Lily-dipping in a canoe.
As in looking like you’re paddling but really you’re slacking off. There’s a few different types of lily-dippers. Most rookie paddlers lily-dip unconsciously before they realize that paddling is, actually, work. Experienced lily-dippers are frighteningly talented individuals that look like they’re pulling that boat along all by themselves while their partner stuggles pathetically. Don’t invite these folks on canoe trips as they also tend to look really busy around camp while actually doing nothing useful.
Grabbing the gunwales.
This is so taboo it’s become an insult among paddlers. “Hey you gunwale-grabber, stop highgrading the gorp.” Nothing is more shameful than letting go of your paddle in an intense situation. It’s like letting go of the steering wheel of a car when skidding out on a gravel road and then grabbing your armrests. Think that’s going to end well?
Using your bent shaft backwards.
Since Newton's Third Law of Motion should be common knowledge for every paddler, it is shocking how many people use their bent shaft paddles the wrong way around. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The bent shaft paddle was designed to make it easier to have the blade vertical in the water, but by using it backwards folks are effectively pushing the boat out of the water at the start of their stroke and down into the water at the end.
Newton would be appalled at the loss of inertia going on here.
Using your paddle grip when pushing off shore.
To keep the blade from getting dinged up, right? It’s usually the paddler who’s still fairly new at it that does this – they’ve got things pretty figured out and like to show how savvy they are. Half a day later they are moaning about the blisters they’re getting from their trashed handle.
Laying a bent shaft paddle on the ground wrong side up.
Just looking at this picture is painful. Don’t be the numbskull that does this. Someone will come along and step on the paddle and snap it like a chopstick. Lay the paddle down the other way and when someone dense enough to step on a paddle comes along it will bounce up harmlessly and hopefully just take the guy out.
Taking responsibility when things go sideways.
Always blame your partner. It makes you look like you know what you’re doing. Your brace wasn’t enough to keep the boat from going over? It's your partner's fault - they grabbed the gunwales. Came in to the dock at a bad angle and skinned your hull? Partner's fault again - it was that weird little (draw, pry - insert stroke here) your partner did at the last minute that screwed everything up.
Following the sound of banjos.
Paddlers are a strange breed but there are far stranger out there and they hang out on bridges. Don’t mess with them. If you hear banjos keep calm and paddle on. Y’all know what we’re talking about here.