Paddle coise for canoe

Need some help. Just bought Mad River Malecite (used) and need solo paddle info. 5-8", 150 lbs, 70 yrs old. got some bent shaft paddles with canoe and don’t know their use but think I need straight shaft. Do know what a “J” stroke is. Any info appreciated.


need more information
Do you want it to take a lot of rock hits? How much do you want to spend? How much do you care about lightness versus low cost and high durability? Do you want to do a lot of turning (whitewater or freestyle paddling) or mainly go straight ahead?

I’d start with wood, though you can save money by going with aluminum and plastic (like the Mohawk paddle) or blow a lot of money by going with carbon fiber.

For best performance, you want a thin paddle (meaning that the smallest of the three dimensions of the blade is very small, for a knifelike blade). That means a delicate edge that will get chewed up if you hit it a lot, though. You can ameliorate that problem with a plastic-edged wooden paddle.

Paddle length can be discussed at great length. I like my 54" straight-shaft (the Grey Owl Freestyle, not the same as the model they presently call the Freestyle). I guess I’d recommend that you go with something a little longer, since your boat is wider than mine. (I’m talking about solo paddling from the middle of the boat now. You’ll probably want a considerably shorter paddle when you paddle at the ends.)

I much prefer a palm grip to a T-grip. For me, with big hands, a bigger grip is better.

I recommend starting with a midrange straight paddle from Grey Owl or Mitchell.

Don’t spend a lot on your first paddle. Almost certainly you will learn from your first paddle that you need a second, better, different paddle.

As for that bent-shaft: the elbow of the paddle points toward the back of the boat, the same direction as your own elbow.

– Mark

Coise = choice - me thinks
A really worthwhile book to own and read as you get into canoeing is “Paddle Your Own Canoe” by Gary and Joanie McGuffin. It’s very well illustrated and clearly written. Canoeing technique and equipment are well covered. …if I only had one book on the topic this would be it. RK

PS: congratulations on your new Malecite.

I paddle my Malecite with a bent mostly
It clips along pretty well that way.

You bought a great canoe, but given your size, you may not have bought a great canoe for you. If you didn’t overpay for it, you may consider being open minded about selling/trading her for something dedicated solo that’s a little narrower. But, if you plan to use the Malecite tandem, or like I do sometimes with a kid in the bow and in the stern, the Malecite is a keeper.

I know it’s not what you asked, but I’m not always good at biting my lip.

coice = choise ?

Paddle choice
You are a couple of inches shorter than I am. I use a 54 inch straight shaft and a 50 inch bent shaft paddle. I concur with most paddle advice given above. I will throw out my personal preferences:

  1. I prefer wood to plastic/aluminum or carbon. I like the asthetics of wood and the flex. I paddle mostly flat water and do not “rock bash!”
  2. Sawyer is another wood paddle to consider and so is Foxworx.
  3. While a bit more pricey, my favorite all around paddle is a Sawyer Manta double bent. It is light, gives the advantage of a bent shaft but allows Jstroking fairly easily, and is very beautiful. Down side is cost (around $150.00 American)
  4. If you have bent shaft paddles already, I would suggest trying them. depending on your type of water you may really like them. As stated before the elbow faces toward the rear meaning the blade is bent toward the direction of travel (front.)

    Just my $.02 worth.

    PS. I started with a tandem but found most of my paddling was solo so I purchased dedicated solo boats which get used 10 times to 1 over my tandem (which I kept for the rare time I have a friend go or to loan out.)

First paddel
Thank you Mark for the detailed info it’s greatly appreciated. I did take out the middle seat and replaced it with a thwart. Intend to be a “kneeler.”


It got by me. Sorry

Joining the crowd
Thanks for the well wishes.

solo paddle
"if you plan to use the Malecite tandem, or like I do sometimes with a kid in the bow and in the stern, the Malecite is a keeper."

I do most of the time but wanted to investigate the solo aspect of things and thought this a very good place to ask. Didn’t think the “bent” paddles were best for solo. (maybe I’m wrong)Thanks

2 cents worth
Much appreciated reply. Certainly will try the “bent” paddles but purchase a straight one using parameters gathered here. Sounds as though 50" plus is what I’ll look at. Small lakes and calm water is my speed right now. Might take it to salt water bays in Mexico in the future.

I didn’t want to be a smartass. I did not get it.