Freestyle Canoe Technique on Internet???

Any sites out there that show and explain freestyle technique and maybe have some video footage to demonstrate execution of the strokes?

Or better yet…any DVDs out there that can be ordered?



Ask this at
There was a post awhile back about a DVD

Currently, there are only two
FS instructional videos available. One is titled “Paddles in the Stream” by Becky and Mark Molina, the other is Solo FreeStyle Canoeing that is by Tom MacKenzie of Loon Works canoes. Any other internet video is of performance or execution of maneuvers, not instructional.

It would be extremely beneficial obtain some in person instruction. Feedback is not available on videos. Check out for instructional symposium venues.

where can I get them???
Can you tell me where these are available online?



Mark and Becky Molina

I’ll second

– Last Updated: May-25-09 8:35 PM EST –

the opinion of Canoeist11 about personal instruction. The videos are great for review and reinforcement. Trying to learn from them alone is likely to be frustrating. If at all possible, find your way to a symposium or locate an individual instructor. It will be time well spent.

Marc Ornstein
Dogpaddle Canoe Works
Custom Paddles and Cedar Strip Canoes

Hi Matt:
Full well aware that we exist in a McDonald’s world, I strongly suggest when it comes to FS canoe one take the crawl, walk, then run approach. even an experienced paddler can get baffled by the terminology, which I do not believe is just dogmatic but firmly rooted in reality. When one is doing more than several maneuvers in different quadrants the language must naturally be concise and I think FS terminology is efficient but there is necessarily a lot of terms to deal with. A good way to start is with written materials. The early basic text is “Freestyle Canoeing” co-authored by’s own CEW and Lou Glaros. I think Charlie will be the first to tell you that this work is in need of an update but the basic nomenclature and maneuvers are there. It is published but probably not currently by Manasha Ridge Press. Additionally the Molinas “Paddles in the Stream” video has a text which is very helpful when used in conjunction with the video. FS is very rewarding to any paddler if learned correctly. Good Luck.

The first place I ever saw flatwater Freestyle, (as opposed to whitewater hole riding acrobatics) was on the “Drilltime” video. That is a whitewater canoe instructional with a few minutes of Karen Knight doing a very nice Freestyle routine stuck in the middle.

Brent gets upset and deletes me if I post a link to that but if you google “Drilltime Canoe” it will come up.

Marc (Mornstien) had some youtube links to some nice routines a while back. I don’t know if those are still out there but you might search youtube for “Freestyle Canoe”.



You wanna bring your canoe up on 6/22 or 6/26 to come play with Karen Knight? Can’t think of anyone better to learn the strokes like the Christie, the Gimlet and the one I perfected - The Faceplant.

A whole lot of fun but I found to that being in standing depth water is definitely beneficial to the bailing aspect of Freestyle.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

With all due respect
Marshall, I think you mean Gimbal, but I would be interested in showing up for Gimlet lessons :wink:

Karen Knight?

You have Karen doing Freestyle instruction? I could not find that on your website.

Some years back I enjoyed a day of introductory Freestyle instruction with Karen. I too experienced the infamous faceplant.

She is one of the finest instructors I’ve had the good fortune to learn from. Highly recomended!


FS on the Internet

Link there takes you to the following, then you’ll see other vids:

To actually learn how to do Freestyle maneuvers it is highly recommended that you attend an ACA Freestyle Symposium. There are two locations: The Adirondacks Freestyle Symposium at Star Lake, New York and The Midwest Freestyle Symposium at Peninsula, Ohio (near Akron). Links to those events:

Marc Ornstein will be giving a demo and some insights into FS at the Western Pennsylvania Solo Canoe Rendezvous coming up in a couple of weeks:

As to videos… I have both the Molina and the Loon Works vids. As far as I know the only way to acquire the Loon Works vid is to get it at a FS symposium – worth the effort. Both vids are highly recommended, the Loon Works title is more instructive. Both are a bit dated, but that matters little.

The Vids and the Charlie Wilson/Lou Glaros book are well worth having as references, but they serve best if one receives some actual in person instruction first, nothing beats the real deal. It is well worth it to attend a symposium! As a bonus you’ll meet many like-minded folks – the FS community – good people.

FWIW, though the terminology is quite different, many of the paddle strokes, etc are very similar to white water canoeing techniques. FS was intended for flat water, but the moves you’ll learn also help a LOT in moving water.

Freestyle Names
Being that The River Connection is quite close to the Culinary Institute a lot of names seem to morph into food & beverage. Gimbal~gimlet. Can’t be too serious about things when you’re scooping minnows over the gunwhales.


Karen’s going to be up in June bringing her freestyle canoe for her own fun but I’m quite sure she could be convinced to put aside some time either on the 22nd or 26th of June to create some Freestyle Canoe Fun. Want me to ask her to put something together for one of those days?

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

You can get the LoonWorks video

I got a bumper sticker
from Ozark Rendezvous saying :

“you can dance on the river, but first you have to learn the steps”

Man would I love to tweak that one for FreeStyle canoe…

“you can dance with your boat, but first you have to learn the steps”