Paddling Fundamentals

Carrying a Canoe

Mid-Course Assessment

The mid course evaluation was a good opportunity to apply and hone in on some of the new skills that we have learned thus far.  I feel that Jack and I did a great job throughout this assessment.  However, there were some areas throughout my performance that could of used some improvement.  One example would be using sweeps to spin the canoe.  I noticed that I could have placed the paddle more to the centerline as well reaching out as far away from the pivot point as possible.  Rotating torso could have been better demonstrated in both sweeps and sculls while spinning the canoe. Also, just keeping my arms straighter and using my core more are two areas that could have been improved, as well as keeping the paddle more vertical throughout some of the spin maneuvers.  


Mid-Course Video

Nature Nugget: Asain Longhorn Beetle

Asian Longhorned Beetle

About Me!

Hello!  My name is Marshall Davis.  Having spent most of my life in Northern Maine and spending most of it outdoors, I thought that with my previous background in canoeing that this course wouldn’t be all that bad.  I couldn’t help but think to myself that there cannot be that much to know, just stay balanced, don’t flip over, and you’ll be fine.  However, I was in for quick awakening when I realized that there is more to canoeing then just putting the paddle in the water and applying a forward motion.  Over the past semester, my skills and knowledge about canoeing has expanded well beyond anything that I could have anticipated.  From learning about the various strokes, maneuvers, and when to apply them, made for a very challenging but exciting time out on the water! Whether you are on flat water or on a river, there are always certain strokes and maneuvers that can be applied to make your experience a safe and enjoyable one.  


Introduction and Course Goals

For this course, one of my goals was to learn the proper paddling strokes and maneuvers in order to traverse safely through various waters.  I feel that for this course, where we will be paddling on both flat and moving water that it is important to have the proper skill and knowledge to prevent any danger or risk that one can experience.  In addition, I would like to improve my level of comfort and ability to read water in certain situations that may be otherwise, very challenging.  Overall, being a beginner in this course I always found myself learning something new.  It was a lot of fun and I feel much more confident now that I have completed this course.  


Float Plan Reflection

Leader of the day was an awesome experience.  Jack, my fellow partner, and I, chose a section of the Pemigewasset River to have our class on.  We also decided to go upstream at our put in location which worked out fairly well since the conditions were not so great.  It was raining and the temperatures were fairly cool, so by going upstream the group was able to stay a little bit warmer.  We also taught our lesson plans and nature nuggets which seemed to go fairly well.  For the most part, this was a good experience that allowed us to practice our teaching skills, but also participating in some of the logistics and preparation that is needed before each class begins.    

Website for current conditions (very useful) :


Pemigewasset River

I still have some work to do..

Boat on Boat Rescue

Final Assessment

The final assessment was pretty fun.  It was much different from the mid-course assessment where we were applying strokes more suitable for flat water and not as much for river.  Some of the strokes that we used during this assessment were the S-turn, Peel-out, U-turn, and forward/backward ferrying.  These strokes are just as useful as they are fun.  Learning to catch an eddie, moving to one side of the river to the other by forward ferrying, or peeling out are all such a blast when paddling on a river.  I thought that Dwayne and I did a great job throughout this assessment and applied the proper mechanics to maneuver through some of the obstacles and river features that were present.  Overall, I feel I could have improved on my duffek by planting my paddle further away from the centerline and following through with a forward stroke to maintain momentum.  I noticed that my angles for entering and leaving eddies could have been much better and using the proper reverse sweeps for doing a U-turn as well.  

Final Video

Lesson Plan: CHAGA!!


First Name: Marshall

Last Name: Davis

Town: Plymouth

School: Plymouth State University