Double blade paddle advice for Vagabond?

I’m the proud new owner of an older Royalex Wenonah Vagabond. It’s replacing a Fusion that I had for a few years prior. The Vagabond tracks much better and is a lot more efficient. That being said, I use a single blade nearly all the time. But I always like to carry a spare paddle, and I’m thinking of adding a double blade (GASP!) to carry as a spare/additional paddle.

I used the single blade sometimes in my Fusion, but the size and layout of the boat really made a double blade more practical. Now in my Vagabond, it’s the other way around. But I’d like to have the double blade along for times when I really need to cover some ground on big open water, and in situations where I’m in a hurry and dealing with a stiff headwind.

I really like the looks of the Werner Skagit Hooked in a 260cm.

The length seems about right for me at 5’ 8" and the width of my canoe at 28" at the gunwales. The narrow blades and low angle approach seems right for the job. I’m not real familiar with kayak paddles, so I may be way off. The paddle I used before in my Fusion was a cheapy aluminum and plastic kayak paddle from the local big box store, and it did fairly well but seemed heavy and a little short.

Does this sound like a good fit for what I need? Are there better suited options that you guys can recommend?

I wouldn’t go over 240cm.
I prefer a more efficient, more vertical stroke.

I use a 225 cm in my Bell Flashfire or Yellowstone Solo or Merlin II, Curtis Lady Bug or Mad River Monarch. The Merlin II has the widest gunwales at 28" measured at the outside edges.

I’m 5’6".

I agree with Yanoer
I wouldn’t go any longer than 240cm, and I would actually recommend 230cm. Both of my solo canoes are 28" at the gunwales and I started with 240, then switched to 230 and the shorter paddle is so much better!

About the Skagit, I have swung it around at the store and found it a bit heavy. If you can afford something better from Werner, I would recommend a Camano, full carbon if you can afford it, otherwise the carbon shaft/ fiberglass blade version is fine too.

Thanks for the replies. Especially the recommendation on the shorter paddle. I was thinking the 260cm may give a drier ride especially in the winter. But I would probably be using my single blade most then anyways. I’ll go by the local box store today and see how the 230 and 240 length paddles feel in person. They may have something decent enough to try out for a while.

Assuming you retain the mid height Wenonah seat, shorter shaft length will yield a more efficient, more vertical stroke that will induce less yaw. Shorter shafts also allow a higher cadence which increases potential speed.

Injection molded blades place maximum weight in the worst possible place: at the far ends of a long stick. The weight increases effort and slows cadence.

Foam insert carbon blades are the very best, but Fiberglass blades are fine at a price point. Be sure to fit the shaft diameter to your hand size. expanding or contracting the hand;s natural angle of repose increases strain.

Another one to try
I’d suggest and Aquabound Manta ray in 230 for your canoe. About the same cost as the Skagit but I like it a lot more.

my choice
I use a 250cm aquabound navigator in my similar solos when I resort to a dubble. A nearly dry ride.


I got mine from Mohawk Canoes online

I’ll order one
I think I’ll save up a couple more bucks and order a decent paddle. Maybe I can get time to make a motorbike ride down to my local canoe shop this weekend instead… I think they carry Aqua Bound. I’ll take the recommendations that several have made and check out the Aqua Bound line. Probably try something around the 240-250cm size. Thanks again for all the advice. I’ll be doing some research.

230-240 Mid Swift
That’s the first solo boat my wife had and that paddle served her well. Had to hunt for one with the inlay, but that paddle has stood up to several years of Ozark rivers and a few times in the BWCAW. If it were me, I think the 240 may have been a bit better?

personal preference
I think choosing a length for a double bladed canoe paddle comes down to personal preference.

I have paddled my Bell Merlin II and Sawyer Summersong with a 230 double blade and found it to be shorter than I would have liked. The Summersong is only 22 inches at the molded beam but has a maximum beam of 28 inches amidships.

The only problem with a more efficient vertical stroke is that it puts the high blade directly over your hull so that water runs off the wet blade, down the shaft, and into your boat with every stroke. This seems to bother some people more than others.

For myself, I much prefer just using a lightweight, relatively short bent shaft single blade and switching. The paddle is much lighter, easier to stow, the boat stays drier, and once you get good at switching you can maintain a stroke cadence nearly as fast as with a double blade.

more info
My 250cm navigator was special order. Others have commented on its quietness. even though I prefer a straight single, it’s the nicest dubble I have tried.