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knowing when to rock and when to roll are the keys to the one-person canoe lift
the thought of tossing a 16-foot canoe over your head and down onto the base of your neck gunwale and yoke finish the roll. Settle the
can be intimidating—until you’ve been schooled in the finer technical points of the one- yoke down on your shoulders.
person canoe lift. as impressive as it looks, the weight of the canoe is easily managed by
most canoeists. the secret is to position yourself properly, let your legs do the heavy lifting
6» As you are swinging the canoe over your
and be sure to keep good time when you rock and roll the canoe onto your shoulders.
head you should be rotating your stance so
you finish with your body facing the bow.
1» Find an area with no obstructions, stand at
you are now holding the canoe with your
With a quick hop to help lift the canoe off your
the centre of the canoe and grasp the closest
bow-side hand on the far gunwale and the
head you can reverse these steps to unload the
gunwale with your hands about shoulder-
stern-side hand on the near gunwale. The
canoe. And though you will be tempted to let
width apart.
canoe’s weight is supported by your bow-
other paddlers continue in the belief that this is
side leg.

a strenuous manoeuvre, pass on the tip of using
Bend your knees and slide the canoe up
your legs so it is resting on your thighs.
4» Initiate another rocking motion using the
the bow-side leg to propel the canoe upward
strong muscles of your bow-side leg. Pick
and you’ll find you soon have other people offer-
3» Begin a gentle rocking motion to build your moment and with a lift from your leg
ing to share the portaging load.
momentum and establish your timing. When flip the canoe above your head so it follows ANDREW WESTWooD is an open canoe instructor at the
ready, use the leg closest to the bow to an arc guided by your bow-side arm.
Madawaska Kanu Centre, a member of Team Esquif and the
heave the canoe up so you can grab the far
author of The Essential Guide to Canoeing, from which this article
was excerpted.
gunwale with your hand closest to the bow.
5» Duck your head forward slightly as the
20 Early SummEr 2009
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