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Canoeing on a lake is one of the most beautiful experiences in the world. The serenity, the calm and the smell of the water are hard to find anywhere else. When you are in your canoe and you paddle along, breathing in, breathing out, and enjoying it to the full, you feel that you are alive.
There’s no better mindfulness exercise than this. However, all these are true only if you master the basics of canoeing. If you have to make effort to keep your canoe afloat and your body inside it, you’ll have very little time to relax and enjoy your time.
Due to the simplicity of lake canoeing, you don’t need a lot of gear. In fact, less is more, so try to avoid stuffing your canoe with lots of things you’re going to need to take care of while paddling.
For instance, you can take only your smartphone and use it as a photo camera instead of carrying a huge DSLR with two lenses and a box of accessories. Chances are you’re not going to want to stop paddling to take photos, so don’t overload your canoe with such stuff.
Similarly, you should avoid taking food with you. A bottle of water is something you’re going to need, so take it by all means. However, food isn’t really necessary. Make sure you eat before canoeing and you’re going to be fine.
The other thing you have to pay attention to are the correct paddling techniques. Beginners tend to use a lot their arms, so there’s no wonder they get exhausted pretty quickly. If you want to enjoy your lake canoe adventures to the full, you’d better learn how to use your core muscles to paddle.
This will ease the strain on your arms and will allow you to paddle for hours without feeling the fatigue. One useful technique is to reach forward as far as possible, in order to make your core muscles work. The twisting of your body will make the canoe move forward. This is also great exercise for your body and for those core muscles you don’t use that much during your regular day to day activities.
The canoe paddling speed is another thing to consider when canoeing on a lake. If you don’t race, there’s no point in trying to go very fast. The point is to have fun, to relax and to enjoy yourself, rather than to compete against your friends.
Try to find your rhythm and stick to it for as long as possible. If you are with a group, though, you may want to stay close together. In this case, the whole group should find a pace that suits all members. Setting the pace is usually the job of the group leader. He or she will notice when someone gets left behind and will slow down to temperate the group and to allow that person to catch up with the others.
Paddling with a partner will require you to become familiar with the double canoe techniques. For instance, keep in mind that both partners should paddle on the same side at the same time. This technique will help you keep your canoe on track on windy weather. As a canoe is usually lightweight, wind can become a problem, even when you’re on a lake, where there are not big waves.
If you want to learn the skill of canoeing and the different paddling techniques, you can either enroll in a course or watch some online videos. You’ll probably find lots of video materials and short training sessions on YouTube.
However, if you want to go for the real thing and to learn the correct way to canoe from the very beginning, consider finding a course near you. If you live nearby a lake, this shouldn’t be too difficult. Besides, the right course will allow you to become familiar with the basic safety rules and with the things to do in difficult situations.
If, for instance, you end up into the water, you need to know how to get back in your canoe with ease. This is more difficult than it seems, so you shouldn’t underestimate the value of a good canoeing trainer.