What skills are you currently working on?

I ask this because I’ve got more bad habits than just about anybody I paddle with. I was mostly self taught with very little formal instruction. So now I take a class every couple of years and the list of what to fix seems to gets longer rather than shorter. Regardless of what you paddle or where you paddle, we all can work to improve if we so desire.

I’ll start out positive and here is what is improving for me: sitting up straight (posture), core rotation while paddling, my forward stoke has improved and the last several years I’ve paid more attention to outfitting and buy a boat that actually fits and supports me. I do my fair share of straight arm paddling drills, think about arching the back, lifting the chin up a bit, and keeping the weight just forward of center. I’ve been working on this for several years now. I’ve been improving my focus- rotating the core (looking) to get to where I want to go.

My rolling is improving, all be it very slowly. While I still am struggling with good rotation on a sweep roll and still don’t have a strong combat roll. I have much more success in some boats than others. Prior to getting the hips replaced I was walking with a noticeable limp and rolling wasn’t even an option. So it’s a process for me, but pool time is now hard to come by again so I force myself to practice on river trips when the water temp is reasonable and water not polluted.

What is still bad: basic stroke techniques. I still don’t always put the full blade into the water, still generate some splash, and when demonstrating I need to slow everything down although that is improving a bit. With my last class (in June) I found out I have duel control hand issues (puts more wear and tear on the body), I need to keep my right elbow tucked in more when drawing on the right side. I need cleaner exits on my paddle strokes. Something I’ve added the last few years is stroke practice with the eyes closed.

Stroke sequences- apparently some stroke combinations are more efficient than others. I like trying different ways to control spin on eddy turns and peelouts but have noticed the “right way” varies from one instructor to another. I guess what I’m saying is the water is pretty muddy and for instructor trainers stroke sequences are a moving target for their students.

What I’m not likely to change- more rotation on stern rudders and some slight adjustments in paddle angles. Some techniques that have been reccomended hurt a bit (in the shoulders and wrist) and while it might be textbook I’m thinkin’ not so good for me.

I’ve been told I still do way too much bracing and brace when I don’t need to. I am certain that is true and slows my progress. On the other hand, I’m not swimming as much as a lot of other folks. I think to a large extent I’ll probably always be a float and brace kind of guy. I’ve just had a lot of success with that and feel pretty secure in a class III environment. Lately though, I have been doing a lot more eddy turns without paddle plants, just relying on boat angle and weight shifts. A tiny baby step toward a more active style.

What are you working on?

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Mostly I ride my bicycle but when I get in the kayak I’ve been getting better at bracing WAY off balance. Like the boat is approaching 90 degrees to the water and I can kinda hang there and go back to upright. (OK, approaching an 80 degree angle). Last summer I couldn’t get that far over. Old dogs CAN learn new tricks. (I’m talking about bracing without plopping into the water; head and shoulders stay dry.)

Nothing overly sexy; trying to ‘perfect’ my low brace turns and working on my roll.



Staying alive. Fair success so far.


I’m really new to this, so my goal so far has been to get from point A to point B without any noteworthy issues along the way.

In doing this (canoe) I’m trying to learn my capabilities along with the canoes capabilities by stopping and getting out flipping it over and recovering from that. I figure 40 years ago that would have been a much simpler task than it is today so that is where my capabilities come in. Matching the advice you are given to what you can actually do is key.

As posted above staying alive is the main objective of all of it. :canoe:


Just recently climbed back into my fast boat. Had surgery for an SCC that had unintended consequences. Got work to do on all of the levels of skill it takes to paddle that boat ( Westside Wave Exceed at 19feet long and an 18 inch beam)

I like to practice basic skills, such as sculling draws, stern rudders, bow rudders, cross bow rudders, low brace turns, and side slips. On both sides.

Still can’t get my paddle shaft vertical for the sculling draw.

Forward stroke is a continual work in progress. At my last forward stroke class I was told to keep my arm straighter. We were supposed to have gotten a copy of the video taken during that class but the instructor didn’t bother to follow up, which was disappointing.

Ballet studios have mirrors. Paddling environments don’t. Guess I’ll have to set up my GoPro to see what my arms are doing.




At 68 6’ 235+ lb. Getting in my 29" x 16" Extreme cockpits.


Working on some self rescues. Becoming more comfortable in somewhat more dynamic water. Forward strokes always are in need of work. Offside (left side) strokes - sculling draws and bow rudders. Also, getting a deeper edge on the left side.

I know how to paddle and row.
Mostly I am working on Gratitude, Acceptance and Patience.
Working with dogs and horses really helps.


Trying not to look like an old man getting in and out of my kayak.


The skill I am working on, is cooking. I have consumed a lifetimes worth of Cliff Bars, so many I cannot face tomorrow’s shopping trip to supply my next trip. (Trip… Deso/Gray Canyons, Green River, Utah 9 days. Plus I may do Lake Mohave and or Lake Havasu. From the Dam down to Lake Havasu City is about 120 miles)

Okay, the plethora of instant potatoes ? Lovely idea, and enough salt to make the Atlanic a bit green. Bear something soups and chilis, even more salt Spam, salt and how many ways can you deal with Spam.

Cliff Bars or others, Brothers, Luna, etc. for breakfast and lunch, combined with coffee, water, GatorAid, fresh apples and oranges, those travel well. But then dinner. Onions travel well, lemons, Roma tomatoes. There are some packages of various sausages and meats that do not require fridge.

Please, someone make a suggestion other than DintyMoore, or Ravioli.

6,000 calories per day, approx.

I am working on it, but a canoe, 2 weeks or more worth of grub. And just about every common dehydrated or canned anything has enough salt, that if you consume all 8 servings, you gonna die.

Working on paddling a canoe while sitting since I’ve always been a kneeler.

Here’s a place to start: https://www.mi-paddleadventure.com/backcountry-cookbook-michael-gray/

I’ve had the pleasure of eating Michael’s cooking and have made several of the recipes on trips. Otherwise, start thinking about a dehydrator and a vacuum sealer.

I’ve rehydrated several freeze dries meals in my time. Mountain House has the best flavor that I have come across, though they sometimes need a little salt and pepper.

Tom, I do both. When Traveling the Green next week, (providing there is any water in it.) on the flats I sit the seat, eat, drink, read a book, take pictures, let the current do most of the work. When I hear the rush of the rapids around the next bend, I slide forward onto my knees and deal with the white water. Canoe has a full cover, but the skirt can only be zipped up when I slide forward onto my knees. The sitting part you refer to. My seat was positioned for me in this highly customized boat. It is forward of the classic position and inches lower. I do strongly recommend the lower seat. My butt is barely higher than a full kneel position. As you well know, the kneeling position allows tremendous boat gyrations without throwing me around. But a tractor seat and lowered, not that different. With that positioning, you will have zero problem switching to a seat.

Perfect. I may not be able to do much about this trip, but I live in Michigan. He is only 200 miles away.

Knorr Side dishes are tasty and easy to cook. Read the directions as some call for milk. Most cook in 7 to 10 minutes. They all call for butter, but it is optional. We make them without adding butter. Also, butter does not have to be refrigerated. It keeps well at room temperature but may go rancid faster at higher temperatures.

If you like Indian food the grocery store has packets that are shelf stable. Best if served over rice. The Success rice boil in bags are pre measured and cook in 10 minutes.

For a recipe… how about my Rustic Tomato Pasta:
Three color spiral pasta
Chopped tomatoes (if you can’t get homegrown Roma’s use the multicolor cherry tomatoes)
Chopped garlic (garlic travels well)
Basil and or oregano (dried works)
Olive oil
Chopped string cheese (should travel ok for several days)

Cook the pasta and drain, add tomatoes, garlic, basil, oregano, olive oil (small amount) and cheese.

Have fun,