How to Steer and Paddle a Canoe : How to do the J Stroke in Canoeing

How to Steer and Paddle a Canoe : How to do the J Stroke in Canoeing


The J stroke is one of the more subtle strokes
you can do canoeing, but when you get it right it’s a very efficient way to correct your
forward momentum. For every forward stroke that sends you towards your off side, the
J stroke will help to bring you back toward your on side. The principal of the J stroke
is basically that we’re going to do a lot of small J strokes in order to keep our line
going forward rather than a few larger J strokes, which will make us steer more of a spaghetti
course kind of going in zigzags down the river or down the lake. The J stroke uses the power
face of the blade. This is the power face of this blade, the one that faces toward me
when I’m paddling. The same face of the blade is used for the correction because I turn
my upper wrist down and forward. When I have done that, I have the power face of the blade
facing away from the boat. Then I basically do a pry stroke. It’s like a quick pry using
the power face rather than as in the pry where the top thumb faces up, you use the back face.
Again, in the J stroke you’re using the power face. One of the tricks with a J stroke is
keeping the blade in the water while the face is in the right position. So a lot of people
are doing J strokes like this and that’s an air J. The air doesn’t so anything at all
to correct the direction of the boat. As long as you have the blade in the water, you can
be correcting the direction of the boat. So with a J stroke I’m going to take a regular
forward stroke. At the end, turn my top wrist forward. Keep my blade in the water, which
means my top hand has to be out over the gunnel and I’m going to do a quick pry or J off the
power face of the blade then I’m going to go back to another J stroke. You’ll see once
I get up to speed that the J has become very short and almost become part of the stroke.
The nice thing about this stroke is since it uses the power face to correct, there’s
no switching blade faces and so it’s a very smooth simple correction. Here’s what it looks
like. You’ll notice also that when I do the J that the strokes get shorter and shorter
and up to speed and the J stroke moves farther forward in the boat. As you get up to speed,
you can move the correction from back here up to here. That again makes for a more efficient
stroke and doesn’t call you to do the less efficient part of the stroke that’s behind
your body. That’s the J stroke.

38 thoughts on “How to Steer and Paddle a Canoe : How to do the J Stroke in Canoeing

  • July 5, 2008 at 6:01 am
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    I wish I had a canoe, and a place to use it.

    Reply
  • July 16, 2008 at 11:20 pm
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    Thanks for the insight!

    Reply
  • December 27, 2008 at 2:48 pm
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    For a different perspective (literally) on using the J, do a YouTube search on "ctcboater" and look for Solo Canoe Technique: Paddling in a straight line.

    Reply
  • July 9, 2009 at 9:58 pm
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    Impressive but for me complecated! hahahaha.I will just paddle one side to the other to keep straight 🙂

    Reply
  • July 15, 2009 at 1:51 am
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    Very useful clip! Thanks.

    Reply
  • July 24, 2009 at 3:44 pm
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    do you use the gunwale as a fulcrum for the pry at the end of the stroke

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  • August 28, 2009 at 5:01 pm
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    What the hell is he talking about at 1:14. I mean really, it has to be told that the paddle needs to be in the water? Wow.

    Reply
  • August 29, 2009 at 10:35 pm
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    Love this guy! He has great explanations. Now if you could just put out a video on the canadian stroke (knifing j stroke) and sculling!

    Reply
  • October 2, 2009 at 2:22 am
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    wow hostility.
    i just asked a question.

    Reply
  • October 2, 2009 at 1:24 pm
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    wtf are you talking about your still not answering my question.

    Reply
  • May 22, 2010 at 1:28 pm
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    probably the most useful video expert village has.

    Reply
  • July 27, 2010 at 7:14 pm
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    good shit! Appreciate it. I am going to the Spreewald close to Berlin tomorrow 🙂

    Reply
  • September 16, 2010 at 3:45 am
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    This video would be a lot better if the text didn't cover it the whole time…

    Reply
  • October 10, 2010 at 8:51 pm
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    fake the boat is not really there he used photoshop to make it look like the boat is in the water

    Reply
  • October 10, 2010 at 8:53 pm
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    @OgGz1 what is ceramaldensan??? i never heard of it

    Reply
  • October 10, 2010 at 9:02 pm
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    @OgGz1 my parents are from sweden and im borned and live for my whole life in sweden so im am swedish song too

    Reply
  • February 26, 2011 at 11:45 am
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    Thats the longest paddle i've ever seen

    Reply
  • May 6, 2011 at 8:01 pm
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    @Zelda123Zelda123 How do you kno? It looks like a Real canoe and it looks alot like its in the water. and why did u have to say it anyways? Nobody really cares about the boat in the water.

    Reply
  • May 18, 2011 at 2:56 am
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    @Zelda123Zelda12 sure?? it looks pretty real to me

    Reply
  • July 27, 2011 at 4:55 pm
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    I want to buy a canoe. Do you guys know a good brand of canoe? Is there a website of different designs? (eg. ferrari for cars)

    Reply
  • August 10, 2011 at 11:06 pm
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    Paddlin' the school canoe? You better believe that's a paddlin'

    Reply
  • August 18, 2011 at 2:58 pm
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    damn, this guy is a good paddler. It's harder than it looks folks.

    Reply
  • September 2, 2011 at 6:46 am
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    gtfo it ain't rocket science

    Reply
  • October 17, 2011 at 4:46 pm
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    Bruce, thanks a bunch for posting these up. I started getting serious about canoeing two years ago and I've watched your videos for pointers and they've been quite helpful!

    Reply
  • November 21, 2011 at 6:03 pm
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    @OgGz1 Know anything about power transfer? I seem to remember anything over the shoulder whilst kneeling can reduce J-stroke power. Proved on an Ergo Machine contraption I believe.

    Reply
  • April 19, 2012 at 6:11 pm
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    I guess your kidding

    Reply
  • June 22, 2012 at 4:01 am
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    2:00 how the hell do you photoshop those ripples? the guy is screwing with you.

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  • June 24, 2012 at 5:47 pm
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    Expertvillage must think the rest of the world is full of idiots. Lol

    Reply
  • July 19, 2012 at 12:51 am
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    fake, thats not a canoe its a potato

    Reply
  • August 31, 2012 at 10:39 am
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    Photoshop for video. Nice one.

    Reply
  • September 10, 2012 at 2:41 am
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    holeey shit braah yah helped me sah muuuch. I was stuck on a frozen lake freezin me tits off and then i found yah vidya! cheers ceeent saved me farkin lyfe!

    Reply
  • February 19, 2013 at 2:11 am
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    I would believe that only if an eagle snatched the oar from his hands.

    Reply
  • June 24, 2013 at 2:21 am
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    Appreciated that this is captioned and has transcript available, makes it really useful. Thanks

    Reply
  • October 13, 2013 at 6:44 am
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    Fuckin idiot

    Reply
  • February 24, 2014 at 3:19 am
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    This guy's technique is a big rough.  Note how the front of his canoe wobbles as he paddles.  The problem with his stroke is that he is treating the stroke as two separate movements.  Twist the paddle 90 degrees as you stroke backwards, pushing very slightly to the side.  You know you are doing a J-Stroke perfectly when the canoe goes dead straight. 

    Reply
  • June 1, 2014 at 12:53 am
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    that's cool!

    Reply
  • July 30, 2017 at 8:03 am
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    who uses a whitewater canoe to demonstrate paddling techniques on a flat water lake? it's like taking a trophy truck with off-road tire to a drag strip.

    Reply
  • July 3, 2019 at 8:21 pm
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    that quick pry at the end makes all the difference. thanks!

    Reply

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