Some expert canoeists strongly advise kneeling in the bottom of the

canoe while paddling, for at least part of the time, but the usual

method is to sit on the seats provided at bow and stern, or sit on the

bottom. The kneeling paddler has her canoe in better control, and

becomes more one with it than one who sits. In shooting rapids and in

rough weather kneeling is the safest when one knows how to paddle in

that position. It is a good thing to learn both methods.

When you paddle close one hand firmly on the end of the paddle and the

other around the handle a short distance above the blade. Then, keeping

your body steady, dip your paddle into the water slightly in front of

you and sweep it backward and downward toward the stern, keeping it

close to the canoe. You face the bow in a canoe, remember, and reach

forward for your stroke. At the finish of a stroke turn the paddle

edgewise and slide it out of the water. For the next stroke bring the

blade forward, swinging it horizontally with the blade parallel to the

water, and slide it edgewise into the water again in front of you. Fig.

34 shows the beginning of a stroke, Fig. 35 while the stroke is in

progress, and Fig. 36 the ending. During the stroke bring your upper

hand forward across your face or breast, and with the lower draw the

blade through the water.

It is well to begin as bow paddler, for your duty there, in smooth

water, is to watch for obstructions such as hidden rocks and submerged

logs or snags, while the paddler at the stern must steer the canoe and

keep it in a straight course.

At the beginning learn to paddle as well from one side as from the

other. To be able to change sides is very restful and sometimes a quick

change will prevent an accident. Like many other things, the knack of

paddling will come with experience and will then require no more thought

than keeping your balance on a bicycle and steering it.

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