Single Blade vs Double

-- Last Updated: Aug-22-12 1:12 PM EST --

I really really like my GP but I think I may be less tired at the end of a longish paddle if I use a single blade.

The single blade does not give the best top speed. It is not the best in rough water because you cannot brace as quickly on each side. But it is better in all kinds of wind if it is not too rough. And it seems that I am fresher at the end of longer paddles with it. Has anyone else found this? I'm comparing a very light Lumpy GP 3.5 inches wide to a fairly heavy wood bent shaft single blade with a blade over 9 inches wide.

I’ve paddled with a slimmed down version of a short single canoe paddle (about 5’ wide) and found it fun and useful in mangroves. I carry one as a backup paddle for shorter jaunts where open water crossings are somewhat limited. If needed for bracing I suspect I’ll be upside down before I’m able to respond to a surprise. I have been paddling a wooden greenland style for years and for safety sake, on longer and/or anticipated challenges, carry my western kayak paddle split but at the ready. I suspect that your paddling style may be why you feel tired sooner… and suspect that maybe you have substantial upper body strength that allows for hard pulls at steep/high/vertical paddle angles. I use that same form with the single blade, and it is fun and really propels the kayak. When using my GP though, I paddle with a low angle and lots of torso rotation with a good plant of the blade at the knees and longer follow-through, all the while keeping the fingers loose and arms fairly straight. Course correction can be done from either side with a GP, where a single blade is immediately limiting. This all be said, a kayak is still fun to paddle with a canoe paddle.

I Don’t Get it

– Last Updated: Aug-22-12 6:48 AM EST –

I'd be much more likely to paddle a canoe with a GP. It has to be much more efficient. I would guess that you felt a bit less tired using the single blade because you didn't push yourself as hard. It can't be because the single is a more efficient tool.

Canoe or Kayak ?
Canoes are made for single blades.

My point was if I was going to use the ‘wrong’ tool for the job it would likely be the other way around. I think the GP in a canoe would be less ‘wrong’ than a single blade in a kayak. At least less wrong for me.

Sugg using the blades that work best
(comfort, control, conditions,and speed) for you and your boat(s). My light WenVagKUL works great for this old dog as as canyak and I carry both blades, GP for open water cruising especially with yaks, and single for stealth and heavy cover. GP much nicer on my old joints too when I have to crank it hard. Also good for self-rescue with a paddle float (like a yak). I think switching a bit helps comfort using bit different muscles. Wife loves GP in her Blackhawk too for cruising, and carries single blades for freestyle. Just thoughts. R

single vs double
Several years ago I started using a ZRE racing canoe paddle with my ruddered kayak. Now it’s my go to paddle for much of my kayaking except in challenging conditions, when I switch to my greenland blade. I find I go further, with less effort with the zre, typically doing 30-40 miles in a day with no real strain. I do lose about 1 mph in speed with the zre compared to my greenland stroke, but a 30 mile day with the gp was about max.

A friend races in the watertribe events, and he and some others have used the zre for flat conditions and upwind work, and use a gp for difficult or downwind paddling.

I like paddlig my SOT with my ZAV.

consider a storm paddle
The technique is not difficult and you can stick it on your deck as a backup. It will work as well if not better than your single blade.

I’ve noticed several Zavs

– Last Updated: Aug-29-12 8:49 AM EST –

used by kayakers. They usually have the shaft cut down to about 40-45 inches or so... I notice that when I switch from my C-1 to a kayak, I use a different muscle set when paddling with a single blade vs. a double blade. So if you're nursing a sore shoulder or just looking for a change of pace, switch it up!

Storm paddle
Bill at Lumpy paddles lent me a storm paddle to try and after one long paddle my fingers were really sore for days. That constant changing of the grip really wore them out. I had to really back off my paddling for about two weeks before I was up to doing long paddles again.

I also cannot get the Greenland shallow water stroke down. When it gets shallow my blade hits the bottom or a rock and that give my shoulder a shock. Then I try to do the shallow water stroke but it is not any where as fast as my regular stroke and it is very tiring.