Short canoe strokes

I know many people teach to never allow the blade to go behind the hip. Like most dogma it makes a good headline but gets a little trickier in the details. I prefer the approach of learning and mastering all the techniques and then seeing what fits the occasion. You probably remember we spend equal time on carving drills (steppingstone to the control Andy advocates), and stern pry/ J strokes. But yes, paddling from the bow has been a standard Decked C1 technique since the early 80's. Especially racing, and heading down river. Gets a little thornier if you are surfing or doing tough offside ferries. Most C2s still use a pry at least on occasion because of the swing weight of the boat (length of boat does matter!) Paddling from the bow gets easier if you switch sides frequently, as the winners of the decked C1 Worlds do frequently now. While I switch more than I used to, I also enjoy the purest elements of paddling on one side. Paddling from the bow is easy if your cross stroke is strong and reliable. For many weekend warriors this cross stroke is a big ask. The short canoes do make for an easier cross stroke, but you do lose some speed in the process. I enjoy the speed that a longer boat provides. Start with: what are you trying to do? Surfing, ferrying, or heading down the river? Who is your audience? Weekend warriors not as flexy as they used to be? Short boats running steeper water? A great set of drills for eliminating many steering strokes at the stern are the carving drills outlined in my video DRILL TIME at http://www.performancevideo.com/drill_time_solo_playboating