paddling canoe solo

I was wondering if someone could give advice regarding paddling my 15’6 Old Town canoe solo. It’s made for two paddlers, however I would like to do some river paddling solo. What would be the most efficient way? Is 15’6 too long to keep str8 easily by myself?? Certian strokes better than others?

Solo Open Conoe
You will need to re-trim it, at least part of this will involve altering your seating position. If it is a symetrical hull with flat seats you may get away with sitting on the front seat facing backwards. If not (and this would be my preference) fit a kneeling thwart. Putting all your gear in a bag which can be moved to alter trim is also very useful.

If anything it may be too short to keep running straight but around 16" is good, depending on what you want to do with it.

Learn the J stroke. Lots of other stuff will help but this one is essential.

Center seat, double bladed canoe
paddle. I even had a center pedistal on my 14’ Grumman with thiegh straps. It was very cool but my knees gave out and had to go to a kayak.

It depends a lot on conditions where you paddle and your skill level.

Which Old Town?

de pry an’ draw are important in a solo


Also Sit and Switch
Combine them all.



Sure–did that
Set in the front seat, backwards. If you will be strictly solo, move a seat to the proper position, go paddling.

Solo Canoe

– Last Updated: May-05-07 6:57 PM EST –

All the responses are approbate. Here is my input on this subject. I would try to paddle just as the canoe is now then evaluate how I felt. Moving closer to gunwale so as to have paddle vertically outside of boat for strokes. Increasing the length of paddle shaft to reach the bow better may be in order. The strokes I use are not in order but as memory comes. J(now called C stroke)[beginning with a forward stroke and sweeping under the boats stern to stay on line] paying attention to how winds,water flow/current],forward,backward,draws,pry,sweeps,braces(high/low). What I do for comfort is etha-foam glued into bottom of boat for bow/stern and the location of where I solo from. Usually from behind bow seat facing toward stern. Knee comfort is a must so the use of closed cell foam is the product. Thy straps I swear by in holding me in boat and giving me leverage for turns. My position is like this (three point stance)two knee's and a butt. Knee's apart to the tumble-home. I use the portion of the tumble home to lean the boat to the side of paddling. I am a port side paddler by habit so even in tandem I am still a port side paddler having the ability to use the braces (high/Low to right the boat in a tilt from the bow person. My bow person is only there to add speed and some maneuvering. I follow the bows lead and Fire Ladder-truck behind. In solo you can drive the bow into the turn and follow behind. Turning angles comes from my thy-straps. There is also the thought of paddling from a position of being able to lean forward will cause the bow to go deeper into the water on turns then also leaning backward will make the stern dig deeper in the water. This is using the rocker built into the canoe. Emergency exit must be practiced before tying them in. There is nothing in solo paddling that can't be practiced on flat-water or pool. I will try to add pics to illustrate this when I can figure out how to do it in this form