Help support the WCHA Forums by making a tax-deductible donation!

Partner issues

Discussion in 'Tips and Tricks' started by Treewater, Jul 17, 2014.

  1. Treewater

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    I just went on a two night paddle down the French Broad River in NC. After six years of solo paddling this is my first paddle with a partner. I have observations and questions about choosing a partner. At first I thought the only issue was to find someone with the time and willingness to go. Not so I think. Consider this:

    I. What is their experience level, at camping, at canoeing, kayaking, at rivers?
    2. Do they want the same thing from the trip, i.e. a challenge or a restful time in nature or a combination?
    3. Are you basically compatible in what may be tense or uncomfortable situations?
    4. A double kayak seems to require more coordination that a canoe. In a canoe, you will not necessarily need to coordinate your strokes but in a kayak it is essential.

    I went with my 35 y.o. daughter who is in good shape being a runner but had no experience in the kayak or river. She never turned and clobbered me with her paddle but that was only because she is a forgiving daughter.

    What say you all out there?
  2. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    There is an old joke about 'never say you know someone until you have been on a canoe trip with them' and you clearly need to consider more than just finding "someone with the time and willingness to go." You list looks like a good start.

  3. kayamedic

    kayamedic Kim Gass

    Two solo craft often work better than one. But inexperienced people seldom want solo

    Of your criteria #2 seems to be the most important.

    I've been paddling for fifty years and stopped long ago seeking partners actively. They occasionally happen. Sometimes not. I am not into arm twisting. That never works.

    Mostly I solo. Sometimes with husband.
  4. OP

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    I'm taking this to be a much overlooked or unspoken area of paddling. I've bought canoe and kayaks from couples and it was clear the boat was a serious point of disagreement. Usually this is evident when life jackets and paddles, even the roof rack, are included in the sale.

    Here is a comment from a kayak forum.

    Never do a long trip with someone you have never paddled with before. In most double kayaks, stroke coordination is not essential. Stern paddlers controls the direction, bow paddler the stroke rate.

    And this as well:

    My daughter is getting married next year to a really great guy who I met for the first time a few months ago when he visited us in Atlanta. The kids took my tandem, I was solo on a 4 hour paddle/float up and down the Chattahoochee River. I marveled at how the two of them were completely comfortable and in synch. Somehow they matched cadence and effort to make this a lesson in compatibility.

    I decided then and there that I would compose my wedding toast around the notion that "marriage is like a tandem kayak". I will explore the notions that you have to be in synch, you have to stay in the boat even when things get rough, one of you can pull harder if the other gets tired, you both need to just float every once in a while...well, you get the idea.

    My wife and I paddle almost every weekend together and yes, you need to be of a same mind when you share time in a boat.
  5. kayamedic

    kayamedic Kim Gass

    I'm going to be real blunt here. Some may be offended but I do not intend this personally.

    Stern paddlers often think they are in charge of the whole boat. I've seen it time and time again that they do not recognize the role of the bow paddler. While the stern controls the general direction, propulsion and accentuation of turns is the bow paddlers job. On rivers the bow paddler is in charge of avoiding rocks and the stern paddler follow. Discussion should follow after the obstacle.. not before.

    Blame gaming is always unacceptable. Each paddler is in charge of their own end of the boat.

    It seems to be an ingrained notion that canoe skills are part of a guys heredity. They are not. Canoe skills are acquired. Often poor skills are acquired by self teaching. It's true that you may be able to get from a to b but not as part of a team.

    Compatability is a learned skill. Two hours of instruction pays off handsomely. There is no need to quibble in a canoe. Once each end has an understanding of their job, differences settle and learning accelerates.

    Some skills you can pick up from a book. But a book is very poor at giving you feedback. What you think you are doing and what you are doing are sometimes quite different. You need a live person watching to pick up on this.
  6. MackyM

    MackyM LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Sign me up!
  7. OP

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    My daughter thanks you in absentia. I am thanking you too late but next time I'll do better.

    I'll add a little bluntness to this as well. It is the habit of many men, myself included, that if they really don't know quite what they are doing they raise their voices somehow thinking this helps. Of course, it only makes things worse.
  8. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    There's also the "inherent" assumption that the man should take the stern, part of the issues discussed above, while the woman takes the bow. What you really want is the stronger paddler (usually the man) in the bow, while the paddler in the stern needs to be able to execute the finesse -- usually considered a "woman's trait." But as Kim said, two hours of instruction goes a long way! There's a lot to be said for both persons being able to take both ends of the canoe. Especially on an expedition.

Share This Page