Has anybody here done much soloing in a canoe using a double bladed paddle? I know it’s common practice with some of the smaller canoes, but now that I’ve located some paddle extensions, I’m giving some thought to extending my kayak paddle to 8.5 or 9 feet and using it in the Pennobscot for more efficient soloing.
a video of the Texas Water Safari and abunch of canoers were using double bladed paddles
It should work, especially if you are
paddling from about the center of the canoe, and maybe just behind the center thwart on a drop-in box seat. I have done it in several canoes. The Penobscot has a fairly wide center section, so the kayak blade will work much better than a canoe paddle there.
I did some tandem paddling in a Penobscot a couple of weeks ago, and enjoyed it. I’d like to know how it soloes with a kayak blade. Have Fun!
I’ve done it
It was fine from around the center of my tandem but I was very glad for my quite long kayak paddle.
Penobscot and double blades
I use a 9’ double bladed paddle in my Penobscot 16 quite often. Particularly when the wind kicks up. Paddle it from the front seat facing backwards and add enough weight to keep the bow down.
I’ve done it in my Malecite in the wind.
Not very efficient; whupped me.
double paddle in 16’ canoe
When I used a Mad River Explorer for white water, I added a thwart and put a foam block between the thwarts in the center as a saddle seat. Was ok for solo ww with air bags ect.
When I made a long river trip with my then young son, found I had trouble controlling the Explorer from the back in strong wind. Made a double paddle out of two cheap Mohawk single paddles and it worked well when paddling with my son. Since have paddled many canoes with double paddles. After shoulder surgery, I find my shoulder prefers double blades over single blades.
You will need a longer paddle, 230 to 240. Should be able to buy used one cheap as many paddle shops sell ones too long to kayakers. The kayaker then buys a shorter paddle when they learn their paddle is too long.
A central seat is needed in most to raise you enough to reach over the gunnels to paddle. Find the center on the canoe and then move back towards the stern so that your crotch is about on the center line as a starting place. put your seat there and then adjust a little for final trim.
Double-paddling a Canoe
I have a 15’ aluminum canoe (heavier than most). 99% of my canoeing is solo, and for years I have used a double paddle, home-made, with fairly wide blades, and 9’long. I love it because the stress (on my old arms) is evened out. I can even stand and paddle (in quiet shallows). I travel mostly rivers and lakes. I wouldn’t use mine in a moving stream above class 1 because it doesn’t allow fine control.
One other point. I don’t paddle from the middle of the canoe, mostly because there’s no convenient seat and I can’t kneel. I sit on the seat at one end, and first thing I do at launch is put 2 or 3 big rocks in the other end to get the nose down into the water. (Big water jugs work, too.) Without the ballast the slightest breeze spins me around, but with the nose down, she tracks beautifully. But my canoe also has about a 1" keel ridge its full length, so that helps.
So double your pleasure, and get almost twice the power strokes for any given rhythm.
did it as a beginner …
but too much water fell on my lap not to mention the barbarity of it all … sort of like modifying a kayak to become a jetski …
Better idea: learn to efficiently paddle using canoe strokes and transform your on-the-water drudgery into a pleasant outing.
How soon we forget that the purpose of paddling is to enjoy the experience and not just to get somewhere fast.