Double Bladed Canoe Paddle

Spoiled rotten I am!

I went on a river trip this AM. No shuttle. Upstream and back. Paddling my Osprey OC1, 30" beam, 27 at the gunnels.

I expected some current so I brought my 54" ZRE single blade, my wife’s 56" Sawyer single blade, and my 230 cm Werner Camano double (blue and white classic glass).

First thing I tried the Sawyer, splash splash heavy ugh, enough of that. Back to the ZRE ahhhhhhh. (I’m so spoiled!)

A couple of miles up stream I started feeling the current a bit. Time to try the double.

I always liked the Camano for yakking, good bite, reasonable weight. It’s been a year since I did that though. Now I’m 6"+ higher with 6" more beam at the gunnels. Got to pay attention, get the blade fully in the water. But the Osprey is moving well against the moderate current and I’m not zigzaging Like I do with the single.

An hour later I’m back in the slow current and you know this Werner is feeling HEAVY! I’m not getting the catch I want either. Finding it hard not to plop the blade in the water.

Two hours later I’m heading back down stream. Of course the wind has come up and it’s in my face.

Now the extra blade, up in the wind, is trying to fly away. All right enough. Back to the ZRE. Yeah I’m zigzagging more than I like but my paddle is light, my catch is clean, and there’s no stupid blade in the wind trying to go airborn.


I’ve got a Lil dipper in 220. It’s got to be a bit lighter and less likely to fly. But the 230 seemed like the minimal length for the canoe. Maybe a bit short even.

So what’s the Zaveral of double bladed canoe paddles? Light, good catch, did I mention light?


How about a long Loomed GP.

– Last Updated: Jul-15-07 7:19 AM EST –

Tommy, I have been playing with a NashWaak 25" loomed GP in my Placid BoatWorks 25" wide at the gunwales RapidFire. Works real well. I have always loved smaller blades and love the GPs in canoes.

For using GP in a canoe the important factors seems to be long enough loom (should be close to width of gunwales), long enough blades to get good bite in the water, and the top hand pushing more than the bottom hand pulling. My 31" blades (87"/218cm overall) are OK, but near marginal, for the RapidFire. Have ordered 28" loom and 37" blades (overall of 102"/255cm) for my new StarFire and other boats.



A friend has one
I guess he special ordered it. It appears to be a 240 with a cool coupler that can adjust the offset. Yikes at least twice the cost of a power surge.

May I humbly suggest…
Misc. parts of a write up I am working for the website on for the double blades.

These longer lengths are really where a carbon shaft is going to be at its competitive best.

Yep, a little flex is good, but a LOT of your energy is now getting lost with these super long wood, glass or aluminum shafts … not to mention the weight of holding up and swinging that long thing up in front of you all day. If there were ever a place for carbon, it would be here.

Lots of opinions on length but I humbly submit that folks should try a ‘long’ 230 - 240 kayak paddle before purchasing one of those really long ones.

Same goes for blade size, lots of ‘depends ons’ here too. Like slow motion, quiet water cruising ? Looking to cover some long distances ? Poleing in skinny water ? Since the blades are way out there, the lever arm is longer and blade-in-water duration is up too. Factor in the surface area of the shaft and now the square inches are adding up quicker than one might be able to turn the paddle over or spin it with any ergonomic efficiency.

A nice way to go is a three piece paddle.

A center piece to bump the paddle out to full length for poleing, skinny water work, etc. Pop it out for deep water point A to B solo paddling.

O.K. Realistic options from one paddle.

Start at 225 two piece with a 15 cm adjustable length extension. This runs up to 240 which would be great for tandem positioning / fine tuneing for syncronicity. Now have a third piece, say 20 cm long with another 15 cm ferule on it for 260 - 275 super range and now you can have two paddles in one.

Hope some of this is food for thought.

The entry angle of the blade is in the same range of kayak paddles and nothing particularly special has to be done to the blades themselves … at least with mine … LOL

Seriously, my paddles really are very stable and know what to do when they hit the water … the longer the shaft, the worse a blade which flutters will amplify back up to you …

Some thought to entry angle can be considered though because waters paddled ( super shallow water for example) and intended use could factor in hard with these things …not to mention personal preferences and expectations.

I am about 50 / 50 on sales between the 250 - 270 range vs. 230 - 240 for canoes. Waiting for someone to order a 225 - 275 Touring Wing in the three piece configuration … THAT would be the hottest paddle out there.

Double sticking a single stick solo
To start; shame on you!

Now that that’s behind us, try AT/S Exception. probably the driest and most forgiving blade available. Probably 230; you’re sitting /kneeling high in an Osprey, but shuld get a good, vertical stroke. Careful not to pull the blasde at of the knee - terrible yaw due to the stroke becoming a stern sweep.

[Try to hide that thing around folk who use single blades; it’ll cause them to take advantage of you.]

Shame on him period!!!


shame, shame, shame
I recently got into a donnybrook on a different board about double vs single blades. I sort of know Tommy, we have had many good discussions about canoe sailing. I don’t want to fight.

All I can say is shame shame shame. ;-(

That’s why a two piece is important …
so you can hide it under the deck when you are greatly out numbered by single bladers or the yakers think you stole a kayak paddle ;^)



Oh, the shame!

Now that that’s out of the way… have you ever done a sweep with a 240 double blade paddle with your hands way way down at the far end? I think if the water were calm enough I could probably get about 280degrees rotation out of one stroke! But don’t even think about a pry or a draw if there are low power lines over the water. Not pretty.

Seriously though… sounds like a great day on the water. I have the same double blade and since my single is not as light as a Zav, I don’t notice the difference. I’d better stop reading this before I get any bright ideas.

I take the Zav and my carbon kayak
paddle when paddling the Voyager. If the wind comes up or the kayakers are cranking,I use the double.Also , for better control if there is a current.

I use the Zav for cruising.On the lake, the Zav doesn’t get used much.

thought provoking, thanks Tommy
Patrick has a good point about the longer the shaft the more the blade flutters. I have a 4 piece 220cm Lendal touring paddle that is just a tad long for my sea kayak so I purchased a 30cm extension to make it into a 250cm double blade for canoeing. It is tiring to use that configuration all day because unless you hold the shaft (too) tightly the blade will wander and flutter.

I have a 230cm Werner Camano fiberglass which is too long from my sea kayaks and too short for double blading my solo canoes. I’m thinking of either buying an extension to make the Camano 250cm for canoeing, or cutting the shaft to make it 215cm for sea kayaking.

I still like single blading the best because it is so much quieter, no plop, swish, swirl with every stroke as a double blade does.

BTW, I have noticed a number of the posters who decry double blading a canoe because it isn’t “traditional” are paddling go-straight, kevlar carbon solo canoes using a carbon bent shaft paddle, neither of which is “traditional”. Shouldn’t traditionalists be paddling Chestnut wood and canvas with a Black Cherry Nashwaak beaver tail? There, now I feel better:):slight_smile:

I use a bent shaft sometimes, too, but not switching. I paddle on one side using a slight pitch stroke to stay on course, and only switch sides when I want to rest occasionally. No perceptible zigzagging with this technique.

My arms used to get tired using a double blade, too, then I studied the Greg Barton forward stroke and wow, what a difference. More speed, sustained over a longer period of time and no shoulder popping and tired arms.

I can’t get the fine control from a double. That’s the other reason I’m no yakker. You aren’t likely to see me running rapids with anything but a single blade. I got a T grip addiction there. I also far prefer my singles for cruising.

But I can clearly get more horsepower, at least short term, with the double. So when the wind is blowing me backwards I use the tool that gets me going.

Besides y’all should know by now,

I’m shameless.


Yup, Tradition…

– Last Updated: Jul-15-07 4:22 PM EST –

>>> Shouldn't traditionalists be paddling Chestnut wood and canvas with a Black Cherry Nashwaak beaver tail? There, now I feel better:):)

Here yer go, Brother Canoedancing......

Fat Elmo - Founder Of The Canoo Panthers Revolutionary Movement.

One of the most beautiful canoes ever!
Fat Elmo, you have one of the most beautiful canoes I’ve ever seen, thanks for posting those pictures. Dave did an outstanding job spruceing that baby up for you.


Dave is de best!
Gon’na take delivery on one of his Peregrines in September.


Forget the Double Blade

– Last Updated: Jul-16-07 11:30 AM EST –

Look at this pic of Tom and let's talk about shameless in style! Those shorts just about blinded all of us on the river that day!!

Sorry, to see this beautiful pic of river attire you need to cut and paste the whole URL.

Shame, shame, shame on you Tom! ;-)


Especially like the way Tommy is always

– Last Updated: Jul-15-07 7:14 PM EST –

so well color coordinated!

Takes a hell of a man to set style as he does!



Epic Relaxed Tour with Length-Lock

For me, this is the Zaveral of double blades. My full carbon with burgundy shaft (more flex) is much less effort per stroke than my carbon Camano. Mine adjusts from 215 to 225cm and I’ve only used it in my kayaks so far, but may try it in my Sawyer Starlight sometime soon.

I haven’t tried the AT paddles that Charlie suggests, but I’d like to sometime.

Like canoedancing, I use the Zaveral bent shaft on one side using a slight pitch at the end of the stroke until I feel like switching sides rather than using sit and switch. I find it more relaxing.

The Camanos tire me too quickly when paddling canoes. The Zaveral bent shafts are much less work.

Mohawk double
Mohawk makes a real long double bladed canoe paddle. Not carbon though, but it can take a pounding. You can twist it 90 so zero wind effects.

Why on earth do single blades still exist? And why on earth do they attract adherents? I would have thought this single blade idea would die as soon as someone discovered the extreme advantages you mention to double blading.

Oh the torture some put themselves through for purist experience. I wish I could find more versions of double blades with the extra length for my fat canoe. I’ll take some extra weight any day compared to zig zagging uselessly. I would like to see the energy savings of swinging a slightly heavy double compared to making additional course corrections. Can’t some college engineering student research this concept so we can understand what will burn the least energy from out tired bones?

Single blade plus rudder kicks the
behind of a double blade and no rudder in a canoe. Light carbon paddle and no corrective strokes. No zig zagging. Less tiring at the end of the day. Of course, most rudders aren’t much use in shallow (skinny) water and the double blades are great in shallow water, especially when going upstream.