Interested in Canoeing

Would like some suggestions on a good instructional book about canoeing. Are there any schools for learning how to canoe in the Hampton Roads, Va area?

Canoe instruction…
Check the ACA website ( for canoe instructors in your area as well as instructional texts. Local paddling clubs and boat shops are excellent resources as well.

“paddle your own canoe”

I also like the Trailside Guide

Instruction books
Two I always recommend are:

Path of the Paddle by Bill Mason and Paddle your Own Canoe by Joanie and Gary McGuffin.

The former is an old school classic (but still very relevant), the latter is more contemporary & very well illustrated.

Those are my two favorites as well.

Canoe paddling by Harry Roberts. Good book, and even a bald guy like me can understand it!

Don’t forget …
Any book written by Cliff Jacobson on canoeing!!! The best for ease or reading and clear understanding.

Red Cross books on canoeing and kayaking. Very good intro plus info.

American Canoe Association books on canoeing. Good source.

Just look for the entry, beginner, or intro books.

Happy Paddl’n!



If You Could Only Buy One Book…

– Last Updated: Dec-31-04 10:36 AM EST –

...I'd buy "Path of the Paddle" by Bill Mason. Even better, get the book AND the video. If interested in wilderness canoeing "Song of the Paddle" also by Bill Mason. As Mick said, Cliff Jacobson has several also. Looked it up, here's a link for the video. Actually seeing things put into MOTION is a bit better than looking at still pics. Even better, is getting on the water and PRACTICING those strokes! Had a problem finding a good link, but try this. After going to the link, search Bill Mason. WW,1075.htm

Its out of print,
but I am still able to easily find copies of “Canoeing” by the American National Red Cross.

Try this link.

Its a shame that they dont print this one anymore. It covers nearly every aspect that you could think of.

The only thing that I could think of, to add to this book, would be an addition to the paddle section. It does not go in depth enough on double bladed canoe paddles and my first edition copy predates the bentshaft paddle. Otherwise, you could quickly become an expert with this book.

Its well worth tracking down a copy.

I agree …
Two great books; Path of the Paddle/Mason, and Paddle Your Own Canoe/McGuffin.

Three great videos: Solo Playboating I & II by Kent Ford, and Pivot Point by Dave Moccia & Jimmy Holcombe. There is another great one called Canoe Basics but I don’t know who does it.

Try to find out if you can get enrolled in an ACA class near you? Great starting point for beginners, and not expensive.

Great paddling school: Nantahala Outdoor Center in Bryson City, North Carolina. Probably not even a full day’s drive from you. They can take you from beginner to as far as you want to go.

If you have some friends (or can make some), that have good paddling skills, attempt to get them to help you out.

Bottom line; a few good books & videos, a beginner’s class in ACA, help from friends, and a class at a quality paddling school…you could go from beginner to a decent paddler in a season, if you’re highly motivated. Start with the videos & books asap!

Good luck,


Canoe instruction
Wha Ho, Pilgrim

Bill Mason’s Path Of The Paddle series (books and videos), daughter Becky Mason’s Classic Solo Canoeing video and son Paul Mason’s book - Thrill Of The Paddle.

Cliff Jacobson’s stuff is good too.

Fat Elmo

basic canoeing
I too like any books and videos by the Masons, and many of the others mentioned. But here’s a new-to-me book that I bought just because it look so well done and well illustrated:

Jon Rounds, ed. by Stackpole Books, 2003, “Basic Canoeing: All the skills and tools you need to get started”.

I give it 2 thumbs up for what it promises. Covers gear, boats, safety, etc. and with good photos and drawing of tandem and solo, flat and moving.

Have fun, Pat.

When I was younger…
Thats twenty years ago.

We always called it the Nantahala Outlaw Center.

kf4ebp… the '56 Red Cross edition
answers all your objections (though it may raise a few new ones). :wink: