No, the kids were having difficulty. My kids don't know how to paddle much yet. On our raft, I do almost all the rowing. We are going to put the thwarts into the my old 14' and do some day runs this season as a paddle crew.
As far as paddling goes, I think it moves better sideways. The best way I found was to straddle the middle tube and lean out over the arm rest and paddle. It wasn't like paddling a SUP but we were able to scoot around.