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Thread: canoe shy

  1. #1
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    Default canoe shy

    A few years back i had bought a decent canoe, and me and me bud took it out on the upper chena.....I was a beginer, and the waters were high....We capsized and almost lost the canoe;

    No i am canoe shy on any river?
    anyone have any advice how to break this?
    or know of a calm slow river to make a day trip out of?

  2. #2
    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    Stay off the river till you know what your doing, padle around a lake. The only way to learn anything is practice.
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    Member cristancanoe's Avatar
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    More time and experience in the canoe will give you confidence. I agree with Rick, continue with lakes and ponds until your ready.
    Going out with more experienced folks can provide a safety net and they can give pointers about how to manage the boat in moving water. Join a local club or take a class.

  4. #4
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Flipping a canoe is no big deal. Don't let it mean much. My first remote float trip in arctic NW Alaska, minute one, flipped my Ally pack canoe. All our gear going down river, shotgun on the bottom, it sucked. It was part of the experience. Granted, I don't want to repeat it, but it was part of the trip. Part of learning I should say. Get out on a lake in some shallow water and flip yourself on purpose. Knee or thigh deep water I mean. Find out what you can do in the canoe without flipping it, push the limits in a safe place. Then get out and float some class I rivers. Have fun with it. That is the point after all. Don't take yourself too seriously.



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  5. #5
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    You ever watch the skiers at the olympics?
    the bump skiers??
    the one that wins,, always,, always,, has their HEAD, placement exactly at right angle to the earths Gravity..
    if your head is off one or two inches... you will lose balance and points,,and control...... that is fact..
    the same goes with canoes, kayaks, bikes,, etc..
    you want to have the best balance,, just keep the old melon at that 90 degree angle and you will find that you can move your body around quite a bit,, and yet ,, maintain balance in the canoe..
    go out into a lake,, a shallow area just off shore.. only takes about 1 foot of water to do this excercise...
    put the paddle in floor of the canoe..
    Now,,,,You gotta be alone in the canoe,, no passengers...... just you.. sit in the front canoe seat,, backwards,, so your canoe rides flatter to the water,, sitting in the back keeps the bow to high and for solo,, you need to be near the center of the canoe,
    hold on to the gunwhales,,, now keep your head perfectly centered,, at right angle to the water.. or Gravity pull...
    push down on the left and right gunwhales alternately..
    so you are making the canoe body actually get off center,,back and forth,, back and forth now remember,,do not move your head,,, just your hips,, keep your head dead center..
    keep doing it more and more, putting more pressure on each hand , until you bring water into the canoe... back and forth,, back and forth,,
    soon the canoe will be full of water and yet you never tipped over..
    Its almost impossible for me to tip a canoe over..
    as long as you keep that old melon in that perfect position,, you cannot,, tip the canoe over... I promise..
    I teach canoe classes each year and after a lesson of this for about 30 minutes... it changes the students life for ever...
    NOW...
    Don't EVER ,,,let anyone in a canoe with you that does not understand this trick....
    except your dog.... I have not learned how to teach a dog this trick yet,,, ,,,,lol
    make the new Nimrod to the canoe,,,try it first before you set off..
    make them really understand it,,
    you will never be affraid again,, if you take control of your boat, and not let it control you..
    Moving water,,,, same thing,,,,, but like the Olympic skiers,,, it takes Practice to be able to keep your head in that perfect position on moving water or bumps,,, of any signifigance.. but always realize that your head only needs to be center to gravity,, not battling the angle of a roller or wave you are going into ..
    go to YOUTUBE,, watch some footage on surfers... they use the same game.. although many folks don't even know they are doing it.. those with good balance in sports use this technique,,,,
    now you are way ahead in this game.. much more than folks that have canoed all there lives... and they never really understood this trick..
    I take folks out every day.. on the canoe system... I always ask them their ability..???
    and yet almost none.. even those that profess to have many years of skill,, even know this keep your melon in the middle fact...
    they may have practiced it,,due to hours of paddling around figuring it out,, but never really understanding that the secret is just found in understanding,,,,,,,,,,,,,, and a few minutes practice..
    Enjoy the water.....
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  6. #6
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    Kinda funny responses so far... yet, in all seriousness - you'll best gain some levels of proficiency and confidence by learning as well as by experiencing.

    You could seek out someone experienced to instruct with regards to boat-types, what to have and why, go over primary flat water strokes with safety measures, graduate to secondary maneuvering with recovery techniques, then progress to moving waters.

    There are internet pages, DVDs, and books that can help out --- keeps your head in the game - particularly to some critical aspects of paddling that are indeed counter intuitive.

    I also feel that there are several stable, forgiving inflatables on the market (canoes & kayaks) that will boost confidence, not be so tipsy, have increased flotation throughout, plus often the case --- easier to get in and out of. The storage during the off-season is not an issue, transport options throughout Alaska become 10-fold, and these boats tend to hold value.


    Trying stuff out before you buy (rentals/demos) is another important option to consider that should not be overlooked.

  7. #7
    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DroppinDrakes89 View Post
    A few years back i had bought a decent canoe, and me and me bud took it out on the upper chena.....I was a beginer, and the waters were high....We capsized and almost lost the canoe;

    No i am canoe shy on any river?
    anyone have any advice how to break this?
    or know of a calm slow river to make a day trip out of?
    I know this may sound a bit odd........but you have to bond with a canoe, you have to find a canoe that brings you both pride, and confidence. Also pick up a few books too. Some canoes designs are a good balance of initial and secondary stability, hopefully you find a canoe like this. I just got back from 140 miles of water this moose season, we were the only canoe out there loaded with a 1000lbs of gear and people. When you get good, it feels great to know your canoe and what it can do. Over this past summer/fall, I've put at least a thousand miles in a square sterned canoe with a lift. Paddling, lining, motoring.......such an intimate connection with mother nature, and nostalgic too. Your fear is good, it's a respect thing, it will guide you and help you make the safest decisions. Just let the accident pass and get back on the water.

  8. #8
    Member oldmil007's Avatar
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    Thanks for the "melon" tip Max. Guess it's just been intuitive so far, but now I'll keep aware of it. (and pass it on to some of my more "entheusiastic" canoeing companions!)

    - Jay

  9. #9
    Member 1stimestar's Avatar
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    Try going out to the gravel pits south of town to get some canoe time in, in shallow water. A nice float trip I do with my kids in their own boat even is put in at Grahel Park and take out and Pioneer Park (the kayak, canoe rental place.) It's a bit of work to get out there as it has an eddy, but if you know to watch for it, it's fine. During the summer this is an easy, mostly shallow trip that only takes a couple of hours.
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  10. #10
    Member Rising_Creek's Avatar
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    Take a class from Knik Canoers and Kayakers. I am sure there is a similar group in Fairbanks. Through the winter go to a pool practice.

  11. #11

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    best way to learn how to canoe rivers is to go canoeing with someone who knows how. check with "fairbanks paddlers":

    http://www.fairbankspaddlers.org/

    to hook up with someone who knows.

    take a class, "canoe alaska" used to have classes, don't know if they still do or not, but fairbanks paddlers can point you in the right direction.

    finally, i don't agree with the notion that "flipping a canoe is no big deal". it can, and has, led to many deaths. its "no big deal" if it doesn't kill you. and, YES, there are plenty of places on the upper chena that can kill you.

    paddling on lakes and ponds will provide little knowledge when it comes to running rivers. DON'T think that because you've mastered chena lakes you are ready for the chena river they are NOT related, skillwise.

    learn with someone who knows what they are doing. then you'll be ready to go.

  12. #12

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    Yeah you should do all that. You can also buy or make some outriggers. I'm going to order some of these for extra stability fishing:
    http://www.nielsensoutriggercompany.com/Features.html

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