Canoe paddle in a kayak

Recently bought a 52" ZRE bent shaft canoe paddle to use with my new solo canoe and absolutely love it. Decided to give it a try in my kayak (QCC 600X) just for kicks and discovered that’s it really fun to paddle with a single blade! Don’t think top speed is as good and it’s a bit tougher to turn but for just a nice cruise or putting around I love the feel of it. There’s something about holding a canoe paddle that has it all over a double blade.

Plus at 8.5 oz. it makes my Onno kayak paddle feel like a $50 Cabela’s special. Nothing against the Onno, I love it too, just that seeing as how the ZRE has a shorter shaft and only one blade it’s a lot lighter. An inch or two shorter would be nice but it does a fine job and I think I’ll be taking it out with me most of the time now.

I also decided to try rolling for the first time yesterday and found it pretty easy to do with the canoe paddle, only one blade to worry about.

And no drips running down your arms!

I can’t be the only one out there, anyone else?


After many years in decked c-1 as
well as kayak, I can do it. But at least in whitewater, c-1s don’t work as well with kayak paddles, and kayaks don’t work as well with c-1 paddles.

A carefully chosen or modified c-1 paddle makes a wonderful kayak spare.

me too
I only paddle with a canoe paddle. Mine is shorter, at 46.25" a ZRE Powersurge Medium 12 degree. Lot easier on the shoulders. I have not used the kayak paddle in either the canoe or kayak since I got it.

Great for change of pace
Last September I made a week+ trip with another kayaker, and I knew my boat was faster than his. I borrowed my friend’s kid’s canoe paddle (48" beaver tail) thinking I’d use that if I started to open up a gap on my friend.

I discovered a couple things, I liked using a single blade, it wasn’t that much slower than a double blade, and it is great to change paddles on a long trip to change up the motion and muscles being used.

I traced the kid’s paddle and made a replica over the winter, except I think it will turn out a lot lighter. I’ve been laid up this season and haven’t used it, but I think I’m gonna like it.

There’s a kayaker hereabouts, probably the most skilled and experienced kayaker I know, who likes to use a single blade, too. He told me he is slower, but can paddle a loaded boat with it all day without tiring.

So, yes, there are at least a couple of others who have used single blades in their kayak.


You’re not alone. My 47.75" Zav
works pretty well in my QCC 400X, composite Sea Lion and Old Town Castines. 46" would work better for me.

Chuck_IL and Silverwave even used it for couple miles each in their Perception Dancer whitewater kayaks last week and it worked surprisingly well on the non-technical flatwater river that we were on.

I often have both kayak paddle and the Zav bent shaft in the kayaks for change of pace and muscle use.

When I first went into seakayaking, I knew I would miss the elegance of the single blade. So I had Al Camp make me a very short 5 degree bent shaft wood-foam paddle. I used it as my spare for a long time.

Most whitewater “C-1’s” these days seem to be converted kayak hulls, so the only difference between closed canoeing and kayaking in such hulls is kneeling versus sitting. It would be odd for someone to convert a kayak hull into a kneeling boat and then use a kayak paddle anyway.

In the other direction, I’ve never seen a buttboating WW kayaker use a single blade except to goof off. They wouldn’t know how, unless they were a converted WW canoeist – in which case they probably converted for the very purpose of using a double blade.

Not really had any problems with speed
in the kayak with it, but you sure have no problem going all day with it.

I should add I think it is only better if you have a rudder. I don’t think my J-stroke is all that effective in the middle of the boat.

J-stroke works in the middle of solo
canoes and also works in the middle of solo kayaks. How well it works in the kayak depends on the kayak, just as it does with a solo canoe.

I like it best too
My heavy rock basher bentshaft 48 inch single weighs about the same as my carbon kayak paddle but it is easier to swing all day.

I like the motion better.

I think the double is better for top speed, rough water and surfing. For everything else I prefer the single blade.

They’re great
For going through narrow mangrove tunnels or other areas with low hanging branches and otherwise tight clearances. The backup paddle of choice when you might be paddling through those conditions - sure beats using half of a two piece kayak paddle.

yes it is
unless your stern is so heavily skegged thats its a bear.

Just like the forward stroke the j ends with your hands in front of you…only the blade trails your body.

Don’t Kayak Any More, But…
…I preferred the single blade too. My 48" BB Viper worked well in a kayak for me. WW

Why haven’t admonished him for
Posting this on the advice board ?

Gary got a haircut…
…and his azzhat isn’t as tight as it used to be.

(Heh, heh, heh, heh.)

Canoe Paddle
I’ve played around with one in my kayak and found the same experience that you did.

I occasionally rent a SOT at the boat hous in Forest Park. They have the crapiest paddles so I always bring my canoe paddle along.


Guy’s asking a question and offering
advice. He’s not posting a death report or asking people to follow his racing career.

You’ll figure it out.

I think
you guys who enjoy paddling a kayak with a canoe paddle should try paddling a canoe, or a C1.

Many of us do. I do.

single and double blade paddles
Once again it’s time for my semi-annual rant on single vs. double bladed padddles and the boats they are associated with. There are double blade paddles and single blade paddles; there are not “canoe” paddles or “kayak” paddles. Both types of paddles have been documented as having been used with both canoes and kayaks for over 150 years and were probably used with both craft for thousands of years.

John McGregor is credited with starting recreational canoeing with his highly publicized trips in the 1850’s and his subsequent books. I have a 1871 version of one of his books showing him paddling his decked canoe with a double bladed paddle. The first American recreational canoeists also used double bladed paddles as shown in pictures of pre 1900 ACA gatherings on Sugar Island. Of course Native American paddlers used single blades in bark and log craft for thousands of years. Voyagers used single blades in longer birch bark craft, as did the N.W. paddlers of the great cedar log canoes and Umiak paddlers in the more northern areas.

Any review of historic Arctic kayaks will show many examples of single bladed paddles being used with kayaks before 1900. My guess is that the hunting advantage (not spooking game with the out of water blade flashing in the air) was quite important to this use. Some of the kayak designs had such deep combings that single blade paddles may have worked better-this is just my speculation.

There, I now feel better, sorry you were subjected to my rant- As my health continues to return I need to get out and paddle more and rant on Pnet less.