The wife and I have booked a lakeside cabin for two weeks in early September and I’ve decided to put some of my idle downtime to good use by learning how to freestyle.

Two questions:

  • Can anyone recommend a good book (we librarians are funny about this – no DVDs please)? All I can find is 1994 book titled “Freestling Canoeing” by Lou Glaros that doesn’t even make the ITS.MARC database and gets mixed reviews on

  • Which boat is best? As I’m limited to what I have available my choices are: Navarro Otter 16, Bell Morningstar, CLC Sassafrass 16, an Old Town Camper, and a my old venerable battlewagon Old Town 164.

book and boat
As far as books go, I think the one by Lou Glaros and Charlie Wilson that you mentioned is the only one that deals specifically with freestyle canoeing. I learned a lot from it and would gladly buy it again.

Boats - The Bell Morningstar would work fine. I haven’t paddled the Sassafrass or the Navarro, so can’t comment on them. The Old Towns have their place, but I don’t think it’s in freestyle canoeing.

Good luck!

Where are you located…may be an instructor nearby that could point you to some classes or just show up to help. Also, might try contacting Tom McKenzie( to see if he has any of his videos left…made it several years ago and when I look back now can only see what we could have done better, but at least it’s something you could start with. Becky Mason has a video that contains Canadian style solo at and I would also contact Mark and Becky Molina as they have, I believe both print and video materials available. Can’t remember their contact info, but bet you could google them. If not let me know and I’ll find it for you.

Molina address
Mark and Becky Molina can be reached at

another book
Sorry I didn’t think of this earlier, but with a tandem canoe, even a small one, you’d be better off with a book that shows you Canadian-style paddling. Bill Mason’s “Path of the Paddle” is the best one I can think of. It’s a pretty easy transition from Canadian-style paddling to freestyle - similar techniques, but freestyle solo paddling typically uses a solo canoe.