “Canadian” style/freestylers will be there.

Canadian Style isnt quite

– Last Updated: Mar-18-09 10:50 PM EST –

what Marc is doing..Thats American which cross maneuvers can be done.

Canadian Style does not use cross maneuvers.

I'll work on getting Marc to CS his Explorer..!

skulling pry
is indeed as fun as it looks. i guess it’s Cdn style, but i’m not sure really, i just think of it all as essential canoeing if one fancies themselves a complete canoeist. it’s all practice and paddle dexterity, just like the subtle strokes are in a kayak.

i’m thinking about tips for the skull pry, but i can’t come up with anything good, except pull your elbows in tight, allows you to get the leverage to push the paddle while your reverse knifing the blade. also, this is much easier to master with a fine edged, slim shouldered, narrow blade. the big blades catch so much water, that they don’t change the angle of attack well, there’s so much water to dump off the face. having one “Cdn style” paddle in the quiver is a nice addition.

have fun with it Matt, i’m excited for you. i just sold my beloved river canoe and am awaiting a new lake canoe, about 30 pounds lighter, so i can actually carry it around without killing my back. i’m stoked to get back into canoeing with renewed energy as i’m moving up to where there are actually some lakes to paddle. but i’m leaving Victoria, what a shame…

I stand corrected…
What do I know, I paddle kayaks. Marc is impressive though.