Extra-Long High-Angle Double Blade

I’m looking for an extra long (280 cm) high angle double blade paddle to use in my canoe. I’ve found 4 companies that offer just such a thing specifically for canoe use. Wondering if anyone has experience with any of these, or knows of something similar.

Spring Creek Outfitters Wave


Bending Branches Slice http://www.bendingbranches.com/paddles/kayak/extra-long/slice-glass-solo

Foxworx K3 extra long


I won’t link the Shaw & Tenney, at $350 it is more than I’m willing to part with.

Too Long
If you’re using a high angle, vertical, stroke, 280 is way more length than you will need. Depending on seat height and torso length, 240-250 should do.

Werner’s Ikelos is a blade shape designed to optimize high angle strokes. Onno has well designed blade shapes for vertical strokes as well.

…for the info. I’m paddling a Bell Eveningstar, and it’s pretty wide. That was my thinking for going with a longer paddle. I’m 5’10", and I kneel. What do you think?

I Think Inappropriate
Or just out of place in a canoe. A double blade is just not harmonious in a craft designed to be paddled with a single blade paddle. Of course, this is my personal opinion and would suggest trying out the various comfortable single blade paddles available while kneeling and paddling only on one side.

I think kneeling in a canoe …

– Last Updated: May-03-12 11:39 PM EST –

..... is a solo thing , not too good for paddling with your wife , toddler and daughter group thing ... because of the heeling that is usually performed .

It seems it would be really tough to near impossible to get everyone in the tandem to ballance the heel (lean) at the same time , and when needed .

Solo canoes are generally narrower than tandems like yours , and when solo paddling one often heels (leans) the canoe into and out of turns , ferries , etc. .

When soloing a tandem one often heels the canoe also , but may "keep" it heeled over and to one side or the other for long periods of time , thus kneeling with one knee in the chine (curve between bottom and side) . Basically the "chine" becomes the center of gravity ...

The heeling I'm speaking about "when solo" (especially in a tandem) is a much more drastic lean than the heel (lean) performed by two people (bow/stern) paddling a tandem .

IMHO plainsman , you should be doing your thing from the stern seat with a single blade canoe paddle . You can move the load by yourself from there , you can make the turns from there ... it's just that being the only one on the paddle things will go slower that's all , turns are wider and slower , forward speed is slower .

Wife should help from the bow seat as much as she can or is needed by you . Bow paddler should get the turns (L/R) at least intiated cause that "really" takes a load of the stern paddler It's tough for stern paddler to get the bow to break L or R when the tandem has a load in it , makes harder work for stern paddler .

Bow paddler is a big help into a headwind , bow paddler is a big help paddling against the current or (up-river) ... bow paddler is a big help getting a turn intiated (breaking the bow) ... and bow paddler can near double the speed in a straight line cruise if wanted , but speed not necesarily needed , it's a leisure sport too if you like it that way (steady as she goes is a good thing too) .

You and wife take turns teaching daughter to do the bow thing off and on a short bit at a time ... good fot her !!

You got three capable paddlers in that canoe plainsman ... you do the lions share and be the chauffer from the stern when the going is smooth and light wind ... expect them to kick in and do some grunt also when things get tougher with currents , winds , or long straight line runs to cover distance .

Save your money and don't buy a double blader is my advise ...

If you want to set up oars (traditional way) and foot brace stops ... then you can sit in center amd oar away , just don't bop the stern seat person with your fisted oar hands . lol .

Some people say foot brace stops also help when paddling from stern with a single blade ... I've not tried that myself but seems it might help deliver more of your energy into power , body mass locked better to canoe by feet (??) .

You really want to get some kick ass power from the stern , rig up dual paddle wheels and a strong back rest ... I've not done this either but I guarantee it will work , use paddle like a rudder and "slight" heel into turns (I probably just made someone a millionair !!) .

Plainsman, I think the Bending Branches
is your best option. I know you have to work out your kneeling situation, and I suggest a minicell pedestal crammed under the center thwart/portage yoke. Let me know here or on your SOTP thread if you want suggestions.

On the other paddles, I don’t like basswood shafts like those on the Foxworx. Basswood is not a wood to use by itself in paddle shafts. The third option had too little detail. Anyway, I think the Bending Branches is better than the Fox & Tenny, though the latter is a beautiful paddle if ordered in sassafras.

C.E. Wilson mostly uses double blades in sitting position in canoes much narrower than yours. So it is clear why he would think that double blades over 240 cm would be too long. I’m too tall to provide main line advice, but I kneel. I find 240 cm just a bit short. But if you order a paddle like that Bending Branches, I think 240 cm may be enough.

As for the input from other discussants, their points are valid, but use of a double blade is something that one must try. Try it, and if you don’t like it, sell it.

Here’s my take. You’re paddling a pocket tandem on windy lakes and rivers in Nebraska and Kansas. I can readily see why a double blade might be an enormous help, and might get you out of some real difficulty now and then. I’ve also found that my wife and kids, when starting out as paddlers, could jump into my 15’ ww Synergy tandem and immediately paddle it under good control. They couldn’t paddle that canoe properly with a single blade, and still can’t. They waste a tremendous amount of energy J-ing or ruddering. (I don’t use correction much with a single blade. It’s like getting over an addiction.)

Try contacting BB directly
I paddle with a carbon slice, and the blade it big enough it should work for a canoe, but it might be worth your while to contact them and look into their plus ferrule system, which makes the length adjustable. This way you could use it in different canoe, or if you think you want 280, maybe get adjustable from 270-290 just in case you want a little more/less reach

I can make a 463.5 if any one needs it

– Last Updated: May-04-12 6:41 AM EST –

This would of course run up to 473.5 with the 10cm adjustment range. Weight < 36 in the Signature Carbon.

This paddle would still cost the same as my 230 - 240 ones and be < 26 in Signature Carbon.

(IMO) Paddles should flow seamlessly between high and low angle, just like the person using them would.

Back in the Day
at the turn of the last century, almost all solo canoes were paddled with double blade sticks. One of the better references is Hally Bond’s “Boats and Boating in the Adirondacks” but there are hundreds of others. Dr. McGregor’s RobRoy was paddled with a double blade, ~ 1860.

It is possible to compare single and double blsde sticks without bias. The double blade eliminates directional control issues by alternating left/right side strokes and can increase cadence which increases speed. With a horizontal stroke the paddler needs a light paddle because it is held in the air all day long. Vertical strokes allow the lower blade to float the paddle’s weight but are wetter as some amount of water is hoisted over one’s head several times a minute.

Double blade downsides are the footprint, either wide or high which can be an issue on intimate, brushy streams and wettness. Drip rings are actually just a simple form of showerhead and we usually need rain pants of a deck to stay dry in shoulder seasons.

The single blade is usually shorter, lighter and less expensive because we’re buying one blade. The footprint is much smaller, more so if using an in-water recovery. Control of the blade is enhanced because there is no second blade catching wind overhead to alter one’s intentions for the in-water blade. Importantly, on “rests” on recovery, so the single blade is easier on the body, but cadence is slower and so is forward speed. By contrast, there is no rest with a double blade.

Downside of the single blade sticks is the long apprenticeship required to learn boat control paddling on one side of the watercraft. Sit and Switch is a fine intermediate step, but the full on advanced whitewater array of stroke, slices and cross strokes takes some focus.

Back in the day when Grover and I led FreStyle river trips, we’d give everyone a double paddle too. When fatigue caused loss of control of all those fine control muscles, we’d have 'em snap the doubles together and take off for the take out; so what if their knees got wet. Still works today, that double stick is great against a headwind.

Thanks everyone!

– Last Updated: May-04-12 9:53 AM EST –

I'm new to canoeing, I had know idea this was such a controversial topic. The paddle just seems a means to an end to me. The "end" being the journey over water. Just a tool for me, and I want to use the best tool for the job.

I do have a nice pair of Bending Branches single paddles, sized for my wife and I. We enjoy using them when we go out alone. With much practice we've learned control and speed using a combination of forward strokes and j strokes. We are able to paddle as a team with very little switching of sides. When the kids are not with us we don't have any problems.

However, our 19 month old requires constant attention while in the boat. We insist on taking him as often as possible, almost daily, short shoreline paddles. We want him to grow up in the boat! These are occasions where I want a double paddle for better directional control, when my wife can't help with paddling.

Our daughter is a very petite 10 year old. She is not big enough to sit in the bow of this boat and paddle. The Eveningstar is too wide for her, even at the bow, she just does not have the reach.

I'm also just starting to solo paddle this boat. I've found it to be incredibley fast and responsive when soloed kneeling from the center.
Here's a photo from 2 days ago.

It definately is too wide for this with a single paddle. I've also tried "Canadian style" paddling, kneeling with one gunwale pushed down almost to the water. That is definately not for me, just not my thing. When I solo I want to cover lots of miles fast and get a good workout. That's just me.

I'm much more comfortable kneeling at all times in this boat. Sitting on the seats feels awkward to me.

Thanks agin for all the input. Everything I know about this boat, I've learned from trial and error, or on internet forums. Sounds dangerous, eh? Learning anything on the inetenet?! Seriuosly though, I really appreciate everyones input and experience here, you all have helped me so much! I've yet to see another canoe on Harlan County Lake, or the Republican River, and don't expect to ever see one.

Hang the "rules"
We paddlers can be just like real people – argumentative and too-sure-of-ourselves. I like your attitude. Whatever gets you on the water is just fine. Myself, I’ve been using a kayak paddle in my canoe for several years . . . since I learned that it made me a whole lot more stable, and kept me in a straight line. I, too, was a ‘purist’, in the beginning, thinking that a canoe wasn’t complete without a canoe paddle, but I got over that. Now, I’m looking for an extra-long, flat-bladed kayak paddle to use as I practice standing and paddling in my Wenonah Prospector 15 . . . . it’s a little shaky, but I think it’ll work.