Canoe Paddle

I’m purchacing an Old Town Saranac 146 this weekend for family recreation and fishing. We will be on local rivers and Lake Waco. Me and my wife will most likely always be out on it together and we are trying to figure out the type of paddles to use. We like kayak paddles because of the control you can have with them and it seems that you can get places faster with them. Would it be a good idea that we both use kayak paddles or regular canoe paddles?

There’s no right or wrong.
I would use single bladed canoe paddles in that boat, but it’s personal choice. There’s nothing wrong with using double bladed paddles.

Yes and no
As long as you can stay in sinc, the yak paddles will work on open water. But you may find them awkward in narrow twisty streams - especially those with overhanging trees.

Hard to stow while fishing
I do not think I have ever seen a tandem canoe powered by two kayak paddles but it should be possible. I do think it might be a problem stowing two kayak paddles in the boat while trying to fish. It seems like they would get in the way.


This is my first canoe so I thank you for your advice! I believe I will go with the single blade paddles because I will be in rivers most of the time and you all have good points. Thanks again!

A standard Suggestion for First-Timers

– Last Updated: Jan-27-15 5:04 PM EST –

One cool thing about tandem canoeing is that the two paddlers can soon learn to do a reasonable job of making the boat go where they want it to when paddling conditions are easy, without even knowing anything! One not-so-cool thing is that it is extremely common for a pair of tandem paddlers to get frustrated or angry with each other when the boat does not do what's best in a given situation, and this anger is almost always wrongly placed.

I recommend doing SOMETHING to acquaint yourself with something other than forward and reverse power strokes and switching paddling sides. There are a few good books and lots of informative videos you can buy, as well as plenty of videos to see online. To get you started, I recommend Bill Mason's "Path of the Paddle, Double's Basic" (that's one of a series of episodes on the complete video, which you can purchase on by the way). I see that it can be found on Youtube. Perhaps not everyone likes the hokey story-telling that sets the stage in this video (I do), but this is as good as anything for introducing basic skills to a beginning tandem paddling team.

Even before learning any of these skills, simply knowing that there are ways to make a canoe behave, and knowing that it's never just one person's fault when things go wrong, can do wonders for doing-away with the feelings that lead to frustration or anger with one's partner. If you go on to become a pro, so much the better, but simple awareness of "how things could be" helps a lot.

Happy Tandem Paddling!!