How to canoe alone during kayaking using the J Stroke
It’s true that kayaking becomes easier when paddling with a partner because each side of the water gets same strokes same time or simultaneously. This is the reason why most inflatable kayaks comes with two seaters so you can always have a cool sail.
But sometimes you may not always have a partner to go with you on the water. Canoeing alone becomes the only option and if you don’t know your onions, you may get stocked in the middle of the water.
First if you use a kayak with double seat, you must know that it will be almost impossible to canoe alone because the seats are positioned so that both paddlers can have easy strokes.
This is why we encourage buying tandem kayaks that their seats can be adjusted if need be for a single paddler. But if you have a kayak with one seater, then you wouldn’t have any challenge.
If you want to canoe alone, you must position the seat at the middle of the kayak. Same applies if you are using a wooden canoe, it will be advisable to seat at the middle. This is the position where you will be able to have full control of your kayak on water. It also ensures the other end of the cone don’t get too raised off the water – stability during paddling is uttermost.
Canoeing alone is easy if you apply the J stroke. With this technique, you wouldn’t have to switch your paddle to the other side for every few stroke. This technique ensures you keep moving straight.
Use both hands to handle the paddle with one hand at the tip and the other just above the blade. There is no particular recommendation of the hand to use. Preference of hand differs form person, so you should use that which is more comfortable for you.
Extend the paddle on the side of the canoe corresponding to the lower hand and place inside the water while the other upper hand extends towards you – this is just the normal way of paddling so anyone should understand this if you have ever paddled a cone.
Ensure the blade of the paddle is fully immersed in the water and then pull the paddle towards you for a forward trust of the canoe. Pull until your lower hand is almost behind you. The force and pressure of the pull should be place on the lower hand. This is for the first stroke.
Now, turn the paddle at 90 degrees so that the face of the paddle becomes parallel to the body of the canoe or kayak. Then using the edge of the canoe as a fulcrum and pulling the top of the paddle in the opposite direction, Push the blade out away from the canoe. This makes a J-path on the water.
You can repeat the steps again over and over. This steps ensures that the canoe keeps on moving in a straight path without bending towards the side of the paddle. You may find it difficult at first, but constant practise will make you a master in it.