Paddle or pedal? Boat puzzle stumps 'Wheel of Fortune' contestants

ByBrock Koller KABC logo
Thursday, March 17, 2022
Wheel of Fortune contestants stumped over paddle vs pedal boats
The category was 'What are you doing?' Viewers were not sure what the contestants were doing.

PHILADELPHIA -- You say pedal boat, I say paddleboat. Let's call the whole thing off!

That's probably what the three contestants of "Wheel of Fortune" hoped host Pat Sajak would've said during Wednesday's episode.

Before we begin, let's break down the difference between a pedal boat and a paddleboat.

To do that, we went straight to the experts at

They explain the difference: "A pedal boat uses your feet to power the boat. A paddleboat uses paddle wheels to power the boat... so most pedal boats are paddleboats as well."

Now that we got that straightened out, we think, let's go to America's Game.

The contestants were Michele, Crystal and Seann.

The category of the puzzle that has gone viral was "What are you doing?"

After the board was starting to fill up, Crystal bought an "O."

The puzzle now looked like this: "R_n_ing A P_da_ Boa_"

Crystal went to solve and said, "Renting A Paddle Boat."

That was not correct.

It was Seann's turn. He chose "T" and then bought an "E."

The board was left looking like this: "Renting A Peda_ Boat."

With no vowels left, Seann decided to solve and said, "Renting a Paddle Boat."

"No, that's not right," Sajak said.

It was Michele's turn. She decided to spin.

Michele guessed "M."

There was no "M."

It was Crystal's turn again. She spun the wheel and guessed "W."

There was no "W."

To refresh, the category was "What are you doing?" but it seemed the audience with their loud reactions was wondering what these contestants were doing.

It was now back to Seann. He said he would like to solve.

Seann's response: "Renting A Pedal Boat."

"There you go," Sajak said.

"A little redemption," Seann admitted.

Seann won $750, after all that, and also a trip to Antigua.

Sajak joked Seann has to take a pedal boat to get there. Or is it a paddleboat?

If this "Wheel" story sounds familiar, you might be thinking of the story earlier this month about another group of contestants who went viral with the their puzzle: "Another feather in your cap."

It took the three contestants eight turns and 10 attempts to solve what seemed to be a simple puzzle.

The contestants took several turns to solve it, with guesses ranging from "another feather in your hat," "another feather in your lap" and "another feather in your map."

Sajak spoke up when the contestants were being ridiculed online.

"I've been praised online for 'keeping it together' and not making fun of the players," he tweeted. "Truth is, all I want to do is help to get them through it and convince them that those things happen even to very bright people."

Sajak asked fans to "cut them some slack" because contestants are "under a kind of stress that you can't begin to appreciate from the comfort of your couch." He added, "Unless you're there, you have no idea how different it is in the studio."

"So, yeah, it was an oddly entertaining puzzle and it's okay to laugh at the situation. But have a little heart," Sajak said at the time. "After all, you may be there one day. And no one wants to be trending on Twitter."

He likely would say the same about the puzzling pedal solution.

At the end of Wednesday's show, Sajak and Vanna White went into more detail about the differences between the boats.

"Paddleboats are typically those Mississippi River, Mark Twain (boats) - but pedal boats, you pedal," Sajak said. "But some people call pedal boats paddleboats. But when you have p-e-d up there (on the board), obviously, it's pedal not paddle."

"Is that a good explanation?" he asked.


Now, how about you just put a feather in our map to tell us where to pedal this paddleboat?

Click here to find out when "Wheel of Fortune" airs in your city.