Just purchased a Mad River Adventure 14 tandem canoe. We can’t wait to get out on the water. The canoe came with two canoe paddles, but we would prefer kayak paddles.
The question; how do we know what length paddles to purchase?
Welcome! You want paddles long enough to reach enough water for a good stroke and no longer. That reach depends on paddler height and arm length.
Echoing what @String says…
For a canoe paddle - from Bending Branches website - the general rule is the shortest paddle that allows you to comfortable reach the water is best. In the middle of your stroke, your grip hand should be at the height of your nose. The throat of the paddle (where the blade meets the shaft) should be at the water line.
Kayak paddles are somewhat similar but you typically sit much lower in a kayak than a canoe, and the paddle length you chose also depends on your paddling stroke, high (shorter length) or low (longer length) angle style.
So, the best kayak paddle for a canoe? Well, there’s no easy answer. You’ll probably want a longer paddle than you’d be using in a kayak, although most kayak paddles top out at about 140cm. I don’t know a whole lot about canoes but I’ve read that a J-stroke is difficult with a kayak paddle.
Check out this website…
I used a 230 cm in my canoes, but I am tall with long arms. I’ve seen canoe double bladed paddles advertised at 260cm .
Another factor is the canoe.
Mine were solos with significant tumble home (gunnels bent inward.)
string is correct. while in your normal paddling position, for a normal forward stoke, for the majority of that stroke you want the full blade, no more and no less, to be completely in the water for maximal efficiency. You also don’t want to be hitting the gunnels of the canoe. If you alternate between sitting and kneeling, you might want to go for the average of the two.