If you paddle down a river with a big, inflatable or slim, racing canoe, the basic laws of river flows and forces stay the same, and the effects of strong current can have an effect on whichever craft you choose to use. I would like to give some basic tips for consideration on river canoe trips.
How to paddle upstream
In a fast flowing river, there is usually a strong flowing stream in the middle. This fast flowing water creates small whirlpools on the sides of the main stream. The effect of these small counter streams can be utilized by a paddler to easily paddle upstream. It is important to find the optimal position, with the maximum benefit. This is usually close to the side of the bank.
How to approach a big swell with a very unstable canoe.
Imagine you find yourself in the middle of a large, open river in a very unstable canoe and there is a friendly ski-boat owner that wants to pass very close by you to make sure you see his smile. What will you do in such a situation to keep inside your canoe, and not capsize when he passes close by you?
The easiest way to paddle big waves is to meet them on a 90-degree angle as illustrated. This will result in the forces not meeting the canoe from the side, and make your chances of ending up swimming, much less.
How to consider a bend in a fast flowing river.
This could be a real big problem when coming down an unknown turn in a fast flowing river. The force of fast flowing water around a bend tends to push floating objects to the outside. This could result in difficult or dangerous situations for paddlers. The stream pushes canoes in the same direction as big tree logs and could push your craft right underneath a huge tree log if you are not alert. Try to take an inside line, to end up in the middle of the stream, after the bend.
A weir is a large wall inside a river. It is normally used to block water and it creates a small lake inside the river. Usually it is safe to shoot the wall with no problem and it is very exciting, but this could be a very dangerous situation if you fall out in the process and need to swim to safety. You will know if you are in danger if you cannot manage to get away from the suction and it keeps pulling you closer.
How to get out of a dangerous situation:
- Stay Calm
- Get rid of the lifejacket- It is important to dispose of the lifejacket because the buoyancy keeps you floating and is what keeps you close to the danger area.
- Dive down as far as possible and swim away from the danger area.
I hope my tips could be a great benefit for your next river canoe trip.