Canoe Paddle in a Kayak

There is a current thread with pros-cons & observations about using a kayak paddle in a canoe.

I sometimes use a canoe (single blade) paddle in a kayak. Very interesting experience… teaches lots about everything! Very quiet! No particular advantage… just fun.

The one proviso: I carry a small Wal-Mart quality canoe paddle on my front deck within reach as an emergency device. I thought I should learn what it would do! I can paddle about 70% of normal speed than with the regular double blade for an extended period. Dealing with wind is not really that difficult. And I can roll up with it.

It does cause a few folks a double take when I do it. But most don’t even notice.

George in Wyoming

That’s the best use- for emergencies.
And kayakers who have never used a canoe paddle may have difficulty.

Once saw something similar

– Last Updated: Jun-01-07 1:24 PM EST –

I once saw a guy on the Wisconsin River with a folding kayak that was equipped with a rudder. He had a standard kayak paddle, but he only paddled on one side. He used the rudder to compensate and keep the boat going in a straight line. He beached his boat where I was sitting, and I asked him why he paddled that way, but I honestly can't recall why he thought that what he was doing was "better" than using both blades of the paddle. I do know that with a single-blade paddle, using a rudder is a lot more efficient than using correction strokes, but since he had a blade on each end of the paddle, I couldn't understand why he just didn't just paddle on both sides and be done with it.

True for long kayaks that want to go
straight, but in whitewater canoes and kayaks, formal “correction” with j-stroke or ruddering is seldom necessary. WW boats are slow enough without rudders, but they’re willing to run straight slightly crabwise once one gets the knack.

SK Article
Most recent issue had a article about using a canoe paddle in a kayak. There were a few times in there where I had to check the date to make sure I wasn’t actually reading an April Fools piece.

There were at least a couple advantages, like having a really light paddle and no second blade catching the wind.


some kayaks were only paddled with a single blade

storm paddles
Greenland paddles were also used with very short looms and are called storm paddles. Using a sliding stroke and utilizing all of the length of the blade, you minimize wind resistance and have one blade in the water. very similiar to your observations about using a canoe paddle in strong winds. the advantage of the storm is that you just slid your hands down the length as you placed the blade so you don’t have to extricate the canoe paddle and repositon the blade.


WW Kayaker
A couple years ago I saw a WW kayaker up on Lake Jordan using one. He was doing rolls during the Wednesday evening practice sessions twice as fast, AND SMOOTHER, than the folks with WW kayak paddles.

Any day on the water is a great day,


nice in tight quarters, too
A single blade paddle is very nice to have when you are paddling in areas with lots of overhang. I used to use one in mangrove


I’ll Second that
Like down in the small sections of some of the Pine Barrens streams in New Jersey. It’s difficult to use a double bladed paddle effectively when one blade is hitting overhanging branches or the tree trunks along the shore.

A canoe paddle is actually more restful
for long distance cruising in a sea kayak it is a relief to switch off occasionally to an ultra light single blade. No loss of speed but the body gets to rest on half of each stroke. A slight pitch stroke with a single blade is all that’s needed to track straight in most long kayaks. I carry a 10 oz ZRE bent shaft as my back up paddle on my touring kayak.

Agree also…
Have used a Turtle Paddleworks ottertail for 2 years now as a backup for my sea kayak. I can keep pace with my paddling partners and it takes up less space on the deck. Also easy to roll with. Have not uses a greenland storm stick to compare though.