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How to Make Canoe Corrective Strokes

by  Jim Baird

Another beautiful day here on the Kesagami. This would be day three, if you count the day I got dropped off. One of the things that's important when you're solo paddling is your correction strokes.

And right now I'm just demonstrating the J stroke. Your top hand bends over like this. That's a great correction stroke. Basically, you're using the powerface of your paddle to spin to the outside of the stroke and then push against the water.

Then you have the Canadian, where you actually do a J stroke but then slice it back through the water before your next stroke starts. That's a great stroke.

One of my favorites that I was using to sneak up on the bald eagle is called the Indian stroke. It's a great silent stroke. It's also good in the wind. That's where you spin your paddle 360 degrees in your hand and you keep the blade in the water the entire time. And steer throughout the entire stroke. And it actually doesn't even hurt my horribly burnt hand.

Also, just the Stern Pry, which a lot of people use. I use it sometime after a J stroke quite a bit, and I just want a quick change or in rapids, the stern pry is the one to use right here. You can always pry off the gunnell too, when you're doing your stern pry. Pretty much any of the strokes you can use the gunnell to pry off, to strengthen it or rest your hand on.

And then the C stroke. It's like the Indian stroke, your paddle stays in the water. Great stroke to use in windy conditions again, but the paddle doesn't spin in your hand. Correction comes on your back stroke when the blade stays in the water. And I see some horse tails up ahead. Looks like we've got a rapid coming. I'll keep you posted.

Well, just ran my first rapid. I was definitely not expecting that great and that long of a rapid. I mean, that must've gone on for a couple of hundred meters. And to be honest with you, it got my dodging bullets. Nothing really dangerous, but definitely boulder ridden, no big water. Or else I would've thrown my spray deck on. A lot of fun testing my skills. And to be honest with you I'm feeling a little bit worried because this boat is really heavy. And I've never quite soloed in a boat this heavy before. And it's not very manoeuvrable. So I'm going to have to eat a lot of food to lighten up some weight. Or do some running at the heavier rapids after portaging the gear, because it's very hard to maneuver a solo boat when it's this heavy.

This video is Episode #3 of a great series by Adventurer Jim Baird that follows him on his solo journey down the Kesagami River in Northern Ontario.

More of this video series is available here:
Field & Stream

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