What Habits Do You Always Strive to Do When Paddling

I do many/most of the things already mentioned. One thing may have been mentioned but I missed it. Lists.

List #1: I keep my gear in the garage where I have a list of everything I will take on a day trip. I always check the list.

List #2: When i go on an extended trip, I keep a more extensive list adding items such as clothing for the full number of days, passport (if needed), charts, tide tables, etc. This list is inherited from prior trips, so I don’t need to make it up from scratch and forget something. The list also evolves.

After a 39 year career of decision making, soul searching while waiting for something to backfire, or just dealing with potential hazards, my time in a kayak is about control. My planning is systematic and I don’t want to worry about rolling boats and battling the unexpected. I make sure everything I need is with me and if conditions threaten to make me work too hard, I take my toy and go home. I keep a paddle and PDF in the back of the extended cab, that’s what it’s for because it to small for passengers.

My most useful habit is running through a checklist of preparations and gear, with half the items reviewed the night before (such as freeze 1/2 of my hydration bottle when the weather will be hot), and half the morning before heading out (such as take a dump). It enhances my safety and pleasure.

I run my fingers through my straps, before I use them. If I feel any loose threads, I use another set of straps. I have several. Always get in and out of boat on left side.

If someone is ahead of me, then the race starts. I will catch up and pass them, trying to impress them of the speed I’m going. They don’t know we are racing, but I do

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So very! Keep on doing it.

The only racing I’ve done is against my grandsons. I gave that up when they started beating me 10 years ago.
Two weeks ago I paddled with 2 women who I had trained, both about 15 years younger than me. I didn’t even attempt to suggest racing, since they were ahead of me. And one has a Pelican barge.One said she was glad I taught her a few years ago.
Thank you Grasshopper!

Guilty of that only once. Had run the Nantahala with a friend in solo canoes. At the put in met a couple in a tandem, and they joined us. In all their years paddling together they never had a photo taken of them in their canoe. We offered to take some for them. They wanted one of them running the last rapid before the the outdoor center. I guess it is obvious that I can’t just take one. :smiley:

I had just tied off my bow and stern opposing tie downs when my friend said they are ready to go so I stopped and took the photos for them. My friend had his canoe already to go and when we got back to the cars we headed home. Most of the drive was after dark. We stopped and got gas, and stopped again to eat. It was late when I got home. The next morning when I went out to take the canoe off the car I found I had not strapped it down. My back up are the bow and stern tie downs the straps my main means of securing. The boat never budged going over winding mountain roads at speed. I am very pleased with my back up needless to say.

I always strap first and tie down second, but this time I happened to grab the ropes before the straps. I think taking the photos after tying down sort of had me thinking I was done because that is the last thing I generally do.

I keep all my canoe gear in one plastic container and kayak gear in another. I grab the appropriate container, paddles, PFD, and of course my waterproof camera, and I am good to go. I rarely bother with turning on my GPS anymore unless it is a new place I am paddling because I often forget to turn it off. There is room for improvement there. :smiley:

I rinse and dry stuff when I return home, or the next morning. Absolutely need to do it after salt water.

Here are 4 photos of the couple we paddled with. I blame them for my failure!!! :crazy_face: Not really l have to own that mistake. Drat!


Always record location, times, conditions, tides, and speed info upon returning. Check GPS tracks to see if current, tides or winds pushed me off course. Then compare to logs afterwards.

I chase anyone in front of me to estimate their speed, then a calculation to figure out when I will be able to catch them. Once decided, I push to intercept before a certain landmark. My goal is to accurately calculate the equation. I usually don’t, but it sure is a challenge trying.

If the person with me is slow, I let them know I’m going to paddle out and back on magnetic headings to see if I can estimate crossing points while maintaining a straight course.

I rarely stay stationary and burn off residual energy on the last two mile leg. Standard trip. Sometimes when the conditions are nice, I might just sit.

And remember to take a leak. Much easier on Terra firma. I usually paddle SOT and scuppers have come in handy.

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I constantly have to remind myself to keep the paddle shaft vertical; it seems too easy to revert to a lazier stroke with more sweep in it.

I always get in on the left side too. On rare occasions the situation requires me to get in on the right and that always feels dicey especially since it’s typically an awkward/unusual situation.

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Smile and Pray

String. That’s why they have scuoper plugs and dump stations.

Ewwwww! Not where I paddle.

Ha ha ha haaa!

I paddle a 15’ OT in NC. Since I do solo trips, first I work out how I will shuttle.
Leave car at put-in or take-out depends on time I can get on the water. If I can get an early start I do my shuttle first. I also study topos to determine If I can use a bicycle for my shuttle. I enlarge Google maps and that shows some local services that I call to see about getting a shuttle from them. I offer money for the shuttle.
The grocery stores bakery departments have various sized containers they use to frost cakes. If you ask, they will give you an empty. Since they are food grade, they keep out water very well.

Everybody has a different innovative style. That’s what makes kayaking and canoeing so adaptable and rewarding.

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Load the boat and gear on/into the car the night before paddling. Gives me until the next morning to figure out what I forgot.


That routine is totally different than mine. About the only time I check the weather is if I have to do an open water crossing. Lots of the time, rain and storms are predicted but they don’t usually last long. In the winter I do pay some attention to the highs and lows.
Only time I gps is when I do something new and I want more beta- time, distance, gradient. I hadn’t thought about soaking gear after paddling in a salt water environment. It is neat to see how the routines change with the environment.

that sounds like a good routine, rolling depends on the water temp and clarity for me

I like the basics practice.

I should have written/clarified that the early paddle rolls happen on days when the possibility of executing a combat roll are high = a couple warm up rolls. On benign paddling days, a roll usually happens as needed to cool off or just get wet do do something different.