Nice Paddle


I don’t post here often, though I’ve been around about 8 years now. I just thought I’d touch an old topic that experienced paddlers know well, a nice paddle is a joy. I usually paddle Ozark rocky bottom streams and use appropriate paddles for the day. This last weekend I did some extensive lake paddling with my old Nashwaak paddle that only goes on trips where it is unlikely to be damaged.

It was a joy.

Love this hobby! Get a paddle that is magic in your hands and re-discover it all over.



Newbie here
Just curious, why don’t people use double blade paddles?

They reduce fertility.

A nice paddle/boat combination is a joy.
I’d like to try a Nashwaak sometime.

Twice as much work

I don’t understand the logic of changing hands if you don’t have to (with a double blade). Any serious answer?

No logic
Involved, Swordie. It’s a groove thing. With the right straight-shaft paddle, a perfectly sized and balanced hull underneath, and a well practiced solo stroke, you don’t have to switch. When it’s all workin’, there ain’t much better. For a less serious explanation, I offer an adaptation of what some unicyclists say about bicyclists," Twice the paddle, half the skill"

OP didn’t mention changing hands.
Which post were you responding to?

People do use double bladed paddles.
I use single blades in my canoes most of the time, rather than kayak paddles, because I like the feel of it. I do switch to a kayak paddle sometimes for a change of motion and to use different muscles.

The double blade paddle drips MUCH MORE WATER into the boat then the single blade, unless the kayak paddle is quite long (greater than 250cm).

My 12oz Zaveral Medium carbon bent shaft paddle weighs just a little over half of my lightest carbon kayak paddles, which weigh in at about 21.5oz.

Single blades are less effected by wind than double blades (never a blade up in the wind).

I try to paddle an even amount on both sides in order to have balanced muscle use.

Canoes with wide gunwales require relatively long kayak paddles to reach the water comfortably. I can get by with 225cm in my Sawyer Loon, Sawyer Summersong and Sawyer Starlight which have 21.5" to 24" gunwale width.

I can set the single blade paddle down in the canoe when I take a break or need my hands for something. The double blade kayak paddle needs to be broken down into two pieces to fit completely in the boat rather than laying across the gunwales.

Freestyle moves are more easily and elegantly performed with a single blade paddle.

Those are a few reasons why many canoeists prefer a single blade rather than double blade. I’m sure that other canoeists could come up with others.

I started out using my 8’ kayak paddle for canoes until I bought a decent bent shaft canoe paddle and started learning single blading. Since I was familiar with kayak paddles, using the kayak paddle in the canoe made the transition from kayak to canoe easier. Now I prefer single blade in canoes most of the time.

Also, you might consider starting a new thread to address this specific topic.

Happy paddling.

I compare it to string instrument & bow
Depending on the “voice” I wish to achieve on my 'cello for a particular piece of music, I’ll choose the appropriate bow. Each bow not only has its own weight, balance, and feel, but each brings out a subtly different voice from the instrument as well. I feel the same way about boats and paddles.


Thanks, yanoer and tktoo
Good learning experience. I have 6 kayak paddles and would love to make use of them for the canoe. To paddle tandem we extend them to 240 cm. They seem to work fine since the boat is narrow where we sit. We’ll propbably go through your experience and end up with a pair of good single blade canoe paddles. Now the question is bent shaft or not? Does it really make any difference?

Bent or not,
I can’t offer informed opinion. Never really got a good bent shaft to spend time with. Besides, I’m old school all the way (straight and wood), I just like the feel. Seems like bent is well suited for sit’n’switch. I’m sure that Yanoer can adress your question from an experienced perspective and with much more eloquence too! Good luck! That’s a nice canoe you got. We’ll make a convert of you yet!-TK

Double blades do not have to drip
I use an Adventure Technologies paddle in the RapidFire(230 cm). Even with a high angle stroke to keep the blade with a vertical plant and pull there is no drip at all. Drip may indicate that you have non functional drip rings and a lousy paddle.

For touring I pull out a Bending Branches Evening Breeze; a low angle paddle. Its 240 cm and with a low angle approach there is no drip. The low angle works well when kneeling in a relatively straight keeled boat loaded. There is no yaw.

For some reason my husband can use his mondo Mitchell 244 cm wood blade with the diamond shaped blades and get minimal yaw in the RapidFire even with a low angle stroke.

With feathered blades there is no double blade wind issue really, and with low angle double blades there is less wind issue…they are long and skinny. And I have paddled in some insane conditions that I thought late “what were you thinking? Were you thinking?”

Some FreeStyle moves with a double blade are worth learning…especially the post. The wedge calls for bringing the whole paddle over to one side and planting the blade toward the bow under the boat as in a pry…so there is extreme torso roatation. Unlike a single blade wedge it is a braced turn.

Straight vs bent. I have an army of paddles (around 50). It all depends on your paddling posture. The only rule is that you should plant the paddle vertically and the paddle should be vertical during the whole power phase. Recovery starts when the paddle ceases to be vertical.

For most people this means if you are a sitter, bents do this more easily. If you are a kneeler you are apt to get this verticality with a straight shaft.

My Epic Relaxed Tour sure drips and
the upper blade catches in the wind, even with 60 degree feather. It’s certainly not a “lousy” paddle. I use it set to 225cm in my canoes.

That AT paddle sure sounds impressive if it has absolutely no drips and is unaffected by wind. I need to try one of those.

its light too
and so will your wallet be…its four hundred bucks.

(a spray skirt might be cheaper!)

Are you implying…
that my tapered 1x4 board is not good enough?


you are talking about my
first Greenland paddle!

The price was sure right!

I’ll soon know if AT SL Tour drips in to
my canoes.

I just sent payment for a used 230cm carbon AT SL Tour that was advertised in the classifieds. It will ship Tuesday (tomorrow), so I hope to receive it in time to try it out this weekend. I hope that it lives up to it’s hype as a relatively low drip paddle for high angle strokes. I’m skeptical about the low drip characteristic, but I hope that I’m wrong.

Way to go! Yanoer
You just missed a sale of a Nashwaak on eBay. Reserve not met at $56. It might get relisted again. Let me know about your AT. My understanding is that low angle of anything should not wet your boat if the drip ring is working. My drip is usually from the paddle at a high angle before water even reaches the ring.

230cm in canoe = high angle, not low
angle strokes - at least for me it does. These days, I prefer the feel / torque of the high angle stroke over the lower torque of the low angle stroke. From all of my experience, high angle = drips on head and in boat. I’ll be pleasantly surprised if the AT SL Tour is any better in that respect.

I was watching that Nashwaak on ebay, but I probably wouldn’t use such a paddle very much and it would just be stuck in a corner with my other paddles. I don’t do much deep water / in water recovery paddling. It was very tempting, but I think that the reserve is up near $100. I use my Zaveral bent and straight shafts more than any other single blades. I would like to have such a Nashwaak in my quiver just for the fun of it. I think that one is just about the right size for me.