The ability to use a paddle to propel a canoe or kayak effectively.

There are many ways to measure the skill of a paddler in flatwater, whitewater, and in wilderness tripping. Organizations such as the Canadian Recreational Canoeing Association, the American Canoe Association, and others have training, testing and certification programs.

The simplest system is tied to the International Scale of River Difficulty. It is a simple measure of a paddler's ability to handle the different grades of whitewater. That system is as follows:

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