If you're trying to spread the news about Free Software, the only effective way to do it is to SHOW them. Most of the people whom I've converted to Linux did so after watching me use KDE (formerly) and Gnome (more recently).
I second this, the few people that show me some interest about linux had done this for little things of interest after watching my desktop. For example, a coworker tried linux after he saw some of my xfce screensavers (cow bouncing, pacman played by the computer, etc). Came for the screensaver, stayed for the free stuff.
I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.