Canoes, women and kids

I am a middle aged female who has just recently bought a canoe and accessories to spend some quality time with my son. My hubbie hates water, camping etc. But I love it and have waited patiently until our son is old enough to be a decent paddling/camping outdoor exploring partner.

Just recently I attended (much by accident) an open house to a local canoe club…and I must admit feeling very much in a minority status.

Any other female paddlers about who would like to impart some wisdom to a couple of newbies?

Plenty of women out there
Although I don’t get out as much as I’d like since my 6 year old daughter complains loudly if it’s raining. Which I don’t care if it’s raining…

I have rec boats, am learning WW, and am drooling over touring/sea kayaks…camping is the goal. We did a 3 day family canoe camping trip with the AMC last summer, 9 kids and 5 adults (plus 3 guides). ALL the guides were women, only one of the parents was a man, and the kids were 4 girls, 5 boys.

Other than that…watch the DVD “This is the Sea” to see some great women paddlers!

Val, in CT

Hang in there
Women can paddle just as well as men.

Some good people post here on this board but don’t take everything as “gospel”. Read everything you can about paddling and practice close to shore.

Have fun and be safe.


I Ain’t Female, But…
…my wife and I have paddled together for close to 25 years. Chris is every bit as competent as I am, and there is absolutely no one alive that I’d rather have with me out on the water when the going gets nasty. She does occasionally go paddling with women friends, and we’ve paddled in company with other women. Just like the guys, how competent women are depends on two things; what they’ve had the opportunity to learn, and how much they’ve practiced.

Close to ten years ago, I developed a severe case of tennis elbow just as the paddling was starting; our first trip proved beyond doubt that I just wouldn’t be able to J-stroke in my usual stern seat, so we switched. Chris quickly proved to be a much better stern paddler than I am, able to hold a truer course with less correction; I’m in the right spot to handle the scrambly bits when setting out or landing. We still haven’t switched back, because it quickly became evident that this setup works far better for us.

Enjoy yourself.
Canoeing and camping are the stress busters in my life. Don’t worry about being in the minority. Just be yourself, watch and learn from the more experienced paddlers. By paddling with others, I learned tricks to load my boat and methods for tying it down. I learned paddling techniques by watching others, and picked up lots of new ideas for camping how-to’s.

Paddling clubs will be a good way to get started and to learn about local places to paddle, and to go on trips that you might not have done by yourself, either through lack of self-confidence in your skills, or lack of knowledge of places to go, having a shuttle, etc. This is a wonderful gift to give yourself and your son. It will teach both of you the value of teamwork as well as independence and self-sufficiency. Wear your PFD’s, carry a spare paddle, take plenty of M&M’s and water, and above all…HAVE FUN!!!


Yep–listen to Jill
Get out there and do it.

Get involved with the club. Clubs often
have organized trips and clinics which can really jumpstart your entry into paddling. Also gives you people to paddle with.

The person with the most miles in one year in our club is a retired lady. She paddles tandem or solo canoes well.

Have fun and paddle safe!

Minority, but not alone …
My husband will paddle with me when I ask, but he really isn’t in to it much. He’s a competent canoer, but really prefers fishing or just hanging around. Therefore I go a lot on my own or with my daughter.

Most of the group paddling activities I’ve ever been in consisted mostly of men. However, there’s only been a couple of times where I was the only woman. I just go with the flow. I’ve only had a few guys doubt my abilities, and they were easily ignored. Note that clubs have definite personalities. Some are laid back, some are very performance oriented, some are welcoming to newcomers, some are not. I do a lot of trips with the local DNR groups since there aren’t any paddling clubs within a couple of hours of me. That’s a great way to set up a river trip with a group of people and have the shuttling all arranged for you. Some Girl Scout groups do a lot of canoeing too; you might want to check out your local Council.

Keep it up. A canoe is a wonderful thing. I love doing lakes and small rivers, seeing the wildlife, enjoying the day. The only thing I’ve done as I got older and paddled more by myself is to get a lighter weight canoe. I refuse to have to ask for help to move my canoe from my car to the water!


Gender, Age and canoes
The water doesn’t care.

The boats don’t care though some might work better for some size/weight/strength combinations.

I’m a man but I’ve been schooled by more than a few women. Be suprised if that didn’t happen again. Same goes for both older and younger paddlers.

Guess all I’m saying is that from my point of view gender and age don’t have a whole lot of bearing on paddling skill or the pleasure derived.

Not Female Either

– Last Updated: May-10-05 1:55 PM EST –

Six years ago I transfered from Mero Atlanta to South Jaw Jah. I finally found a nice little paddle group, more of like a splinter group from the main club. One gal is a hard core kayaker. The other gals are pretty much leisure paddlers.
Sometimes the gals out number us guys ;), I enjoy that when it happens.
I picked up a used forward stroke DVD from the classified ads on, can't remeber the guy's name, very informative! I need to watch it again before our 23 mile paddle down the Apalchicola River in North Florida.
Maybe after the guys go home and mention a gal on the paddling trips, maybe there wives or girlfriend or girl friend and wife will take interest in trying it out. It takes time.

Just avoid paddling with hillbillies,crackers,meth lab makers,moonshiners, drunks, trouble makers and most of all, loud mouths.( J/K...that was just for

Just get on the water and.....Enjoy

I was getting quite a bit of hassle from other family members. They are not interested and therefore do not see the merits of canoeing and camping. But you are right that it will teach both of us(my son and I) to work together as a team - get outside - get some exercise and see parts of the world we would not normally encounter.


Thanks again. I feel much better about my decision.