it always felt better going into the wind. It's because things you're supposed to be doing for maximum effectiveness, especially snaking the blade into the water for a firm catch, are easier to do when the wind is supplying a bit of resistance. With a strong tailwind, the boat seems to be slipping away from under you, and a sharp catch is more difficult.
Any rowing crew is likely to be faster with a tailwind, but only the very best crews have the technique, the sharp slippery catch and leg drive, to row effectively and set record times with a strong tailwind.
The same will be true for a solo canoe paddler. A headwind gives the feedback that makes it easier to paddle properly, with a good reach and a slippery, firm catch. But with a tailwind, your form must be that much better, because the tailwind is slipping the rug out from under you.
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