kayak vs canoe paddles

Hey All,

Am partial to canoe paddles but am in an adventure race where kayak paddles are allowed for the canoe section. Does anyone know which paddles would be faster in a canoe? Any proof vs “I prefer” stuff? Thanks for the imput in advance.


Try them both out yourself on timed runs or with a gps. Individual preference and paddling style have as much to do with the choice as anything.

I don’t race, but…
I do carry a kayak paddle with me in my canoe. It is a lot wetter than a single blade, ven with good drip cups! I use a 230 cm for my kayak, but need 250-260 for a canoe. A double bladed paddle is very much more efficient than a single.

Use both
I find the kayak paddle much wetter, but it uses different muscles an allows you to sprint a little faster to beat a current when you need it.

I carry both in canoes of kayaks.

For all day paddling I think the single blade is better if you can keep the boat going straight without to many correction strokes.

I only race the occasional duck…
…but I use a double (NOT a “kayak”) paddle 95% of the time, carrying a bent-shaft single for variety and as a spare. Mine is not wet, because I special-ordered a 9’ one (I don’t speak metric). You need extra length in a canoe because of its width and

because you’re sitting higher above the water. A double is much faster that I can paddle a single, but I’m not a highly-skilled paddler. I can do without J strokes and C strokes and forward-back-high-low-braces-with-a-half-gainer. A long double gives awesome leverage for pries and sweeps as well.

If you have experience and good technique with one or the other then that’s the one you will go fastest with.

I’ll guess if that was the case you wouldn’t be asking.

With limited experience/technique I bet you will find the double bladed paddle faster.

Good luck,


Time Trial

We put them to the test. We are in my opinion very skilled with canoe paddles, not skilled at all with kayak paddles. The canoe paddles were faster and we all agreed more sustainable for a longer period of time. Our canoe paddles weigh around 12 oz and the kayak paddles weighed much more. the canoe paddle gives much more control than the kayak paddles. We were able to paddle a sustainable 50 Strokes per minute with the zaverals. The turnover with the kayak paddles felt much slower and felt like I had less strength on the pull.

Now we will see how we do against folks who choose to bring kayak paddles!