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GSUSA created a new Paddling badge in 2015. It is featured on the back of the Girl Scout S'mores cookie.

Step 1: Explore the three paddling sports Edit

You may have one paddling sport in mind, but for this rst step, keep your options open and explore all three. Find out as much as you can about each sport to help you choose one to focus on and build your skills.

Here’s what you’ll want to nd out about the three paddle sports:

• The background of each. For example, SUP got its start in Hawaii in the 1960s but didn’t take off as a sport until the early 2000s. Canoeing and

  • kayaking have been around for centuries and are both Olympic sports.

What makes each a different experience. Stand up paddlers say the experience is like walking on water. Canoeists like working with a team. Kayakers enjoy challenging themselves on the water. Find out what enthusiasts say is so great about each sport, and then decide whether

  • you want to go solo (SUP or kayaking) or with a team (canoeing).What kind of equipment you need and where you can rent or borrow it.

Where you can paddle for your level. All three sports can be done in any body of water—lake, river, or ocean—but which one works best for you? If you’re new to the sport, is it better to start in calm water? If you’ve done it before, where can you challenge yourself? How long will it take to train before you can get out on water?

CHOICES – DO ONE:

Go to a sporting goods store and talk to an expert.

OR

Talk to a paddling expert at a Girl Scout camp or to an older girl who has experience with all three sports.

OR

Talk to a paddling expert at a community center or recreational facility.

Step 2: Learn paddling safety Edit

What happens if you fall in the water? What if the water or weather conditions are bad? Being a strong swimmer helps, but so does being aware of what can happen and how to handle it if it does. Learn paddling safety, and let the good times roll!

How to get in and out of your craft or on your paddleboard.

  • For SUP, you may be on a beach and need to get your board past the break line.
  • In a canoe or kayak, are you embarking from a dock or from thewater?

How to practice safety maneuvers.

  • Learn how to roll back a kayak or ip over a canoe when your craft capsizes.
  • Learn how to get back on your paddleboard in case you falloff.
  • What to do if your paddleboard or craft springs a leak or becomes punctured.

Find out how to patch cracks, dents, and dings. Safety requirements for your sport.

  • Learn how to signal for help in an emergency.
  • Find out what kind of safety equipment you should have.

Rules for waterway safety.

  • Learn the navigation rules for different bodies of water, including rivers, lakes, and oceans.
  • How to wear a personal floatation device.

Make sure it fits according to your weight and height.

  • Inspect it to make sure it’s in good condition.

What you should wear for your sport.

  • Keep in mind you’ll probably end up in the water, so nd out what to wear—a swimsuit? Quick-dry clothing?
  • Find out about appropriate footwear.

CHOICES – DO ONE:

Take a paddling water safety course at your community center or recreational facility.

OR

Practice paddling water safety at Girl Scout camp.

OR

Practice paddling water safety with a certi ed paddling instructor.

Step 3: Practice paddling techniques Edit

Your goal is to paddle your craft or board in the direction you want and at the speed you desire. To do this, find out how to paddle ef ciently and with the least amount of strain on your body.

To le•arn paddling techniques, here’s what you need to know:

What kind of paddle you need. For example, you’ll use a single-blade paddle for canoeing and a double-blade paddle for kayaking. For SUP, you need a long single-blade paddle.

  • The paddle size may vary depending on your height.
  • How to properly hold a paddle. Gripping a paddle the right way keeps you from getting tired or strained.

How to stroke with a paddle.

  • What are the techniques for your sport? For example, for canoeing and kayaking, you’re sitting down; for paddleboarding, you’re standing up. What effect does this have on the stroke?
  • What types of strokes are there? How do you turn? Slow down? Should you stroke deep in the water, or on the surface? What stroke uses less muscle but gets you where you want to go?
  • How does paddling change when you’re on calm water? Waves?
  • How should your body be positioned?

CHOICES – DO ONE:

Practice paddling with a local outdoor group or community center.

OR

Practice paddling at a Girl Scout camp.

OR

Practice paddling with a certified instructor.

Step 4: Go on a short paddling adventure Edit

It’s a thrilling moment when you rst pull away from land and set out on the water. With paddling, you can enjoy nature, spend time with friends, have an adventure—and most of all, have fun! Start with a short trip, for an hour or less.

CHOICES – DO ONE:

Go paddling with a local outdoor group or community center.

OR

Go paddling at a Girl Scout camp.

OR

Go paddling with a certified instructor.

Step 5: Take your paddling skills to the next level Edit

From overnight trips to relay races, there are lots of ways to step up your paddling skills and have new adventures. Once you’re comfortable on the water, nd a new way to challenge yourself!

CHOICES – DO ONE:

Paddle someplace new. Go to a place you’ve never been. Paddle to a new shoreline or a marina. Paddle across a river, lake, or pier to pier.

OR

Take an overnight paddling trip. Wherever your paddling takes you, camp out for the night!

OR

Join or organize a paddling race. This could be with girls at camp, or you could sign up for an event. There are many different types of races and competitions.