Double Blade a J-193/J-203?

-- Last Updated: Apr-10-16 3:23 PM EST --


I recently picked up a J-193 because I wanted something to paddle for fitness. I have only single bladed two times total so my skills are a bit weak but I am working on them. I did 10 miles in the J-193 the other day and averaged 4.44 mph and from what I understand this hull can do more.

Couple of questions:

1. Not counting top racers what can an average paddler expect to average with a J-193/J-203 on flat water? Just looking for a ballpark estimate and I realize there are a lot of variables.

2. Besides that most C1 races require a single blade paddle. Is there any reason you cannot or shouldn't use a double blade in a J-193? I guess what I am asking is there anything specific about the design where it is not efficient or not work well?



double blades are more tiring
Your canoe was designed for sit and switch with a single bent shaft blade.

Doubles induce yaw even in a straight tracking rig. And you always have to hold up half.

If you go double the best paddle would be short with a high angle stroke. That will probably get you a shower with each stroke.

Why short or single blades? The most effective paddle stroke is parallel to the center line of the canoe. Not a C or part of a c ( a good forward stroke with a kayak blade is not a full backwards C. It ends in front of you)

6 - 8 MPH Average?
Pros should do 10+ MPH easy and give surfskis a run for the money in flat water.

Paddling such a fast looking racer with a double bladed paddle would look weird compared to single blade marathon racing paddle that canoe racers use.

In some races, if you use a double bladed paddle, you’re racing a kayak. And if you use a single blade, then you’re racing a canoe.

My suggestion is to try out a single or double bend 9.75" wide outrigger paddle and see how well it performs with your canoe? You might just settle on a narrower 9" wide model?

I can’t handle over 8.25" wide.
But, I’m not a racer and not well conditioned.

In my J200…

– Last Updated: Apr-10-16 9:50 PM EST –

I have a Crozier J200 that I paddle with both a single and double blade.

As for paddling double blade, the width and height of the sides of the canoe at the catch interferes with a good form high angle double blade stroke, like you would use in a racing kayak or surfski. That said, you can certainly do it, but it works much better without a wind, as correction strokes with a double blade paddle is hard to impossible depending on the conditions. I use a 240cm paddle and feel it is a tad short, but works acceptably. I think a 250 might be too long. I havent experimented with anything longer.

As for speed, for 6 miles at race training pace, I can average about 5.5mph. In a race, my personal best is 1:12 over 7 miles which is 5.83 mph. I just did 6 miles of medium pace training into and with the wind and averaged 4.2mph, but the wind was 15-20 mph, so it hurt the overall quite a bit. I have seen local pros average in the high 6's, like 6.4-6.8 mph, but he was one of the best paddlers in the Minneapolis area. True pros at the national level can do sightly better than 7mph over about a 1 hour race, but that is a small group.

In a flat water sprint or downwind, I can hit peaks of 9.5-10mph for a few seconds. Im about .2 mph faster 10 second peak speed with a double blade, probably due to the faster cadence possible.

I am 6'1" and use a 50.5" ZRE Power Surge Light that is 8" wide. I do not like wide paddles like outriggers in the 8.75-10" range, as it is better to increase cadence rather than power. The top racers paddle at 60-80 strokes per minute. Also, personally, my shoulders and hands deal better with shorter but faster strokes.

For reference, I am almost 31 years old and generally athletic. I paddle 2-5 times a week in the summer and 1-2 times a week as long as the water is liquid on long island sound. My average paddle is 5-10 miles depending on the day.

Hope this helps. Enjoy the boat. Its one if the more challenging and fun boats to paddle on earth.

Marcus gave you some realistic numbers which are also what I’ve experienced. I raced semi-seriously for a few years and in something like a J-203 I couldn’t hope to average much over 5.5mph over the course of a race. Knowing how hard I’m pulling and breathing it blows my mind to see what the top competitors can do for speed. The majority of paddlers are well below that.

I was very disappointed when I got my first racing boat (West Side Boat Shop Thunderbolt) because it wasn’t really all that much faster than my sea kayak. It took me about 1 1/2 years of hard work doing workout paddles 2-3 times/week to get to the point where I could average 6.5 mph over a 6 mile course.

It’s also interesting to note that at the end of that 1 1/2 year period when I jumped back into my sea kayak I could now propel it along at 6mph over that 6 mile course when before I was convinced I had it maxed out at 5.3mph.

It all comes down to technique and conditioning, both of which require a lot of time on the water.


More interesting numbers
Although I’m in nowhere near as good of shape as I was a few years ago I still have a decent stroke. Last summer I was messing around with a fitness canoe design that I built and was comparing it against an old J-180 and Bell Magic so I was running them all on the GPS.

The J-180 was way faster than the Bell Magic when I sprinted out of the gate (6.9mph vs. 6.3 mph) and I could hold the speed around 6mph for considerably longer. But at the end of a 3 mile run I was surprised to find the average speed of both hulls very close at 5.2 vs. 5.3 mph.

No doubt in the hands of a capable racer the J-180 would show much higher speeds when compared to the Magic. But for me, in the condition I’m in now, it’s surprisingly close.


Great Info
Thanks for all the great info.

I purchased a ZRE Power Surge Medium to use with the J-193. My goal is to get up to an average of 5.0 initially. I am sure I can get there as my stroke gets better.


– Last Updated: Apr-12-16 11:44 AM EST –

Also, I forgot to mention, but the J boats are inherently slower than a surfski or other skinny boat.

Some good paddling buddies paddle a V10 and V12 and I tried to stay with them on a couple occasions. They were paddling at a fitness pace but not hammering. No matter how hard I paddled, I lost ground on them. You'll never stay with a long skinny boat (meaning any racing kayak or ski thats more than 19' long and less than 19" wide). Their hull speed is just plain faster.

A large part of making a J boat go fast is having a wake to ride. If you're all alone, you'll be hard pressed to average much over 6mph. Its much more possible to average in the 6's if you have a tandem racing canoe (or 20) to ride the wake on.

In a race, I always hammer hard off the start line and try to get on the tail end of the lead pack, then stay on their wake as long as I can, usually a couple or 3 miles before I gas out. At that point, you have pulled ahead of the 2nd pack by quite a bit and its usually enough that you dont have to worry about them catching up. If you intend to race at all, I highly recommend learning to ride wakes. Controlling the boat in a confused start can be difficult, but is also critical to getting a good position and maintaining a fast overall speed. I bet I can take 1-5 minutes off a 1 hour race by staying on the lead pack as long as I can.

Also, wave riding is the most fun you can have on the boat! I lowered my seat and have had it out in 12-15" waves (I know this because waves were coming over my 15" bow) and have had a (scary) blast.

That’s a very good paddle.

Pretty Sure You’d Keep Up With
An even narrower OC-1?