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Decked Canoes, Open Canoes, as long as they're canoes!
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Thu Dec 09, 2010 11:32 pm

When I was boating everyday, I could paddle on either side about the same. I am now pretty much a righty I will swap hands if the rapid calls for it. Some rapids are easier lefty then others. I think it is a party trick that can be useful. (When I paddle lefty now I am scared sh*tless.)

Thu Dec 09, 2010 11:48 pm

i am right handed and i paddle on the right nearly all the time. i sometimes practice on the left in pools or during long paddles out. i can raft guide up to class IVish on either side, but when i get into more serious stuff, i am only comfortable on the right. \

that said, i regularly paddle w/ a guy who despite having good cross strokes, still switches sides pretty frequently, often in the middle of a rapid. and it surely doesn't slow him down. i hope to paddle as well as he does.

Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:32 am

i am a right handed person but mainly paddle left handed

started paddling tandem and i was the smallest person and usually the bow paddler so i ended up paddling left and it just stuck

Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:38 am

it's obvious to me.. some of you still don't know if your a left handed boater.. or a right.. i like to ask myself this while i'm upside down... i place my right hand over my left heart.. or left thumping gizzrad.. and repeat the pledge of alligience, this was the only way i ever learned the difference in l... r... in the first place , and it's bomb proof.. or i have concussion~

Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:44 am

dcdavid, Thanks, thats what I was basically wondering. Sometimes the folks that do a sport are really entrenched in "A" way of doing things.

We ran a very stout drop on Thursday easily 5.1 that if I was Tom I would have seriously considered a side shift.....but thats just me.
So I've been stewing on the one drop switch sides thing for a bit.
Last edited by Creeker on Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:52 am

FullGnarlzOC wrote: I will go to my grave trying to turn the whole "onside/offside move thing" into a non issue.

I'm pretty sure that's not a good idea.

I like switching, but I usually paddle left.

Fri Dec 10, 2010 1:11 am

I'm right handed and paddle on the left. The T-grip controls the paddle for me so it feels natural to have my more coordinated hand there. On pools/flatwater I'll often switch to the right side, but I wouldn't run a rapid.

I wouldn't worry about what people think if switching feels good. I would be worried about dropping the paddle, and a cross stroke might be faster. Plus it just looks so cool.

Fri Dec 10, 2010 1:12 am

Nolan Whitesell switches as do several other very good paddlers I know. I asked Nolan once if he thought it a good idea. He said that switching was good only if you developed an equally good cross forward stroke on both sides, too. He said that he recommends switching only for moves from the offside that require more power than you will likely get from the cross. He said that he felt paddlers should favor one side and switch only two or three times in a day. Switching often or within a rapid he says is clumsy and takes up too much time and interferes with timing.

Fri Dec 10, 2010 2:09 am

Long, long time ago I saw a video of some hot shot boaters running a south American river, the Futalefeu (sp) maybe - might have been a National Geographic special. I thinka Risa Shimoda was in a squirt boat? Can't remember the others except for Nolan. One slow mo sequence I ran back and forth over and over - Nolan was running some spout with a folder flow or something, any how it started to roll him to his off side - *while going down the spout he switched sides* - he either low braced or rolled up *on that side* seemingly all in one motion. At least that's what I 'member. So, remember that some folks just paddle on another level when you consider what he says vs wha he does :lol:

Fri Dec 10, 2010 3:41 am

Big Al.... You can still get stoned in Iran..... for adultery. :o

Fri Dec 10, 2010 4:26 am

I think the worst advice I was ever given was to "pick a side and stick with it". At the time, I could roll "the right way" and "leftie", but I'm not sure I can roll on the left anymore.
I'm actually trying to train myself to paddle from the left now when I am demoing instructional skills. For me, it just feels wrong and I normally switch back quickly.
I know that when I was a kid, canoers would turn around and run Shoulder Snapper backwards on the Tygart so they could brace on their strong side.
I think Wes Gentry looks like a badass, crossed over on The Canoe Movie's disc.
I also like Jim Coffey's cross forward tuck and huck.

Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:25 am

"Switching" as in being able paddle sometimes on either side, is a great option to have. "Switching" as in flailing your paddle around from side-to-side every few strokes to getdown the river is not cool. Switching on occasion is fine, as long as you're able to fully control the boat on both sides, being dependent on constant switching is bad.

I thought I was pretty ambidexterous at a time, from my tripping background, but as you get into paddling harder rapids/lines, you'll probably realize there's a side you prefer. I'm OK on my right, but it doesn't feel right on rapids that challenge me, and I want back to my left.

For a break or a challenge, I like "switching" and paddling stretches on my right sometimes.

Do whatever, just don't flail.


Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:29 pm

I can barely paddle as a Lefty on flatwater. Kayakers always ask, 'why not just switch side for Statline?' Well, cause i can't mostly. Best thing you can do is learn on both sides from the get go. If I ever start going to pool sessions again, I'm going to start trying to roll as a lefty. I can kinda go straight paddling lefty on flatwater, but after a few lousy attempts at cross strokes, I usually switch back.

Dennis Huntley, who is probably the most well rounded boater I've ever met, does switch sides, sometimes mid-rapid. I saw him switch sides somewhere on the Watauga and the first stroke he took was a cross. Now that's just showing off.....

Fri Dec 10, 2010 2:54 pm

oopsiflipped wrote:Kayakers always ask, 'why not just switch side for Statline?'

I got that once (not at Stateline). My response was to point out that the previous day, the same kayaker had complained about how it "felt weird" to carry his boat on his left shoulder since he was used to carrying it on his right.

Fri Dec 10, 2010 3:21 pm

I paddle mostly as a right but have been working on the lefty thing to build up "musle memory" since there are a number of times you need to be on the "other" side to make a particular move less stressful.
I'll switch when need do but still work on the off side tech too.

Eli posted...
..I know that when I was a kid, canoers would turn around and run Shoulder Snapper backwards on the Tygart so they could brace on their strong side.

Picturing that in my mind's eye a higher flows makes keep on working on the off side.

I trained my right handed son as a left for canoe and shredder paddling and he is not more comfortable with the left being his on side. Anyone else a righty paddling lefty or versa visa? I think I'll need to work with him so he can paddle righty now too. Just makes more sense to have solid skills on both sides of the boat IMHO.
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