What have you experienced or seen that changed your thinking about paddling

What have you experienced or seen that changed your thinking about paddling

greenland paddle- there is no way I thought that would work, then I saw it and tried it

pedal drives- for a long time I thought pedal drives were only useful for fishermen who wanted their hands free and wanted to stay in one place in the current but then I got left in the dust by one and saw firsthand how fast they can be

sit on tops are less stable and slower than sit in kayaks, my original viewpoint was developed from rescueing ww paddlers on early ww sit on tops which were a bit slow and unstable but now I realize that there are many kinds of sit on tops and have paddled a few but have never worked my way up to a wave ski

bent shaft canoe paddles are only good in the bow, ok I’m still inclined to think this but I know I’m wrong from watching youtube videos of canoe racing

cell phones are worthless on the water and picture quality will be low , hey what can I say, there used to be no cell coverage in the new river gorge and picture taking capability has greatly improved on cell phones

paddle drags (corrections) are a normal part of paddling, my idea about this changed only after some aca instructor courses for kayaking but bad habits still carry on for me as I’m used to paddling a c1 and correcting on each stroke

sweep boats- these large gear hauling rafts with giant rudder oars, how could that ever work? but then I saw them on the middle fork of the salmon

Why would you ever want to use a kayak paddle in a canoe?.. and then I tried it and life became easier

I use to lean away from stuff when first starting out and then I learned to lean or get your weight into obstructions (high siding), I took a few swims and pins when I was starting out to get this concept.

the pry stroke is inferior to the draw stroke, not inferior just different, I got so I liked prys a lot and sometimes used a righting pry as a brace stroke

the best way to catch river waves is to turn around and start paddling forward, after lots of missed opportunities I started to ferry onto the shoulder of stuff and started to have a bit more success

paddle or sup leashes- totally bad idea from a ww perspective then I thought about it and the risk of losing a paddle on big open water and I get it now. I still have never leashed but I get it for some situations

self bailers are slower and more problematic than bucket boat rafts (the boat fills up with water in holes or the floor will rip out) hey what can I say, hard to find a bucket boat anymore for ww rafting

never stand up in ww, true most of the time but not all the time


Age has changed my perspective the most.
Fast and far have been replaced by comfortable and social.


There have been few equipment surprises.
Fast water has changed my thinking about suitable paddling partners.
Aging has definitely made me less brave.

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Mostly a set of stretching exercises that came from some PT sessions ~10 years ago. First I never thought that I could sit in a kayak and then I could but not for long. After working on stretching I can be comfortable (more or less) for quite a while in some fairly low volume kayaks. Longest was about 5.5 hours (25 miles) straight through. & that was after the first 5.5 hours (25 miles) in a Sawyer Cruiser.

Otherwise, bent shafts all the way (except in II+ WW) in canoes & GPs in kayaks.

Unless you are George Stockman solo in an Old Town Tripper. I swear that the first time I met him he was standing coming around Dimples.

the stand up myth got blown up right away for me when I paddled the dead river in maine in 1980 and saw a group standing up in their canoes and using long paddles. I tried poling up some class II+ rapids a few times but only ended up with banged up shins and knees. As far as “striding” goes that just looks nuts to me but that’s because I simply don’t have the skill.

Learning some Greenland techniques and getting more used to being in the water rather than always on the water made a big difference in how I see kayaking. Learning to roll was also very fun, both liberating and bringing many new challenges. I used to think getting a roll, any roll, would be the pinnacle of kayaking achievement. Now I see it as the start to a whole ‘nother journey.


All the things I have learned at least around here are not apparent to 99% of the paddlers I see on the water.
Things like:

Preparation is key to enjoyment. Every step from taking the canoe from where it is stored to the car and then getting it on and off and to the water and back home to its storage rack. Leaving nothing to chance makes the paddle so much more inviting.

PFDs are to be worn not stored or used as a backrest.

Dressing for immersion or at least waiting for water temps to reach a min safe level regardless of the air temp.

Understanding your skill level and those that you paddle with and staying within those levels.

Paddling is not like a thrill ride at an amusement park where the excitement is had but there is very real danger involved. The safety you bring is the safety you get.

Then there are things I never really saw around here but I quickly found a must even though no one else does. Things like adding flotation to a canoe or rec-kayak that makes all the difference flipping it over and getting back in and paddling away and letting it go and trying to swim to safety. Flotation is not just for whitewater.

Finding out a canoe that is properly trimmed is a pleasure to paddle compared to one that is not. Finding out if you sit in the center of a tandem canoe a kayak paddle works really great if you get one about a foot longer than you would normally find. Adding grab loops to both ends of a canoe and also painter lines will pay off many times over. Everything you carry out on the water needs to be lashed down as it is no fun chasing down a bunch of stuff when you take a swim.

Lastly you don’t need to spend a lot of money to enjoy paddling.


Jaws :laughing:


Over time I changed my ideas about what quality means in a kayak as a result of experiences. I learned that a prestigious brand name does not automatically mean a better hull design, more stable, or safer. I learned to ignore exaggerated claims about stability and the importance of becoming familiar with a kayak’s true performance in rough water. Longer is not always better. I learned to weigh risks, being reasonably careful but not giving up fun entirely in favor of guaranteed safety. I learned the pleasures of solo paddling in remote places. I learned that several small errors can build up into a dangerous situation. I learned not to prematurely anticipate an upper age limit for outdoor activities


Learning and using core rotation to paddle (rather than arm paddling) means my arms/shoulders do not hurt at all now at 69 while I was sore and aching after paddling in my early 40s thru mid 50s. I took some ACA lessons and then dedicated myself to practice when paddling to master & instinctively use core rotation vice arm paddling. It made a huge difference for me.


PFDs are to be worn not stored or used as a backrest. (I’m not as strong as I used to be, and I’m going to have a more difficult time fishing you out of the water.)

Paddlers don’t trash our rivers. Fishermen, hunters, locals, and tourists do.


I was paddling the upper Brazos in my Penobscot 174 (Plastic boat). This is a shallow-rocky river in north Texas. We pulled over for a break and my friend who was in an older Penobscot (Royalex) says, “Hey, you left something behind.” I looked back and he held up about an 8" strip of red plastic. I realized then that if I am to do any more of those shallow-rocky rivers I need a better boat. Just ordered a Prospecteur 16 (T-Formex) a couple days ago.

Can I ask what part of the Brazos you were in? I assume d/s of PK somewhere.

I have done some short trips in the Clear Fork, but there are lots of small impoundments to work around. Come to think of it, those little dams are what make parts of it floatable…

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That trip was the 38 miles below Possum Kingdom. I live down near Houston where it is not near as nice. Here is a video I did about a stretch near my house. https://youtu.be/4P0XUYRzzps?si=ipfYmSE7_n8-FMiU

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Nice day trip there on the lower Brazos. Those kind of put ins and take outs will put you to the test for sure.

Thanks for sharing, I hope to make a trip on the upper, but it needs a lot more water in it.

We did the upper for my son’s 18th birthday. He was just telling me the other day he would like to do it again. We had Rochelle’s shuttle us. He made us stop at his place to let us know we were going on down because he said most people give up after the first half. I’m glad we did. Our third night was our favorite camping spot.

The first experience was discovering folding kayaks 22 years ago and realizing that i could have a light and easily transported boat for travel.

Then the second “eureka” was trying a Greenland paddle 7 years later. I only got one because I had become interested in fixed skin on frame traditional Inuit style boats and bought one and thought that seemed the appropriate paddle.

It was a revelation and I have used GPs almost exclusively since then for any flat water or coastal paddling (the standard blade paddles are now carried as spares or used as loaners).

The third experience that changed my performance and enjoyment was discovering narrow beam, low volume kayaks that fit me so much better and were so much easier to paddle for distance and speed.

And the most recent (and maybe most gratifying discovery) was that even now, into my mid 70’s, I not only can continue to comfortably paddle but my confidence and abilities have improved with practice and from going to skills training camps.

I did recently add a lightweight solo canoe and a 33 pound sit on top (folder) to my fleet, in case I get too “elderly” to be able to wriggle into a keyhole cockpit, but so far that hasn’t had to happen.


Yes… getting relaxed and comfortable upside down or sideways is very liberating; learning how to make the GP “bite” the water.

A vivid experience that changed my view of paddling… trying to go in an inlet as the tide was rushing OUT. If you don’t learn something from that you’re not educable.

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Watched a you tube camper paddling solo in Massasauga Provincial Park and realized the buddy rule was not absolute. It started me on my tours of Georgian Bay.

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Camper Christine!