Double Blade Canoe Paddle

I’m looking for a wood double bladed canoe paddle to use with my pack canoe. The single blade is fun to use with it, but it performs much better with a double blade. It has a 32" beam and I’m 6’ 2". I’ve tried using my 230 Werner but it seems a bit short (water drips in the canoe). I could use larger drip rings, but I’m looking for a long term solution. I’ve found a couple that are 250 cm. One by Camp Paddles and another by Oak Orchard Canoes. Think that might be too long and a 240 would be better? Does anybody have suggestions from other makers? I’m sure the 240 would work well with my 28" wide rec kayak as well, but the 250 might be a bit too long for that. It would be cool if I could get one paddle that would work well with both boats. But I’m primarily interested in getting a double blade for my canoe, as I have paddles that work well with the kayak already.

I’m using a 240cm in a canoe with
29" beam. I sit low in the boat and am about 5’5" tall. I usually use a higher angle when I paddle to minimize the ‘sweep’ effect. I thought I would like a 250, but the extra length would get in my way. I get some dripping in the boat so I wear paddling pants that shed water in the cooler weather. When it’s hot, I’m glad for the drips. :slight_smile:

I’m using a plastic Bending Branches Infusion Dream and it’s ok, but I’m going to get a stiffer blade. In stronger current I notice too much flexing in the blade that makes my paddling less effective and poses a risk of breaking at a bad moment. Christmas is coming, so I better get my request in to all my Santas!

I’ve used an old 250 cm Clement
in our MR Guide and MR Synergy, both about 28" in beam. These boats have a kneeling saddle. I am very tall in the torso, and with a high angle paddling style, the blades just reach comfortably. Plan for a high angle style. Low angle in a canoe wastes too much energy causing the boat to waddle from side to side.

When looking for a paddle, stick to relatively short blades, and try to get blades which can take some rock contact without shredding.

Being a sometime kayaker, I like to use a double blade now and then, but even with the high-rocker MR Synergy, I am more effective at maneuvering with a 61" canoe paddle.

I agree with Mike
I use a 250cm with my wenonah Sandpiper. 250 is the shortest double blade I’d use for a canoe. A 270 is better. Some canoe double blades may be listed in feet rather than cm. In that case, 8’ is OK; 9’ better.

Longer still
I’ve got a Mowhawk double that I think runs around 300 cm. Seems to work pretty well from the middle of my MR Explorer. It still drips all over everything though. It also works well for standup paddling using one blade as the T grip.

Piggy Backin’
Kayakangler, this is a timely thread for me as I’m looking for a double blad for canoeing also.

I’d been wanting to try it again for some time, but never got around to it. Scheming on a coastal expedition, where I might need the extra horsepower for particularly windy situations and maybe sprints out of the way of boat traffic, has put the idea back on the front burner.

I’m also interested in trying to use paddle float-aided self rescue with the canoe.

You guys are all taller than me
so I can understand why you like longer paddles. I do know a guy who is around 6’ tall who paddles a solo Dagger WW canoe with a double blade. He’s been doing this a long time and is competent in class IV rivers. He’s set up with a saddle and thigh straps and uses a Lightning one piece, slightly feathered, medium sized blade. He said he started with very long paddles (8’-9’)and discovered that he likes paddles around 7’. I think you need to try some to see what you like best.

Remember that unlike a single blade, you always have a blade exposed to the wind with a double paddle. Mowhawk makes a tough and useful paddle, but in the wind the weight and blade size can be tiring. Also, a shorter paddle is easier to work with in the narrow streams and tight spaces like culverts and low bridges. Just some more thoughts to throw into the mix.

Thanks for the responses
It’s interesting to see what others are using. The Mohawk looks pretty good and you can’t beat the price, but I really would prefer wood. The 250 would probably work good for me. I’m using the seat in it’s original position in the OT Pack.

Another thought about length
It might not hurt to get yourself a cheap double to play around with to figure out what length you really want. Some models even have ways to adjust the length with middle sections of different lengths. Then, when you buy the paddle you really want, you won’t accidently get a length you aren’t happy with.

I often use a Mohawk double with my solo canoe (Wenona Vagabond). I have found that the Mowawk blades get a much better grip on the water for power strokes and quick turns than is possible with my Werner Camano. With the Camano I often find myself thrashing with two strokes to do what the Mohawk can do with one easy stroke (the two paddles are the same length). The bigger blades and the lack of any curvature are what make the difference. The Mohawk can feel pretty heavy at times, and the thicker material of the blades causes the drip water to come off more randomly, not in a concentrated stream (so not as much water gets caught in the home-built drip cups as happens with the Werner paddle).

Self Rescue
"I’m also interested in trying to use paddle float-aided self rescue with the canoe. "

Please post after you’ve tried that. I’d be interested in how you fare. I’m also interested in any tricks or techniques you discover.

Metric system wasn’t invented…
…when I was learning math. When I got my Pack, my first solo, I got a 9’ carbon double and have used it 90% of the time since, in a Sandpiper and now a Vagabond. I carry a single spare. I got the carbon to save weight. I called a company now out of business, and he had some stock lying around from which he could make this unorthodox size. I’ve never regretted it. Two-piece of course. I’m about 6’, and take relatively short strokes to minimize the sweep effect. Have no problems except in narrow passages, when the single comes in handy.

Several Sources
I have been researching longer double bladed paddles for a while and have found the following:

  1. Mohaw 9’ (270 cm) ~ $45.00

  2. Spring Creek 9’ made by Cannon ~ $80.00

  3. Bending Branch will custom make their paddles in 250, 260, 270 and 280 cm. for about $20.00 additional cost. $ Varies, depending on model.

  4. Grey Owl Paddles 250 cm ~ $100.00 - $135.00

  5. Pacific Design will builds a 258 cm with will custom bulid longer versions. (The owner/designer states that they can be telescoped shorter and taped until the perfect length is found then he will shorten the paddle to that length at no charge except for shipping both ways.) ~ $110.00

Double bladed canoe paddles has plans for a 14 foot pirogue.At the end of the plans is a schematic for making a wooden double bladed paddle. I increased the overall length to 9 feet and built my own. I already had the fiberglass resin and 1/4 inch plywood, so it cost me seven dollars to homebuild my first double bladed paddle.

I agree with Pamskee on trying a shorter double blade before buying the longer ones. I paddle a Wenonah Vagabond and I am 5’ 6" tall so I actually use a 230 Mitchell and it worked better than the 240 I originally tried. I am an experienced kayaker and haven’t had any trouble with getting paddle drips with the shorter blade.

Consider that a longer paddle and especially the cheaper ones are very heavy and if you are doing long trips and using your double blade exclusively, it will kill you by the second day of your journey. If you are just using it for windy conditions then the cheaper paddle would be ok.

Throwback Style
Isn’t there an uncommon legacy paddle style where you slide your hands along the shaft alternately as you switch sides? This would permit a longer effective length with a shorter double blade paddle. Complicated, though.