Paddling is a sport with inherent risks. As a club we are continually evaluating what we can do to manage those risks in a responsible manner. However ultimate responsibility lies with the individual. If you are ever uncomfortable, bring it up with the coach and your concerns will be addressed.



  • "huli" is the term for flipping a canoe
    • In normal practices it is rare. But the chances increase in rough water and racing conditions
  • The best way to recover from a huli is to keep one from happening. This means staying centered in the boat when paddling, not leaning away from the ama, and taking care when stepping in and out of the boat at a dock
  • If one does occur:
    • Do not try to jump out of the boat. Once you are upside down push off the gunnel and flip forward to get out of the canoe. Hold on to your paddle at all times
    • Surface with your hands above your head
    • Make sure all paddlers are safe and accounted for
  • To Right the Boat (see the videos below for full explanation):
    • Seats 3 and 4 swim to the ama and push up while seats 2 and 5 pull the boat upright using the iako
    • Immediately get in seats 3 and 4 and start bailing until it is safe for all paddlers to enter

Cold Water

The most dangerous factor in our practices are the cold waters of the Columbia River. Because the river is fed by snow-melt throughout the spring it may be very warm outside while the water is still dangerously cold. A brief explanation is below. Please follow the "learn more" to information by the National Center for Cold Water Safety on the dangers and what you can do to protect yourself.

  • "Cold Shock" is the most immediate danger in our situation
    • Unprotected exposure to cold water can cause uncontrolled breathing and swimming incapacitation, this is why wearing a PFD is one of the first and most important protection measures
  • Hypothermia
    • Hypothermia becomes an issue as core temperature drops and body functions start to shutdown even in very cold water this can take 30 minutes making it primarily a secondary concern for our practices


Common Paddling injuries occur from the repetitive stress on the back and shoulders used in the stroke.

Prevention Tips:

  • Focus on technique and timing over power
    • Trying to push beyond what good technique allows is when an injury can occur. Many times a well coordinated crew will paddle faster than the crew of strongmen that don't work together
  • Be careful when moving boats in and out of the water
    • A fully loaded boat weighs about 500 pounds practice good lifting techniques and work together to lighten the load