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Canadian Canoe Routes

Kneeled Snubbing Technique
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Author:  Murat V [ May 13th, 2010, 8:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Kneeled Snubbing Technique

I'm curious if anyone has experience or thoughts on snubbing downstream with a shorter pole in shallow, moving water while kneeling. Came across this page of a paddler kneeling and using a 6 foot pole to control his canoe in the shallows and avoid some portages.

His story about getting struck in the head when his pole got jammed in the rocks makes sense, but I'm wondering why we don't seem to hear more about this method in descending shallows where paddles would be limited. Is traditional stand up poling/snubbing better because you can adjust the trim or something?

Any opinions or feedback?

Author:  ezwater [ May 13th, 2010, 10:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Kneeled Snubbing Technique

Have thought about it but have not tried it. My interest would be in using a shorter pole in canoes that are too short and narrow for standing. Examples would be my Mad River Guide Solo and my Mad River Synergy. Both have beam under 30" and are not stable enough for this 6' 5" person to stand.

Author:  floatingToolbox [ May 20th, 2010, 5:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Kneeled Snubbing Technique

I can't really see the need for a 6 foot Pole as I can use my paddle for snubbing from a kneeling/sitting position in shallow waters. I admit that I seldom practise snubbing but if I do I use my regular pole for this purpose. I could imagine snubbing from a kneeling/sitting position in really turbulent Water thus avoiding the danger of hitting my head with the end of the pole but if the water is turbulent there is also sufficient water so that I might as well use my paddle the way it is meant to be used.

By the way: I practice poling in a MadRiver Independence which - being still a solo boat - has beam enough to keep the balance.


Author:  TommyC1 [ September 15th, 2010, 11:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Kneeled Snubbing Technique

My most important thought is, if it works for you, why not? I often "pole" with my 58" whitewater paddle though rarely down stream.

That said there are a few advantages to standing with a longer (12') pole.

One advantage to standing is that you can often see the bottom better while standing. If the water is too thin to paddle you really want to see the bottom.
Another is that you can see further ahead. If the water is that thin, route planning will be important.
An advantage to a longer pole is that you can work more depth. Even on thin water you will likely go through deeper spots. With a six foot pole you will be out of your depth pretty quick. With a 12 footer even if you can't reach bottom you can always make like a kayaker.

To the trim comment, Yes, many polers prefer to trim bow heavy while snubbing as that helps keep the bow pointed down stream. Personaly I prefer to be neutral or slightly bow light for better manuverability. But I do sometimes get spun inadvertently.

Author:  scoutersteve [ May 7th, 2016, 3:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Kneeled Snubbing Technique

Boy, this is an old thread, but I must weigh in anyway. I am a fairly dedicated poler so I stand up, but I will try not to let that prejudice my reply. The leverage that you could create while sitting would be limited in comparison to standing. With a short pole you would likely have to lean out farther than with a long pole to clear the swelling beam of the boat and this would be less stable. The same would be true for the angle that you could set your pole at to snub. 45 degrees to the bottom would be dandy, but to achieve this one might have to lean down over the gunnel. It may be a technique of some value to some in an easier current in a shallow river, but if you are going to carry a pole then just carry a full pole. If you are worried about the stowage, then make it in two 6' sections. Poling is relatively simple to get the basics down and a valuable technique for all trippers. ... tial-skill
Here is an article just published in Field and Stream and it very nicely iterates the use of poling. Paddle Canada and A.C.A. promote and teach it... so why not?
S :)

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