How to best paddle through weeds?

Seaweed is in season, and can complicate canoe paddling. I have found that using a kayak paddle works pretty good for getting through weedy areas. Any other tips on this, other than going around the weeds?

a good
bow paddler can clear the weeds off the bow with only one stroke missed. If you are paddling through thick weeds then alot of strokes will be missed.

Careful blade placement and withdrawal
It is an issue when paddling Kelp beds in Monterey Bay

When using our WW tandem MR
Synergy around New Orleans, we were pleased to find that the highly rockered bow slipped right over water weeds and the rest of the boat followed cheerfully behind. I think the shape of the bow will have a lot to do with it. A fairly vertical bow that turns sharply at the bottom of the boat is more likely to catch and push weeds. Even a modest amount of curvature may be enough to help the weeds pass under the boat.

I find with my double paddle, that…
…if I pull it back longitudinally after the stroke, something like a pool cue, it doesn’t get caught by the lillies which infest one of my favorite lakes this time of year. The carp like to roil up and scare me after I’ve passed over them.

Ditto on the carp
Jeez, in plant choked Lk. Washington, I found a spot where these huge 3 feet carp sunbath just under the water. The first time I paddled through it scared the crap out of me…

Next time through I was verrrry verrrry quiet. This time I got the draw and scared them. With polarized glasses, I could see their backs in the water a foot or 2 away, then slapped the paddle!. They are not the big fish any more. I have told a few newbies to paddle through, but did not stick around to see what happened. This little 1/4 mile stretch is good for about 20 carp (or is it crap) sightings. What a large spash they make when spooked.

Plumb bows = Bad
And this is a criticism from a QCC owner! I am always amazed at the amount of junk I end up pushing.

As for paddles, I believe that the shallow GP stroke accumulates fewer weeds.


I don’t mean to dispute you, but
I think just the opposite.

I paddle both canoes and kayaks, and have paddled in many swamps.

A low angle or even high angle kayak stroke is going to nothing but grab a bunch of weeds, algea, etc.

Where as a canoe paddle and stroke, especially if the stroke comes out as vertical as possible will allow the weeds to just slide off.

Many times when I have been in a “weedy” situation with my kayak, I will have to hold the

kayak paddle in a vertical position prior to taking the next stroke to let the weeds fall off.

If you are talking about reeds or pampas type grass than yes I would agree with you.



I use a short, verticle stroke
in the weeds and my MR Guide just slides right over them. It has some rocker. I think a bent shaft paddle works better too, I just shorten up the stroke.

Low angle GP? Weed catching plumb bow?
Here we go again x 2.


GP stroke being “low angle” is a very narrow interpretation that misses out on all the other angles and stroke variations that work fine too. Near vertical, wing stroke - whatever.

If the GP were really just a low angle long slow stroke paddle it would not create so many happy converts with dusty unused euros.

GPs are good in weed beds - no separate blade to get hung up. No wide blade to slice in.


I don’t have any problem picking up weed or grass on my QCC. Just the occasional leaf if I’m going SLOW on FLAT water. Even tiny waves and chop will prevent anything from sticking to the bow otherwise!!!

To clear the bow on QCC of plant matter you have two options:

  1. Just rock back and forth/hop up and down in the seat a bit.

  2. Get off that pond/lazy river and paddle somewhere more conducive to sea kayaking! L

I interpreted this as a paddle-style…
…question, as there was no mention of weeds grabing the bow. I have yet to paddle a canoe that collects weeds on the bow, and I’m guessing that the reason Charlie mentioned having the bow paddler clear weeds is because he’s a racer, and racing boats tend to have fairly plum bows with not much curvature at the base. Is that right?

To address the paddling question, yes, doing any kind of a single-blade correction stroke in combination with a power stroke is pretty ineffective in thick weeds (it just makes the boat stop), making it necessary to maintain your course by appling power on both sides. I agree that almost any double-blade paddle is probably better than a single for this purpose. I almost never take a double-blade out with me anymore, so if I need to horse the boat through thick weed beds I alternate sides but without switchin my hand positions. I do either one or two strokes per side, but I never switch hands. In other words, to switch sides, I just reach across for a cross stroke (I don’t know the correct term). This really only works well if you are kneeling, so you can get plenty of torso rotation for the off side.

Greyak has exposed me!
As he said, “GP stroke being “low angle” is a very narrow interpretation that misses out on all the other angles and stroke variations that work fine too. Near vertical, wing stroke - whatever.”

Yes, I have failed to achieve the full potential of the GP, and for that I am humbled. I am just a weekend duffer, not a true affectionado. I lack focus too. In fact, many times I just noodle about when on the water, rather than engage in fitness paddling.

“Get off that pond/lazy river and paddle somewhere more conducive to sea kayaking! L

Busted again! Even with the heavy rains we have had, the surf conditions here in WV just are not up to what might be found in FL.


Slacker Extrordinaire

Duffer as well, though I’m no slacker…
… I’m just plain LAZY!!! (ask Paul)

I use a range of strokes to find same speed for less effort, add variety to ease strain, and blend/adapt with changing conditions.

I have moved to skinnier hulls with similar result. Less effort for same fun (same for lighter, lower volume, etc.)

Even learning to roll was motivated by it being the lowest effort recovery method - and quickest way to being more comfortable on (and in) the water.

LAZY - Low Anxiety Zone Yakin’

I moved to a narrow hull once
but the bow wave kept breaking against my chest. I picked up lots of weeds then.


some people prefer just to smoke it.

Was that Mercer Slough, perchance?
I’m from Oly, and have done the Slough a couple of times. Great during blackberry season.

Get a flame thrower, burn the crap off.

Sharks with frickin’ lasers beams…
… attached to their heads!

How to best paddle through weeds
Don’t paddle through weeds

Same goes for kelp