How did you learn?

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I pretty much picked it up on my own as a young lad during my summers at a friend's place in Cobden, Ontario. ("young lad" is a term that always brings me back to those wonderful summers of my youth back then in Cobden)

I guess the goon stroke was my go-to stroke, later in life I picked up a book or magazine and learned to paddle somewhat better. I never had any formal instruction, no doubt I would have benefitted from it.
Goonie is a legit stroke. THE stroke for straight line river travel.
 
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Goonie is a legit stroke. THE stroke for straight line river travel.
During one of my whitewater courses, the instructor referred to the “goonstroke” as a “River J.” It’s a more powerful correction, appropriate when such a powerful correction is needed. The instructor cautioned not to hold it so long that the canoe lost momentum,, which could introduce other problems. Although he didn’t use it as THE stroke for whitewater, he certainly recommended it as a valuable correction stroke. Short and quick.

He asked us how often we should use it. We didn’t know the answer, which was “as needed.”
 
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Catamarans are fun. We have lashed canoes together several times on easy rivers. I have used a bed sheet as a sail.

My cousin and I hatched a plan once for a 150 mile trip down Roosevelt Lake, WA. This was in his canned ham trailer at 4 in the morning. We plan to lash 3 canoes together and build a plywood deck with a mast and a small outboard. Deck chairs on the deck. After many years at Burning Man, we decided to call it "Floating Man."
 
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I learned the basic strokes at a canoe camp as a kid long ago. Haven't progressed much beyond them and really don't need to for the paddling I do, but have used them enough to know which ones to use and when. My son started whitewater paddling this summer, so if he ever drags me along I might have to up my game. I can dream.

Would love to get a tandem lesson with my wife. Or maybe ask her to paddle stern some.
 
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I learned the basic strokes at a canoe camp as a kid long ago. Haven't progressed much beyond them and really don't need to for the paddling I do, but have used them enough to know which ones to use and when. My son started whitewater paddling this summer, so if he ever drags me along I might have to up my game. I can dream.

Would love to get a tandem lesson with my wife. Or maybe ask her to paddle stern some.
I think it’s useful for paddling partners, such as husband and wife, to alternate between bow and stern, which allows both people to become more aware of the different challenges in bow and stern, particularly in moving water. It also allows the husband who usually paddles stern to become more humble. Kathleen and I used to teach introductory canoeing to new members of our club. I had a call from a new member about our lessons. I told him that we usually prefer husbands and wives not to paddle together, because sometimes their marriage dynamics get in the way. He didn’t like that, but supported our fallback position that his wife should paddle in the stern half of the time. He liked that, and I quote: “That would be good, because when she’s in the bow, the canoe doesn’t go straight.”

With our club on day trips, Kathleen and I switched positions after lunch. This gave us confidence in both bow and stern. This was often useful, as sometimes paddling partners in other boats were not doing well, or just not getting along. So Kathleen and I would volunteer to switch with them. Kathleen with one of them, me with the other. New paddlers often have strong preferences for bow or stern. I would ask my new partner what position they wanted, and I would happily take the other. Same for Kathleen.
 
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my dad taught me. He was a part- time ranger doing backwoods patrols all summer, I started as a baby riding in the centre and trying to spear lily pads with my little 20" paddle, by the time I was about 4 I could do most strokes while sitting on a pack, by 5 or 6 I was occasionally in the bow seat and running white water, by 12 I had my own canoe.
What a wonderful way to grow up!
 
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Catamarans are fun. We have lashed canoes together several times on easy rivers. I have used a bed sheet as a sail.

My cousin and I hatched a plan once for a 150 mile trip down Roosevelt Lake, WA. This was in his canned ham trailer at 4 in the morning. We plan to lash 3 canoes together and build a plywood deck with a mast and a small outboard. Deck chairs on the deck. After many years at Burning Man, we decided to call it "Floating Man."
Was there alcohol involved?😉
 
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What a wonderful way to grow up!
as I look back on it, it was, but it was also a lonely way to grow up- I saw zero friends between the end of school and the beginning of the new school year. we'd spend the entire summer either in tent's, ranger cabins, or crew camps and were the only kids around for miles. He quit when they stopped allowing families to travel with the rangers, I was 13 by then
 
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I think it’s useful for paddling partners, such as husband and wife, to alternate between bow and stern, which allows both people to become more aware of the different challenges in bow and stern, particularly in moving water. It also allows the husband who usually paddles stern to become more humble.
My wife is wholly uninterested in learning new strokes when I try to teach her by demonstrating off the water. Doesn't even pay attention really. Hopefully seeing them in action will help her see her way clear to learning. But first I've got to get her in the stern, which is going to be problematic enough. And if I can't, that's ok too. Still my favorite paddling partner regardless, and I've at least talked her into an overnight this coming season. :)

I will say the last time I was in the bow, a couple of years ago with my kid in the stern, it was a little weird and discomfiting having so little boat in front of me. So I get the humble part that way as well.
 
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