Canoe Design.

Hull shape.


All canoes should have fine ends. There is no benefit to having a stubby bow, the only reason why some canoes do is because of the limitations of the construction materials.


Rocker, or how banana shaped the hull is. Touring canoes are best with a little rocker, makes them relatively easy to travel in a straight line and still possible to turn. White water canoes, like the Prospector, have more rocker; which provides for better manoeuvrability but will require more effort to paddle long distances. However if you are paddling double the difference is subtle. Racing canoes have almost no rocker for maximum waterline length and ease of travelling in a straight line.


Tumblehome, or how much the sides curve inwards. All recreational canoes should have some tumblehome. This makes for an easier paddle stroke, the paddle can be held closer to the body which generates more power and less strain on the arms. Tumblehome also helps the canoe to turn when heeled over and gives better secondary stability. Narrow racing canoes don’t need tumblehome. Another reason why you may see a canoe without tumblehome is because it is cheaper for the manufacturers to ship the hulls if they can be stacked inside each other.





A few do’s and don’ts.

Don’t get into the canoe on dry land or in shallow water if the hull is resting on a rough/rocky surface.

Always wear a buoyancy aid, carry a bailer and a spare paddle.

Be aware of the weather and any tidal conditions, Canadian canoes are very susceptible to the wind so be particularly careful about open water in an off shore wind.

Carry a means of calling for help.

Let someone know where you are going and when you will be back.

Keep children/beginners within sight.

Practise self rescue. Capsize the canoe, bail it out and climb back in (easier with two people but possible with one).

Practise paddling a swamped canoe. Wedge your legs under a seat and you should be able to make slow progress.

Don’t try lifting a canoe full of water, bail it out first. Even trying to roll a full canoe on it’s side would cause a huge strain on the hull.

Use good technique if you are lifting a canoe on your own - bend the knees, hold the thwart and roll it up above your head so the yoke is resting on your shoulders.