Sam Fowlkes
ACA Safety and Rescue Committee Chair
347 Paddlers Trail
347 Paddlers Trail
Sylva, NC  28779
T. 828 586-6563
F. 828 586-9649
"Paddler" Articles by Sam!


click to enlarge "Perfecting the Forward Ferry"
Perfecting the Forward Ferry for Solo Canoe
Harness the power of moving water to glide across a river with precision using advanced blade and boat control. Balance the forces of canoe and current to “ride the glide!” Learn how to execute a “one stroke” ferry where angle and momentum merge into perfection. This world-class maneuver has been used in slalom competition to “win the gold” by champion canoeists worldwide.

Uses: Move across a current without heading downstream to:
Position your canoe to run a rapid, laterally eddy hop, set up for a scouting viewpoint or move onto that perfect wave for a sweet surf. Ferry a rescue line from shore to shore, assist a swimmer to a “safe eddy,” or tow a boat to shore.

Focus points:
Position – start low in the eddy near the eddy line to generate adequate speed to cross the eddy line current and maintain position. If ferrying across waves stay on the downslope and gravity will be your friend!
Angle – the key element in any ferry! Set your angle based on the current flow, not the riverbank. The principles are – start with less angle and open it up according to the distance to your destination, how much you want to go downstream and the speed you need. It is easier to maintain a small angle and more challenging to hold an opening angle, the trick is to find the perfect angle and hold it with a minimum of strokes.
Target – look where you want to go! Analyze the complete route and look for adjustments dictated by current seams, hesitation eddies and river features.
Lean – hold a lean downstream and towards the target. Slower current – less lean, faster current – more lean.
Stroke – generate momentum by keeping power strokes in front of your body (forward + cross forward), set and maintain angle with static draws or strokes in the stern close to the hull of the canoe (stern pry, stern draw + stern rudder).

"S" Turn

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