What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you on the water? We asked our Instagram followers to reveal their biggest paddling faux pas. It was reassuring to know we weren’t the only ones guilty of (most of) these blunders. Here are our 11 favorite responses.

1. A swim. Nothing like having to have your friends save your a**, boat and paddle.

– @miss_t_bliss

2. Capsizing in calm water.

– @willem_hunt

We’re all between swims. Photo: Unsplash
3. Being the one in charge of showing the line, then messing it up in front of a group of rookies. 

– @jf.rivest

4. Getting to the take-out without your keys.


5. Displays of arrogance.


6. Poop in the drysuit.


7. Having to chase and collect your loose items down river after a spill.

– @jeffrey.neven

Let us go and collect those scattered pieces of our dignity. Photo: Unsplash
8. When you forget to put your drain plug back in. 


9.  Snot hanging from your nose after a roll. 

– unknown

10. Forgetting the group’s tent poles at the previous camping spot.


11.  When you take two or more swims on the same river⁠ & it’s not even funny anymore.



  1. I’ve done the ‘forget your lifejacket at a portage and don’t notice for half an hour’ gaff (significantly adding to the length of paddling time) – only once, but my canoe partner forgot hers at the next portage, so we were reprising our extra paddle on the next lake (and both of us Moms who had successfully gotten our children safely through childhood despite risky sports, by being safety conscious).

    I’ve also done the ‘forget the tent poles at home’ routine once. To be fair, I had lent the tent to a friend, who had packed tent and poles separately when giving them back to me…but I didn’t check. Every night was a new adventure in teamwork as my trip buddy and I figured out how we were going to set the tent up. Thankfully, I always bring lots of rope…and a tarp.


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