Handicap Paddling

Hello all

I use to have a canoe and have paddled on many occasions ! I have a problem, I only have 1 leg ! I have been staring out my back window trying to figure out how I can paddle again as there is a thick Cypress Lake that after you get 100 yards out turns into the main channel! My problem would be ;How do I get in and out of canoe safely without falling down ? I have been looking for four years out into the water have tryed to imagine what it would be like to paddle again !Any suggestions ? All help would be greatly appreciated !!!



i’m no expert on this but did a google search for you. it is on kayaking and not sure if this would be an easier option then canoe - http://www.kayakandcanoeguidebooks.com/OneLeg.htm

Hope this information is of some help to you!

Talk with a physical therapist. You
may be able to find one who paddles. They know a lot about transfer and mobility skills.

ACA - Adaptive Paddling Program

Hi - I would get in touch with the people listed here who are a part of the American Canoe Association’s Adaptive Paddling program - they specifically help people with disabilities such as yours develop adaptive ways to paddle. I think they would be a great place to start. In our local club we have 1 guy who is paralyzed from the waist down and another guy who lost both of his legs, and both whitewater kayak. It definitely can be done, so I would keep looking until you get the resources you need to get out on that bayou! Best of luck…


I noticed your in NC
Hope you don’t mind me asking: Where?

I tried to put myself in your position and figured the hardest part was getting the canoe to and from the water.

But if you are located on the water, and the boat is already in the water, why can’t you get to it, and then turn with your back to it, and holding the gunnels with both hands(one on each side), lower your butt onto the seat. Then once you are sitting, swing your leg arond and into the canoe.

You could get out the same only in reverse.

  • Probably easier said then done, but if you haven’t tried it why not give it a try?



Disabled Adventurers
Here’s a link to their website -


Wonderful, wonderful people - great ideas, solid information, and an endless willingness to share and help.

You mentioned canoeing - a friend, after an extremely bad auto accident that severely injured both legs, used a long pole to lower himself into the canoe and pry himself back up to get out - really nerve-wrecking for his paddling partners to watch, but he just wanted out there so bad…a month after getting out of the rehab centre, he was doing multi-day solo trips through some pretty rough country.

Best of luck Larry - good to see you thinking of getting back out on the water…

Where in NC Larry ??

– Last Updated: Sep-25-08 11:45 PM EST –

....... any potential paddle partners you can think of to go with you ?? You know , to get the bugs worked out while you get comfortable again .

4 years is a quite awhile to be wanting to paddle again .

I'm not near you , but if I were , you would have been out paddling long time ago . All you need is a little backup and a cheer leader and you are there .

I'm thinking a little learning curve , maybe a splash and tumble or two , and then you are cruising smoothly as before !!

What about tandem ??

Think about sit-on-top-kayaks

– Last Updated: Sep-26-08 12:39 AM EST –

Much easier to get into and manage than a canoe.
Several groups here in Southern California have helped Iraq vets with severe limitations get out into the surf and rivers in kayaks. I can help you get started if you are interested in contact info.

Here's a similar group doing whitewater boats....


This website has a moderator that helps with special needs kayakers.


If you want some inspiration for what's possible here is a link on waveskier Niel Stephenson


and here are some local heros from my neck of the woods.
Freddy is an accomplished surfer now ... check out this webpage....


Little out of you neighborhood, but…

We are located in New York, 45 minutes north of the city. We encourage all type of adaptive sports including kayaking on the Hudson River. Even if you can’t make it up to NY, give the therapists a call. They may have some contacts down your way.


NEHSA is the New England Handicapped Sports Association, based here at Mt Sunapee in New Hampshire. In the summer season, they have a paddling group that gets together and teaches disabled people to paddle. They have a lot of one-legged (and no legged) people that ski & paddle! I know it’s farther away from you, but you could at least get in touch with them and ask them if they have any advice or tips.


Good luck!