poling while seated

Joined
Dec 7, 2013
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32
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Michigan
I don't find myself in a situation where I feel I need to pole very often. But, I have found myself in some shallows, particularly headed upstream where I thought it would be nice to have some shorter cross country ski type poles to "double pole" upstream. Has anyone here considered this? I do have a fairly narrow solo canoe so this would certainly be do-able. Thanks!!
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2013
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Long Island, NY
Welcome.

I haven't done it, or considered the technique, but I'd call it worth trying. Like you said, I'd imagine the canoe would have to be pretty narrow.
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
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Ontario
Haven't tried your idea but it sounds sort of exhausting. I'm relatively new to poling myself, and it is very tiring when trying to muscle upstream with just the arms, even in a gentle current. Found you really needed to use your body weight to make any real progress. Not sure if you'd get much power if you're going to be seated with a short pole in each arm. But give it a whirl and let us know how it turned out.

By the way, here's a vid I found on youtube of using a short pole while kneeling to go upwind near the shoreline so a short pole can work.

 
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A gentleman used this approach for the upstream sections of the NFCT last summer. I'll see if I can dig up his blog.
 
Joined
Feb 14, 2013
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989
I have done just a little poling from kneeling with one half of my two-piece pole. It's do-able if the current isn't pushy and not much of a drop. Using two poles one-handed, especially from seated...seems to me would be risking a shoulder injury.
 
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A discussion of plans vs. reality on a run at the NFCT last summer includes seated poling with ski poles. It's an interesting read. The ski pole section is well down the page.

http://users.gmavt.net/petermac/planning.html

I'm a stand up guy and enjoy poling as much, or more than, I like paddling.
 
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Feb 1, 2013
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Ontario
Thanks for the link. Seems like the ski pole method worked while kneeling in the boat. I'd imagine you'd have Popeye style arm muscles after a season of tripping like that.
 
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Feb 14, 2013
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Neat link, Littlebirds. I especially like the way the writer laid it out with the plans vs the results.

When I think of poling, I normally assume some current and ledges, with even some depth to the water. In the case of that link, it seems it was more just a way to go without damaging a good paddle in the shallows. Could be likely that the ski poles might suffer fatal damage if pushed hard - and that is a good thing. Might keep one from pushing hard enough to injure one's self.

I would still tend to go with a two-piece aluminum pole. One half could be used to pole from kneeling (and that pole seems to always come in handy in camp). I haven't tried it yet - but I bet it would be surprisingly do-able (with practice) to stand in some solo canoes with a tripping load. I base that on my experience poling loaded tandems. The low-profile weight makes the boat so much more stable - almost too stable at times. I also had a short experience standing with pole in an empty MR Freedom Solo. Not too bad, really. Sounds like something I am going to have to test in the Sojourn (loaded, I mean) when it warms up a bit.
 
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Feb 14, 2013
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989
BTW - just looking at the photos and description of the solo canoe used for that trip (no specs listed that I see), it seems like a canoe that might work relatively well as a poler - for someone with a developed sense of balance.

Also, BTW - the problem I would expect with using a short pole in each hand from seated or kneeling, is a lack of leverage - but not for what immediately comes to mind. If it were just a matter of pushing upstream, one can push as hard or soft as one wants or can tolerate. Forward progress can be made at whatever speed can be managed. But even that blogger mentioned problems with controlling his bow. Bow control requires some leverage - not just with the pole, but also on the pole. That requires two hands. Leverage also may be applied to the boat - not just for heeling to accommodate turns (roll), but also some directional twist (yaw). The best leverage is, of course, standing with both hands on a long pole. Kneeling is a compromise that can work in a narrow solo canoe. I don't see how one can possibly have usable leverage for good bow control with one hand on the pole, even with one on each side.

I think the "two ski pole" method might be useful in some cases - but extremely limiting.
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2013
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Boston Metro Northwest
I sometimes "pole" off the bottom with my paddle when tying to get back upstream in shallow water in my whitewater boat. I'm kneeling and using two hands on the paddle.
It's reasonably effective but not as strong as standing with a pole.
It's VERY tough on the paddle.
 
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