Essential Paddle Grips Every River Floater Should Know

Whether you’re new to river sports or a born river explorer, there is much to be said about proper paddle grips. While gripping a river paddle may seem instinctive, improperly grasping a paddle with both hands holding onto the shaft is a primary reason for injuries sustained in the boat. Although, keep in mind that most rivers in Missouri are easy enough to float down without an expert river guide.

So if you’re paddling down the easy flow of the Elk River outside Noel, Missouri, or maneuvering the class I or II rapids in the Big Sugar Creek near Pineville, Missouri, paddle grip is an essential piece of knowledge that serves you and your fellow floaters well.

Paddle Grips

Regarding paddle grip, keeping hold of a paddle while rafting, canoeing, or kayaking a river ranked as a class I rapid or above is essential. However, it may not be as crucial while floating down Elk River because it’s rated lower than a class I rapid, making it an ideal family-friendly float. 

Therefore, knowing the two common paddle types can help you better prepare for when you must paddle. Whether you’re launching from the river edge or paddling to shore, there are different grip styles for both of these paddles:

  • Single-blade Paddle
  • Double-blade Paddle

Single-Blade Paddle

Canoes and rafts generally come outfitted with a single-blade paddle because there can be more than one paddler for these types of watercraft.

Single-blade paddles come with two different types of grips: asymmetrical and T-grip. The asymmetrical grip generally gets used in lake crafts, like canoes. However, most river vessels come with a T-grip design.

Both grip designs give a paddler the most significant leverage with the least resistance. Depending upon which side of the craft you are paddling on, you will always wrap your palm around the T-grip cross body.

For example, paddlers on a raft on the right side of the boat will grasp the T-grip with their left hand. While paddlers on the left side of the rivercraft hold the t-grip using their right hand.

In a canoe, it depends upon whether there is a solo paddler or a two-person paddle team. If there are two paddlers, the team must communicate well which side of the boat they should paddle on to direct the craft to shore or cross-river. 

For solo paddlers with single blades, it’s a matter of swapping hand positions to ensure the cross-body hand is always holding the paddle grip, depending upon which side of the canoe the blade is on. 

In other words, if the blade is in the water to the paddler’s left, the right-hand grasps the T-grip. If the paddle blade is in the water to the paddler’s right, the left hand will grab the top of the T-grip (as seen with the paddler above). 

The other hand will always hold on to the shaft. For canoes, that will depend upon where you’re seated, in the bow (front) or the stern (rear). It will be the strongest paddler sitting at the stern who instructs the person seated at the bow. That’s because the person in the stern will steer the boat.

However, paddling in a river raft is different. First, it depends upon which side of the craft you sit on. If you’re seated on the port (left) side of the raft, your left hand will hold onto the shaft of the paddle, while those sitting on the starboard (right) side of the vessel grasp the paddle shaft with the right hand. 

Double-Blade Paddle

On the other hand, kayakers use a double-blade paddle, which provides greater efficiency in traversing river currents and slightly improves a kayaker’s speed. For kayakers paddle lengths can range from approximately 79″ to 81″. 

The blades are typically feathered and can rotate using a center ferrule, meaning the blades on a kayak paddle can rotate in opposing directions. That gives kayakers an advantage in wind conditions and the ability to paddle upstream.

The grip on a double-blade paddle is pretty straightforward: you wrap both hands around the shaft between the blades. Keeping your hands slightly wider than shoulder length apart and bent at 90 degrees at the elbow is the most comfortable position in a kayak.

Book A Stay Along Elk River in Missouri

Looking for an ideal location along the Elk River? Contact Lazy Days in Noel, MO, the premier rental site for river float trips. They offer prime Elk River RVing, tent campsites, and recently upgraded cabin rentals. So book your stay today at Lazy Days Resort and Campground!

Getting to Lazy Days Campground is a one-minute drive southwest of Interstate 49. Take exit 5 at mile marker 6. The resort location sits between the charming towns of Noel and Pineville, Missouri.

Read what past guests had to say about Lazy Days Resort.

River Float Essentials for Your Elk River Float Trip

If you live in the four states region of southwest Missouri, you are probably familiar with the leading summer activity of river float trips. It’s a tradition and right of passage for many families and young people across the four states.

Of all the summer activities, river float trips rank high on the list of priorities for staying cool during summer. But before launching off in your favorite float vessel, consider all the river float essentials you need to pack into the craft as you head downriver.

Float Trip Essentials

While you might not think you would need to pack a lot for a float trip downriver. What more is there to ask for on a hot summer day in July than the cool easy flowing currents of an Ozark river.

Honestly, there is a lot to consider, especially if your float trip lasts four hours. Of course, there are lots of things to consider in a self-guided float trip, but at the same time, you don’t have to take the kitchen sink with you either.

Here is a short list of “must haves” in your river float device. 

  1. Watercraft patch kit
  2. Sunblock and Sunscreen
  3. Quick dry clothing
  4. Sunglasses and straps
  5. Food and water
  6. First Aid Kit
  7. Dry Sack
  8. Ziploc bags
  9. Disposable waterproof camera

River Float Craft 

Depending on the type of float vessel, you may need to ask the rental company if they supply an air pump and raft patch kit, just in case anything goes wrong. Many float trips in southwest Missouri are self-guided nontechnical rafting trips. That means gentle flowing rivers are calm enough that the class rating is below a class-I river.

Sunblock and Sunscreen

Here’s an important one, protecting your skin from the sun. That also includes protecting your eyes, ears, nose, lips, and head. You want to keep everything well-covered while having fun in the sun. Even a river seemingly shrouded in tree cover can reflect 25% or more UV light off the water’s surface. Of course, you can always try an article of UPF-rated clothing too.

River Clothing Gear

UPF clothing is ideal for any outdoor activity for skin pigmentations–light or dark. The clothing works to filter out ultraviolet rays, A and B. Otherwise known as UVA and UVB light.

Quick drying layers of clothes are an absolute must when river rafting. From swimming suits to river footwear, it’s best to dry quickly after a day on the river. That way, you don’t need to carry a towel, and you don’t have to try and keep dry while on the river.

If possible, steer clear of cotton clothing, opting for layers with a wicking material that will pull moisture away from your core and dry faster. Ideal river clothing will also include zippered pockets to carry the all-important state identification, keeping it from getting lost in the drink.

Don’t forget your sunglasses and straps; you don’t want those expensive UV polarizing shades to be lost to the river forever. But, it can help to keep your eyes protected from all those ultraviolet rays. 

If you grew up floating the river of Missouri, you know they can be pretty shallow this time of year, so proper river footwear. If your river vessel is a raft, neoprene booties are a solid choice, which cling to a wet raft better than many other shoes. 

Items to Consider

You might ask the boat rental people if the vessels come equipped with a first aid kit, just in case anyone scraps a shin.

Be sure to drink responsibly. Always remember to bring along a few Ziploc bags for trash. The more we all do our part to keep our rivers clean, the more beautiful the scenery and the float for everyone.

Smoother Sailing Tips

Utility bungee cords are an excellent form of insurance to keep your ice, water, and food contained within the ice chest. 

Lastly, who doesn’t want to record all the river memories? Most of us are always trying to catch that next big viral image or video to post on our social media sites, so grab an inexpensive disposable waterproof camera to hold onto to capture those precious moments.

Book Your Elk River or Big Sugar Float Trip

If you’re ready to cool off, book a float trip down Elk River or the Big Sugar at the premier rental location for rafts, kayaks, and canoes at Lazy Days Campground in Noel, MO.

Lazy Days Resort is easy to get to from interstate 49. They are located a short one-minute drive southwest of I-49, take exit 5 at mile marker 6.

To book your campsite now, Lazy Days today!

Also take a moment to read what our recent guests had to say.

Spring Improvements to Our Pineville MO Cabins!

Here at Lazy Days, we’ve been busy updating a couple of our Pineville, Missouri cabins, and we’re so excited to share them with you! We just finished work on two of our waterfront, Elk River cabins in time for summer camping and floating season. Take a look!

Updated Pineville MO Cabins on Elk River

Pineville MO cabin with covered porch
Elk River waterfront cabin in Pineville, MO

These two modern Elk River cabins now feature brand new covered porches to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors rain or shine! It is our hope that you, your family, and your friends, will experience these Pineville cabins for many years to come. Whether grilling, having a few beers, or having long conversations into the evening, there are no bad days on the river. And getaways on Elk River are only made better by fully equipped cabins right on the waterfront.

Some things we loved about this spring project were the way the new red-stained wood posts contrasted with the green roofs on these cabins. There’s something so fresh and clean about the way it looks. Yet the timeless, rustic feel is completely intact.

Fully Equipped Elk River Cabins

The interior of these two cabins are every bit as nice as the exterior. In the kitchen, there is a full-sized refrigerator, four-burner stove and oven, and a coffee maker! The living room is no less well equipped with a wifi-connected smart TV and plenty of comfortable seating for your whole group!

Float & Stay at Lazy Days Campground

This is your invitation to take some time off and experience life on the river! Reserve an all equipment included float trip on Elk River and spend a few days in one of our cabins for the vacation you’ll want to repeat each year!

Reserve Your Elk River Stay Now!

5 Fun Things To Do While In Noel, Missouri

If you’ve never been to the Ozark Mountains, you’re probably wondering what all there is to see and do in the area. There is one place that needs to be at the top of your must-see just for all the fun and excitement around the town of Noel, Missouri.

Aside from the town’s name, Noel, you might be thinking of “visions of sugar plum fairies dancing” through your head. But, in truth, Noel nestles along the valley floor in the heart of the Elk River watershed. The basin covers over 1,032 square miles, and with that much room to move, there are plenty of places to stay, sites to see, and memories to be made.

Here are our five top spots to see for fun in Noel.

1. Lazy Days Campground

If you’re looking for a perfect place to make memories with family and friends, Lazy Days Campground is the ideal spot. They offer all the amenities and conveniences for your reservation.

Whether car camping, staying in your RV or needing a cabin, Lazy Days are the perfect getaway for you, your family, and friends. We have conveniently located a half-mile southwest of I-49 on Missouri State Highway H., less than 10 minutes away from the champing town of Noel, Missouri.

They have 12 cabins, one of which is a treehouse-style cabin that sleeps 12. They offer full-service hookups for your RVers too. And if you’re looking to rough it in a tent, they provide numerous tent sites right along Elk River for a peaceful night’s sleep. To check out their availability, contact them today.

2. River Rafting and Float Trips

When planning your visit to Noel, Missouri, there is one summer activity people throughout Missouri and visitors from across the country come to do: river rafting and float trips. 

That’s what makes staying at Lazy Days Resort & Campground another convenient option. Elk River flows past Lazy Days Resort, giving guests access to one of Noel’s most popular tourist attractions. You can even schedule to launch your rafting trip, river float, or boat tours right onsite at Lazy Days.
They complete the scheduling and supply the raft, kayak, or canoe with a single paddle or a double-bladed paddle for you and your guests. If you’re looking for a change of scene, you can also book a float trip down another body of water, Big Sugar Creek. They will drop you and your fellow floaters off and pick you all up at the end of your watersports day trip.

3. Local Shopping in Noel, Missouri

If floating down the river isn’t your thing, or you’re all water-logged out, head to The Antique Flea in Noel, Missouri. The treasures there abound, and you can also stop in for a bite at the attached cafe.

This tiny gem of an antique store is family-owned and operated and reportedly was still selling sweet tea for only $0.50 with free refills until 2014. It is a beloved town favorite by Noel locals. If that isn’t enough, go back on another day to peruse all the local businesses, restaurants, and shops in Noel.

4. Tall Pine Distillery

Another popular local restaurant with nonstop local fare is the Tall Pine Distillery. You can stop in to taste some of the finest Ozark whiskey, brandy, and moonshine the Distillery has to offer.

As a “grain to glass” distillery, you won’t be disappointed having tasted their unique signature flavors and any seasonal tastes. So whether you’re looking for a perfectly aged bourbon, a taste of banana foster, or prefer the fruit notes of huckleberry, Tall Pine Distillery will deliver a remarkable finish to your time visiting the Noel area.

5. Bluff Dwellers Cave

For you history buffs out there, Bluff Dwellers Cave is just a short 13-minute drive from Lazy Days Resort. But, even if you’re a novice rock hound, these caves are a remarkable sight.

The family-operated tours take visitors through a maze of caverns and caves. That shines a light on the darkness inside Mother Nature’s unique ability to carve out unique cave formations, from a 75-foot rimstone dam to a 10-ton balanced rock.

They just started their Spring and Summer hours: opening from 10:00 A. M. to 6:00 P. M. each day. Those times will continue through the end of October.

Planning A Trip to Noel, Missouri

If you are just getting started on planning your trip to Noel, Missouri, keep in mind that this is no trip to Yellowstone National Park. This place is unique, not because of some world-famous white water rafting trip like you find in the Grand Canyon National Park, but because of the easy, laid-back days. 


You get the kind of days when you book a stay at the Lazy Days Resort and Campground. Then, you get all the free time to float down Elk River with a single-blade paddle in any boat you like.

5 Best Things to Do in Pineville, Missouri

Are you looking for a great weekend getaway to the beautiful Ozarks of Southwest, Missouri? Pineville has it all – beautiful hills, creeks, and mountains, with a friendly and laidback atmosphere. It’s also close enough to I-49 and northwest Arkansas to make for a convenient day or weekend trip!

1. Tall Pines Distillery in Pineville MO

Did you know Pineville, MO has its own moonshine distillery? It’s true! Tall Pines Distillery is one of the coolest places to visit on a trip to Pineville. According to the Tall Pines website, “Tall Pines Distillery MO offers unique whiskey, brandy, and moonshine that you will not find anywhere else! We offer our signature flavors year-round, as well as seasonal flavors and location-exclusive flavors.”

2. Big Sugar Creek State Park

Big Sugar Creek State Park, located just outside Pineville, Missouri, is one of Missouri’s most beautiful and accessible state parks. Just outside of Pineville city limits, the park has beautiful Ozark trails which are free for public access. The park preserves the Ozark landscape as it would have been historically, and you will find many plants that are not as commonly seen these days.

3. McDonald County Museum in Pineville MO

Learn the history of Pineville, Missouri in a hands-on way at the McDonald County Museum. Visitors to the museum report that they are impressed with the attention to detail in the exhibits.

4. Camping!

Camping is a popular activity in the Pineville, Missouri area. Our campground, Lazy Days, is located on the beautiful Elk River, just outside Pineville city limits. We offer RV sites with full electric, the best cabin stay in the county, and spacious tent camping areas down by the river! 

Reserve your stay today!

5. Float Elk River!

Elk River is one of the best rivers in the Ozarks to float. The scenery is unmatched, and the numerous long bends and sand bars make the floating a trip to remember. Couple that with excellent fishing, and you’ve got a day on the water that just can’t be beaten. 

Lazy Days Campground offers floats and everything you need to enjoy Elk River! Plus we’re just outside of Pineville, Missouri!

Enjoy Your Trip to Pineville

We hope you enjoy your trip to Pineville! Southwest, Missouri, and the Ozarks are an environment that is unmatched. And we hold a special place in our heart for Elk River in particular. We think you will too!

Feeling Adventurous? Checkout this Treehouse Cabin on Elk River

Are you looking for the perfect river gateway? Elk River is the perfect place to escape with some friends and family, have a few beers, and enjoy some time away from the office. And, what better way to enjoy the river than with a truly unique stay?

Treehouse Cabin on Elk River

One of our most novel and picturesque stays at Lazy Days Campground is Cabin 17, also known as the treehouse cabin. If you want views of Elk River, this cabin has them. The Treehouse Cabin features a main cabin perched high with second-story views and a bedroom treehouse connected by an enchanting rope bridge! And all of this overlooking a gentle bend in scenic Elk River!

Treehouse Cabin Amenities

Cabin 17 is stacked with features to make your Elk River vacation a delight! This cabin has:

  • Two bathrooms
  • Air conditioning
  • Wifi
  • Refrigerator
  • Coffee pot
  • Full-size stove
  • Kitchen
  • Two-person shower
  • AND two Smart TVs!

Reserve Cabin 17 While It’s Still Available!

As one of our most popular stays, the Treehouse Cabin tends to get booked quickly. If you want to stay in the treehouse, it’s better to reserve sooner rather than later. As we get closer to spring, vacation booking season is ramping up! 

Reserve the Treehouse Cabin Today!

Where is Lazy Days Campground Located?

Lazy Days Campground sits along the beautiful Elk River, between Pineville and Noel, Missouri. Our campground is easily accessible from I-49, as it is only a mile or so off the highway! Our convenient location makes it a perfect gateway for vacationers all around the four states!

This Elk River Cabin Has Space for 30 People!

Are you looking for a perfect getaway for a large group? At Lazy Days Campground, we have something perfect! Cabin 4 at Lazy Days has room to accommodate 30 people!

Cabin 4 Features 15 Bedrooms

As our largest offering, Cabin 4 offers guests the use of 15 bedrooms. Each room is nicely furnished with a full bed!

Large Living Room

An unbeatable feature of Cabin 4 is its large living room. The family room includes a large Smart TV with wireless internet and a luxurious couch with room to seat six people! The sofa even has drink holders!

Laundry Room

One of the most desirable features of this cabin is its laundry room! When you have a big group, it’s especially beneficial to have access to a washer and dryer. That way, you can throw those swim trucks straight in the wash after a nice day at the river!

Large Kitchen

What is better than a nice cabin down by the river? A nice cabin with a big kitchen! Enjoy cooking big family emails in this kitchen which is fully equipped with a refrigerator, stove, and a coffee pot.

Plenty of Outdoor Space

Cabin 4 offers two porches! Enjoy comfortable outdoor space complete with a grill and free access to all the sunsets you want. So, bring your beer cooler, invite some friends, and enjoy a getaway to Elk River! 

Access to Elk River

As with all the rental properties and campsites at Lazy Days, you have full access to Elk River. We have two beach areas in the campground and float trips available on Elk River, Big Sugar Creek, and Little Sugar Creek.

About Elk River

Elk River meanders its way through McDonald Country, Missouri and passes the towns of Pineville and Noel on its way to the Oklahoma state line where it reaches Grand Lake. The river is a favorite river for floating, due to its scenic views, large sandbars, clear channel, and EXCELLENT fishing. 

Reserve Cabin 4 Now!