where are your knuckles in canoeing?

Sort of a poll type question; where are your knuckles on your shaft hand when you are paddling in a comfortable sitting position or when kneeling as in whitewater paddling?

For me, both sitting and kneeling, I’m most comfortable with my knuckles above the gunnel, with the meaty part of the pinky on my shaft hand occasionally touching the gunnel. Just curious how others do it.



In my finger joints.

Dang near
in the water on the lower hand. My composite paddle is short and the water is high. Thank goodness for my new sealskin gloves for this northeast january river running. Course when I’m standing with the long wood paddle my knuckles are way above the canoe. ever since my son started soloing I can’t sit anymore, it’s all kneel or stand.

Roughly even with the gunwale
I often reach below gunwale level. I suppose I should consider whether this is such a good thing, but I’m mostly pretty comfortable doing so, except if I rub across the rough edges on a boat’s logo lettering. I know a greater spread between the hands creates more mechanical advantage, which is a natural thing for me to do since I’m no Scwartzeneger (sp), but maybe this is considered incorrect.

…that’s about where mine are.

Always getting banged up and bruised.

further investigation

– Last Updated: Jan-09-07 8:54 PM EST –

reveals my knuckles are at a different height every stroke. Guess it depends what I need to do at any given time.

A smidge higher than the gunnel for
routine cruising. Although rroberts says I drag my knuckles on the ground.

Above the gunwale
I’m 5’11" and usually use a long (60") paddle. That puts my grip hand about at my eyebrows and my shaft hand a little above the gunwale. During the correction, the shaft hand often rests on the gunwale. Daggermat also has a video of me (and his son Aaron) on the Farmington


Using a 56" paddle that day since the river was a little shallow.

You’re the only person…
…I know who can tie his shoes while standing and

not have to bend over.

At or below
I find that I’m most comfortable with my lower hand to be low on the shaft. It is definitely below the gunnel when I am kneeling and when I am paddling for power or doing a deep turning stroke.


yo strider
maybe if ya’ put the pole down we could get a paddling video of you too ;-).

knuckle location
When sitting, low, with single blade, the knuckles should be as low as possible - which is why marathon race boats have such extreme tumblehome.

Kneeling, WW C-1 racers often have the shaft hand at the paddle neck to better control blade feather, but remember that is a ~ 2 minute race for skilled athletes.

Mostly we want the knuckles slightly below the rail onside, but high enough to be able to get the blade in the water for cross strokes.


– Last Updated: Jan-10-07 2:24 PM EST –

You should learn to surf without switching sides. Then you can have fun getting windowshaded on your offside :)


And for the record - lower hand usually right above the gunwale, though sometimes below, sometimes choked up depending on the stroke.

about there
I am usually at the gunwale when tandem, or almost and (and sometimes in) the water when solo, depending on the paddle I am using.

nice video. I like switching sides, keeps me physically balanced, making up for my mental attributes.

At or below in the boat.
Dragging otherwise. 38" sleeve.

Nice Roll
Got some pool time in a couple of weeks with an instructor to try to show me how. We’ll see.

just being a smart#$%

– Last Updated: Jan-10-07 2:25 PM EST –

Not criticizing - just being a smart#%@, something I do a lot of. I obviously would have been a lot better off switching to the left for that ride. Of course, that hole has a lot of spin to it, so I would have wound up on my offside anyway if I'd stayed upright longer.

I wish I’d had an instructor when I was figuring out the OC roll. Have fun with your instructor, and don’t get too frustrated if your first attempts aren’t even CLOSE to successful.

My wife’s are usually…
…white and clinched around the gun’nuls.