Solo Canoe Double Blade Paddles

I have a Mad River Canoe 14 TT which I have been paddling solo using an 8ft / 240cm straight bladed paddle with an aluminium shaft. I am just curious to know if anyone has any particular double paddle preferences or any opinions about this. Do those of you who paddle solo use the straight blade set-up or the 60 degree offset, kayak type, and what length do you use. Is there any particular preference for wood, aluminium, plastic, fibreglass or carbon fibre paddles and shafts?

North Queensland


I have just noticed String has a similar thread going but I am still curious to know whether straight blade or offset kayak type paddles are prefered.

Kayaks are just low canoes
Point is that the only real paddle difference is the length you need because of the extra freeboard and, depending on your tolerance for drips, a low shaft angle ( / vs. | ).

If you read the endless kayaker debates about feather and blade shape you will soon discover that those preferences are highly personal. Everybody has reasons for their preferences so it’s worth reading to see what clicks for you.

I like a 60 degree feather because it catches the wind less, a small touring blade because it’s easier on my joints and a high shaft angle because there is less sweep and more forward to the stroke. Those preferences are the same in a canoe or kayak. For me one advantage to the single is that it is much dryer. For someone who prefers a low angle that may not be an issue.


My first suggestion would be replace the
boat. If you had a Mad River Guide, now called the Freedom, you would find it much easier to paddle with a double or single blade. The 14TT is sort of a casual solo/tandem but not designed for really getting anywhere.

I’ve been using a 220mm in my Sawyer

– Last Updated: Sep-20-05 6:40 PM EST –

Summersong with high angle stroke and a 240mm in my Mad River Slipper with a lower angle stroke.

I prefer the higher angle stroke and shorter paddle in the Summersong, but don't like the water dripping on my feet, which happens with the combination of shorter paddle and high angle stroke in this boat. The Summersong is only 23" wide at the gunnels and 28" max beam. I also very much enjoy paddling the Summersong with a bent shaft and the rudder down.

The Slipper is 27" at the gunnels and 28" max beam.

I may play around with lower angle stroke and longer paddles to reduce the drips in the boat. I also have used the highly absorbant pack towels in the bottom of the boat to sequester accumulated paddle drips, but this doesn't keep them from landing on my feet (I paddle sitting most of the time) or my back pack which is usually just forward of my feet for easy access.

I've pondered different temporary "mini deck" solutions to keep the drips out of the boat, but haven't tried to implement any yet.

I use the paddles unfeathered because I haven't paddled enough with feathering to be comfortable with it.

I'm still searching for a particular paddle that I really like. So far, for both my canoes and kayaks, I haven't used a paddle that really thrills me. I haven't tried any paddles that retail for over $125.

g2d Not Likely

The 14TT is here to stay. I am sure the Mad River Freedom is a good boat but I have grown quite attached to the 14TT and so has our Dalmatian. As you said the 14TT is for casual solo/ tandem and that’s about what I use it for,” very casual”. It was difficult enough getting this one to Australia; I don’t think I want to go through it again with another boat.

Thanks to everyone for your comments so far.


North Queensland