Kayak paddle in a canoe??

Wife and I are new to paddling for the most part. After another day on the water today, she said she wants a kayak paddle. I said…ok, why not. So, is there any reason you can’t use a double ended paddle in a canoe? Anything special about using one? Can’t be that different, now can it?

NO sissy paddles in a canoe !

Sorry, I just could not resist that. ;^)

Actually a lot of paddlers use a double blade paddle in their canoe. I even introduced a beginner to one recently. Oh, the shame :^(

The main difference is you, she, will want a longer paddle than the normal kayak paddler would use. Most likely a 230 cm or longer.

The important thing is to have fun.



BTW: A canoe paddle is a lot less tiring in the long run, but then many paddlers do not really paddle that long or hard anyway.

Go long

– Last Updated: May-19-07 11:21 PM EST –

I use one when i know i am about to hit some bad stuff. the longer the better if you use a kayak paddle for the canoe.(240+) bending branches has a double bladed canoe paddle that is decently pricd. but any decent leght paddle will work.

In my solo, I use a 240. The canoe is
28" at the gunnels and my 220 just isn’t long enough.

You’re in good company
In the late 1800s small pack canoes used with double-bladed paddles were very popular in the Adirondacks. Look up “Rushton” or “Nessmuk” for a bit of canoe history.

Kayakers use . . .
training paddles.

Double-bladed paddles in canoe
This has been discussed many, many times at this forum, but hey, some haven’t read all of these conversations…

Yes, people do use double-bladed paddles in canoes. No, there is no reason a person can’t use a double-blade in an open canoe. It’s goofy looking to some, but many people do it and some even prefer it. Is there anything special about it? No, not really, but it’s considerably easier than learning traditional single blade techniques. Can it really be that different? You bet – it’s night and day.

The indigenous tradition in North America was to use single blades in open canoes – and so it remains today with most canoeists. In the 19th Century some Euro-Americans experimented with double blades in canoes and for some years it was somewhat popular. In time the fad passed as all fads do and people went back to doing things the traditional way: paddling open canoes with single blades. Recently there has been a bit of a rebirth of interest in double-blading canoes. The advantages of a double are that they have a short learning curve – it’s a bit like paddling a rec yak – you just waddle along – if somewhat ungracefully. Double-bladed paddles work best in boats where you sit on the floor like in the short and narrow (Rushton inspired) pack canoes (open kayaks) popular these days especially in New York State. Doubles work less elegantly in regular canoes – but that doesn’t stop people from using them anyway… Some people claim doubles work particularly well in windy situations since one is freed from making correction strokes – you just paddle left, right, left, right – you get the picture. One down side to doubles is that you WILL get wet from the constant dripping. Some people claim otherwise, but those same people may try to sell you a bridge (LOL). There is no such thing as paddling along silently with a double – for that you’ll need a single blade and some skill.

In my humble opinion the biggest downside to doubles is the short learning curve – if all you know is waddling along with a double you don’t get to learn all the myriad paddle strokes and maneuvers in a canoe only possible with a traditional single blade. This last point is compelling for many people who find the challenge of developing skills as a canoeist using traditional blades endlessly fascinating. Some folks won’t get that point… and that’s fine too. - RK

Very nice summary

– Last Updated: May-19-07 10:20 PM EST –

I was out on a lake in the wind today and experienced just what you are talking about. It is endlessly fascinating to me using a single blade and getting the canoe to do what you want. The wind, the water, the boat, the blade. I could have used my kayak paddle, but didn't. It would have been easier, but there is just something about practicing manuevering with a single paddle. I could go on and on about it, but I would out myself as the hopeless geek that I am!


didn’t like it …
I tried a kayak paddle in my canoe and couldn’t stand the water constantly dripping and hitting me.

Go for it…
I’m not a purest and don’t pretend to be. I like my double bladed paddles. More tiring than a single? Maybe if you paddle the same length of time but with a double blade you can eat tons of ground and don’t have to work as hard as the single bladed canoeist. So I don’t think so. They are kinda right when they say you don’t have to learn as many strokes using a double blade as a single blade paddle has too. Doesn’t that sound like a good thing? I don’t have to lean my boat “canadian style” and I don’t have to use a “C” stroke or a “J” stroke. Am I missing something?


Arkay Pretty-Much Covered it.

– Last Updated: May-20-07 1:23 AM EST –

My first solo canoe was a Wenonah Vagabond, which is a reasonably easy boat for a beginner to paddle in a straight line. However, in spite of having a fair amount of experience paddling from the stern of a tandem, I was totally taken aback by just how *difficult* it was to use a single-blade paddle to make that boat move along with any sense of control except at a snail's pace. For the first year, I used a double-blade almost exclusively, but I used a much shorter paddle than most people would (230 cm) which allowed a very vertical stroke, so wig-wag was almost non-existant. I also fashioned some pretty elaborate cups for catching the drip water, but they didn't catch it all.

After that first year, I made up my mind to use only a single-blade paddle no matter what, so that I'd learn its proper use. I will never go back. There is absolutely no comparison between the two methods when it comes to boat control, and there is no end to the number of variations in stroke type and combinations of different strokes you can apply, and THAT is what makes a canoe a CANOE.

Go ahead and use a double-blade paddle if you wish. It's easy and you'll do just fine, and no one will think bad things about you for doing it that way. If, however, as time goes on, you think you've got this paddling thing pretty well figured out, don't be so sure. That may be the time to find out what a canoe can actually do.

I don't mean to sound like some kind of expert. I'm just starting to get "halfway good" at some of the essentials, and am still finding other essential skills ("essential" in my opinion for the types of waters I encounter) to be pretty ragged, but hope to improve for the rest of my life.

a kayak is just

– Last Updated: May-20-07 3:17 AM EST –

a decked canoe meant to be paddled (sitting) with a double bladed paddle. A double bladed paddle works best in narrow canoes, the wider a canoe gets, the less efficient the double bladed paddle, so it is practical then to be able to paddle (well) with a single bladed paddle.

It is against the law !
it is immoral!

It is illegal !

It is against human nature!

It violates the eleventh commandment!

It sends the wrong message to our younger generation!

It is banned in the bounday Waters

It is frowned upon in France!

It would be like putting banannas in the refrigerator!

But if it floats your boat, we can all look the other way.



Kayak paddle in a canoe
For years I used a single blade paddle in our canoe when paddling with my wife. For some reason she could never understand why she couldn’t paddle anyway she wanted to in any situation(ie, no pry,sweep or draw strokes). One day a friend told me to use my kayak paddle and let her just sit and be pretty. This was a god send, no more fighting about who did what. I use a 240cm paddle.

Greg Hester

Kayaker as a first time canoer.

I was watching a friend fly an R/C seaplane when it quit and landed a ways offshore. I volunteered to retrieve it with his canoe. The canoe had both a canoe paddle and a kayak paddle in it. I started with the canoe paddle but after about a minute or so of not being able to get the canoe to go anywhere near the direction I wanted to go I switched to the kayak paddle and was fine.

Felt like I was cheating and knew I looked silly but it worked.

Two month’s experience…
with a kayak paddle and my Vagabond. It has a 30" width and I bought a 250cm paddle. I really don’t know if it is the ideal length, but it seems to work for me. Single versus double blade is about conditions and expectations to me. As a newcomer to paddling, I’m very pleased with my equipment, but I can see where one day I would want to enjoy other options. Enjoy today and look forward to tomorrow!


Why can’t kayakers yell “HUT” in a race?

Your experience with the Vagabond and the double blade is exactly what I was gonna write. It expresses exactly my experience! I too used the 230 and felt the boat was really fast and responded well but the paddle drip was an issue. It wasn’t until I went to another hull that the double blade just didn’t work as well as it did with the Vagabond. Now I FINALLY realized the single blade is not only as fast as using the double blade (if used correctly) but the control is what has sold me on it over the double blade.

However, I suggest you try it for yourself as we have done and make your own conclusion.

Best ta larn’ ta paddle

– Last Updated: May-20-07 9:55 AM EST –

a canoo wit a single blade first. Sure, it be a higher larnin' curve wit all de different canoe strokes but once yer git it yer'll be a better paddler fer it. Dats wat ah' really enjoy about canoos - it's always a larnin' experience even after 44 years o' canooin' fer me. Single bladin' really teaches ye how ta handle de boat ta it's fullest. Then ye kin advance an' larn freestyle, Canadian, etc. Ye kin' always go back ta double-bladin' if ye dun't like single - but do give it a chance. Not ta say ah' never use a double paddle - sure do on occasions whaan de head winds be a'blowin' a'mighty strong an' ah' want ta make time inta dem.
Fer me de fun is not as much jus' gittin' thaar, but how yer git thaar.


It’s not the learning curve…
it’s the stability (or lack of) I miss. I started paddling on a Hobie sit on top yak. Now, married with a 6 YO, I’m not the only one in the boat! We were out yesterday, and felt like we were about to roll right on over a time or two, and…only happens when my paddle is on the up roll side, with not enough time to switch sides to brace. Could be me though, as we never did roll. Not that I’m against a swim, but it was a little cool for that yesterday, several miles upriver!