Freestyle Canoe Dancing

Competitions feature displays of amazing canoe control.

When you first hear about freestyle canoe dancing you think it’s a joke, like synchronized aerobic bowling. Then you actually see it and laugh as a dapper gent pirouettes his Old Town to some corny show tune. Make fun if you will, but when was the last time you saw anyone with that much control over his boat? Powerboaters can learn from the powerless.

Practitioners call it “obedience training for your canoe.” It can be done tandem, with two aboard, but most impressive are the solo performers. They kneel in the center of a small canoe, working the paddle to make it go sideways and backward, spin around its bow or stern and do figure eights and spirals...often while leaning so far outboard it looks like the tippy vessel will flip. Competitions are judged on choreography, creativity, showmanship, audience connection and paddle technique.