Surely, I thought, this guy must be joking. He obviously dressed up for entertainment to see how many YouTube views he could get.
Never fear, fellow paddling pals, because this is for real. In fact, we owe this nerve-wracking competition to our Canadian friends who also shared with us the joy of curling.
Canoe dancing, a takeoff on Canadian style-paddling, involves multiple canoes, but evidenced by the above video, competitions may involve only one participant. Its real purpose, according to the Canoe Dance website, is “to allow good paddlers to do beautiful and challenging things with their friends.”
In my opinion, that’s a beautiful definition that’s challenging to comprehend.
Nonetheless, I studied the maneuvers, formations, and routines involved in this sport. I see why people may think of it as a fun hobby (or take it as seriously as Phantom), but I can’t say I would ever pick it up.
My first (and last) canoe adventure occurred in the fifth grade when our class went to Rock Eagle. We shared a canoe with a partner and were to paddle within a confined space to resist the pull of the larger body of water that was connected to our lake/river/small body of water.
My friend and I were doing pretty well. In fact, we planned to go canoeing together again if the opportunity arose. Then, we somehow ended up in the middle of the body of water and were drifting toward the river.
We both freaked out. I paddled furiously in the other direction, only to find that we were even closer to the larger body of water. I looked up to find that my friend had dropped the paddle and was sitting there, stricken with fear.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” I screamed, equally panicked.
“Uh, uh, I’m tired! And we’re not supposed to go in that direction!” she replied.
After a moment of silence, I sighed, waited a brief moment, and replied, “So? PADDLE!”
The current’s strength, at that point, became too much for the both of us to fight. The instructor came to drag us to shore, where all of our other classmates were standing and staring. We were greeted with silence upon our return.
…Needless to say, canoe dancing is not the sport for me. I’ll take an air-conditioned gym any day.