Match paddle to paddler? Or

is it a more integrated decision?

Do you buy the padde that fits you? What happens if you have more than one boat?

Can you have just one paddle?

You didn’t say if your were referring…
to kayaks or canoes, so I’ll try both and it is what works for me.

  1. Kayaks: I have three sea kayaks and one small rec kayak. - I use the same length euro paddle, (220 cm) for all of them, and it seems to work fine.

    However if I am racing I use a shorter wing paddle, and that one is adjustable for a ten CM differential, and I keep it 7cm shorter then the euro.

  2. Canoes: I have six different canoes, and I use the same length paddle on all of them.



One paddle???

– Last Updated: Jul-12-09 7:34 PM EST –

Well reasoned decision: Buy a paddle that is suitable for your size, the boat you'll be using, and the venue where you'll be paddling.

Rationalization of problem: Buy another 25 different paddles because you have convinced yourself you "need" them. You have different boats & paddle different venues; they require different/specialized paddles.

Minimalization of problem: If you have 25 paddles, tell yourself that others "have more paddles than that". 25 paddles isn't that bad; 50 "might" a problem.

Projection of blame: The reason I buy so many paddles is because I "need" do my part to help out the poor economy, and support my local paddling shop.

Denial of problem: Having 25 canoe paddles is not a problem. Aloholism, and drug addiction are problems. I don't do drugs & I don't drink to excess; therefore I do not have a problem.


P.S. You "might" have a problem if you have two of the same paddle. But it's "ok" if they have grips made of a different material. The composite grip is lighter; the wooden grip is prettier. Sometime you "need" a light paddle;
sometimes you need a pretty one.


– Last Updated: Jul-13-09 10:45 AM EST –

It depends how different your boats are. I have used my whitewater kayak paddle for my touring kayak, and my touring kayak paddle for my canoe, but the whitewater paddle doesn't work with the canoe.

Some double-blade paddles have an adjustable-length feature.

If money is an issue, carving your own greenland paddle from a 2x4 is an inexpemsive way to expand your options.

Match paddler and boat and paddle
Everyone overlooks the first two.

Yes match the paddle to the boat too. In canoeing there are a lot of optios for a reason… Seating heights can differ from boat to boat. Some of my boats cannot be sat in…hence a straight blade… some can and we rec race…so a light CF bent is used… Canadian style uses a long bladed ottertail with virtually no shaft…

Whitewater will take a longer shaft and a larger blade and perhaps a different grip.

IMO the paddle is more important than the boat when you are starting out. And people often buy a really expensive boat and a crappy paddle… that is backwards.

Don’t forget the spare!
Always, always, always carry a spare paddle. And don’t skimp on it. Almost by definition, the situations where you need your spare are situations where you need a good paddle, not a $39.95 dog from the local hardware store.

Paddle-slut (I’m a)
Rationalization #1: Golfers have more than one club, why can’t I have more than one paddle?

#2: I need a spare and it might as well be something a little different for a change of pace

#3: Different strokes for different boats - especially if you want to do any whitewater along with flatwater

#4: Multiculturalism: I support world peace by using both Greenland paddles and Euro paddles

#5: Genetic diversity: The paddling ecosystem is supported and strenghtened by having a wide variety of paddle options

#7: Less expensive than multiple kayaks

#8: Intimacy and growth: A paddle is your most direct contact to the water. You don’t really know it’s personality until you have become acquainted for a while. Then you have to buy a new one.

Solve Several Problems at Once
When the paddler loses or breaks a paddle it’s important to have another one.

When the paddler gets tired or there’s a stiff headwind it’s nice to switch to a ‘lower gear’… a paddle with less surface area that allows a faster cadence.