I have never paddled but would love to begin. I have in mind the sliding seats to get a real good work out. I’m also investigating basic canoes to beging with. Any suggestions?
Sounds like you may be mistaking
sliding seats associated with rowing shells. Sliding seats in canoes are only used to trim the hull in changing conditions or with varying loads.
Paddling vs. Rowing
These are somewhat different and there seems to be limited crossover. I think it may to some extent be a class thing.
The above posts have corrected …
you on the sliding seats,
But if you enjoy rowing, you might want to look into a guide boat.
there are some beauties out there.
My old Wenonah Voyager is rowed by
it’s new owner. He’s having a blast with it. He was planning to install a sliding seat in it, but hadn’t done so the last time I heard from him.
Sliding seats and rowing canoes
In my opinion, sliding seats are ONLY a benefit if you use extremely long oars like the racers use. If you use such long oars, you WILL need some mighty wide outriggers to mount them on. I think anyone looking to row with a sliding seat needs to be shopping for a fairly specialized boat, though I've seen a couple by Alden which were more generic in design, but which looked like they would work pretty well.
I use eight-foot oars with my guide-boat, and have no trouble at all operating the oars through a lot more than their useful pulling range just by leaning forward and back a little bit. Using a sliding seat with oars as short as eight feet would only result in making the stroke range include too much high-angle pulling to do you any good. Therefore, I'd recommend that if you outfit a canoe for rowing you should use a fixed seat. Sliding seats are great in boats that are made to take advantage of them, but putting them in canoes or guide-boats is a waste of time and money.
One other thing. Since you are in Utah, I should point out that by "guide-boat", I mean "Adirondack guide-boat". The Green River guideboat that is so common in your part of the country is not something you want to row any distance with (they are for slowing and controlling the downstream drift in fast water, NOT for actually going any distance under oar-power).
Try to get into an exercise routine…it’ll do wonders for weight gain/loss issues…
Row a canoe with shorter (6-7’) oars
A canoe gives you two for one. A tandem that can be rowed or paddled allowing for companionship. And a solo row boat that can be easily cartopped because of it’s light weight and bar-friendly gunwales (i.e. you don’t need expensive saddle devices for transporting). I recommend a kevlar canoe that will really move when rowing … like a 17’ or 18’ Jensen by Wenonah or Clipper. If you get something between 40 and 45 lbs, you’ll use it solo more often. Bolt on gunwale mounted oarlocks like Old Town sells and pick up some spoonblade oars from Springcreek.
This would give you a fast rowing canoe and excellent paddling one as well. If you want more than a day/exercise boat, buy a canoe with a deeper hull design that will carry two with gear (4-500 lbs … like a Spirit II) … but keep it light for frequent solo use. You WILL get blown around when rowing solo … but you’ll learn ways to cope with it. Remember that a canoe is a marvelous boat because of it’s light weight and portability and ease of use. If you buy one that optimizes those potentials, you’ll have a boat that will see lot’s of use by you and your friends … which is the whole point of getting one. If it’s a heavy unattractive polyethylene barge of a canoe, it will not be as respected as one that’s easier to transport and pays you back for your efforts with wonderful speed and glide … which rowing really makes you appreciate.