Advanced tandem canoeing

This advanced tandem canoeing course will provide you with plenty of experience to paddle open water and rivers. We will focus on tandem paddling technique as well as the additional skills unique to the open canoe. These include, packing, trim, standing-up while paddling, paddling in windy conditions and handling waves. All this should leave you more independent in your paddling and with skills to canoe open water and rivers.

Building on existing skills the aim is to develop tandem techniques for the open and moving water environment. Intensive coaching will help develop your paddling skills to increase efficiency as well as cope with wind or rougher conditions. Equipment, journeying skills, safety and rescue will also be covered as much as possible over the two days.

Refining your paddling skills

We will spend time coaching and developing your personal paddling, there may be an opportunity for video coaching as well. The focus will be on additional canoe specific skills to help you leave the tandem canoe advanced course feeling confident to safely paddle in similar environments with friends and family. As part of this, safety and rescue are essential.

Our location will offer us the best water and conditions at the appropriate grade for the group. To learn skills specific to open water in windier conditions and possibly waves this course is organised on Lake Grevelingen twice a year. We also organise it on the Ourthe River and/or the Grensmaas to practice moving water technique. We will introduce you to advanced paddling skills that will enable you to make use of the elements in an appropriate manner.

What to expect?

You will be in a group of no more than four with one instructor during this advanced tandem canoeing course. Meeting your instructor on the first morning provides an opportunity to discuss everyone’s experience and aspirations, which along with the weather forecast and water conditions will enable us to plan the two days ahead.

Day one starts with sorting out any boats or paddling gear and then we will head off to the lake. This will give a good warm up and enable us to introduce some coaching and safe journeying themes.

  • Assessing the weather
  • Preparing your canoe to paddle safely in challenging conditions
  • Trimming the canoe in function of the wind
  • How to cope with head wind, tail wind and side wind
  • Paddling in waves
  • Advanced tandem canoe maneuvering: side slipping, pivotting, forward paddling, leaning and bracing
  • Advanced strokes: Canadian/Guide stroke, Indian stroke, Northwoods stroke, post and wedge
  • Canoe balance and stability
  • Continued canoe safety and rescues
  • Paddler communication and roles of the bow (front) and stern (back) paddler


€ 250 per person

Course dates

March 2-3 Moving water
June 1-2
Open water
September 7-8
Open water
December 7-8 Moving water

The fine print

Minimum age to participate is 12 years with an adult or 16 years without. We reserve the right to cancel any program with less than 24 hours notice due to changing weather conditions such as strong winds or thunderstorms. Please check your email for cancellation notices before arriving. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but your safety and well-being is our top priority.

Course prerequisites

This advanced tandem canoeing course is geared for the canoeist who is starting to get to grips with open water paddling. To get the most out of this course you should have had experience on open water in slightly windier conditions, or having participated in our tandem canoeing beginners course. In addition to this to be looking forward to consolidating these skills and developing your ability and knowledge to canoe in more challenging environments.

What's included?

  • Paddle
  • Lifejacket
  • Canoe
  • Dry bag
  • Lunch and dinner on Saturday
  • Breakfast and lunch on Sunday
  • Camping, tent & mattress

What to bring?

  • Water/sports drink.
  • Active clothing you don’t mind getting wet.
  • Secure footwear you don’t mind getting wet.
  • Extra layers in case it cools off during the day.
  • A change of clothes and shoes.
  • Sunscreen, sun hat, sunglasses with floater string.
  • Snacks.
  • A rain jacket/pants.
  • Sleeping bag

Course location

The advanced tandem canoeing course starts at 10:00am on saturday morning at Zonnemaire (NL) for open water and Maaseik (B) or Barvaux (B) for moving water and ends on sunday at 4:00pm. The location is selected some days in advance depending on the weather forecast and water levels. We will be staying on a small camping next to the water.


The Open Canoeing Skills B Diploma is the follow up of the Open Canoeing Skills A Diploma. The emphasis is much more on the technically correct execution of the strokes and on the profound understanding of the art of open canoeing. The general criteria that are taken into account are: is the goal being achieved, is safety guaranteed and is there sufficient insight into the whole picture. The holder of this certificate is able to safely paddle canoe trips on more challenging water and in less favorable conditions. Candidates can take the test while paddling solo or in tandem and must be able to demonstrate that she or he has sufficient swimming skills. To take the exam the candidate must have paddled a canoe trip of at least 9 km and the candidate must hold the Open Canoeing Skills A Diploma.

Upon successful completion of the tandem canoeing beginners course it is possible to take an exam. Your instructor will advise you at the end of the day whether it is useful to participate in this exam. It takes approximately four hours and consists of practice and theory. Upon successful completion the participant receives an official certificate from the Royal Dutch Watersports Association. This demonstrates that you have mastered the skills below.

Skills practical – paddling technique

  • Transport the canoe in different ways over land to the water
  • Properly lift the canoe into the water
  • Set correct trim
  • Get in, for tandems in the correct order
  • Select an appropriate seating position
  • Demonstrate an efficient forward stroke in a variety of ways
  • Backward and stop
  • Correct execution of draw and pry strokes (including cross strokes)
  • Correct execution of stern rudder, rudder stroke and J stroke (for solo: bow rudder, C stroke)
  • Correct execution of sweep strokes, forward and backward
  • Changing the paddling side hut-methode
  • Mooring and disembarking
  • Prevent tipping over with the low brace (stationary and dynamic)
  • Carry out the post and wedge on both sides  and under all circumstances, for solo also bow rudder
  • Lean into turns
  • Backward paddling with backward stroke, backward rudder and J stroke and bow rudder
  • Choosing the correct combinations of the above strokes for maneuvers during a 5 km trip

Skills theory

  • Paddles, the various designs, choice of the correct paddle length
  • Paddle terms for techniques used
  • Parts of the canoe
  • Requirements for a PFD and clothing
  • Safety aspects
  • What to do in case of capsize
  • Knowing and applying regulations
  • Rules of conduct
  • Recognize risks and dangers
  • Risk of paddling in exrtreme conditions
  • Important factors in trip preparation