Try downsizing a paddle blade?

To lighten up the paddling effort for someone recovering from an injury, I downsized the blade area on two different paddles. On a beavertail paddle, I cut off 2 inches from the end of the blade, and kept the same pattern for the end. I did some filing around the edges, and varnished it nice. I also took a wooden bent shaft, 15 degree, and trimmed 1" from each side of the width, trimming the width from 8" to 6" while keeping the same pattern. Varnished it the same. My friend has been enjoying the use of these paddles, and I thought I should give them a try. I was astounded at how much easier they were to use than my “normal” paddles, and they seemed to increase my paddle stroke rate all on their own. The increased paddling stroke frequency is also surprisingly less tiring, while resulting in a faster and easier maintained cruising speed. I would highly recommend trying this, for anybody with an “extra” paddle looking for an efficent, but lighter work load. Has anybody done anything similar?

Good paddling, MickJetBlue

I’ve done it with kayak blades
I’ve also noticed it with oars. The narrow smaller oars have the same cruising speed or faster and you can got father with them.

Guess I’ll have to try it with a canoe paddle sometime

Narrow blade
I bought a Bending Branches Traveler which has a 7" wide blade to try and help my recovery from tennis elbow. It does seem to help and my stroke rate did increase a bit.

What realy cranked up my stroke rate though was my next paddle, a Zaveral bent shaft “Whitewater”. While that has a standard 8.5" wide blade the weight, at 11 ounces, seems to be the deciding factor.

Only trouble is now my wood paddles all feel like tree trunks;-o


Im a believer
for myself as well as a weaker paddler. My thoughts are, how on earth is a beginning female paddler suppose to be able to pull a full size paddle through the water without killing themselvs, let alone these monster blades the recreational stores pass off on the un-suspecting beginners.



Ideally the paddle doesn’t move
thru the water. The paddle sticks in the water and you pull the canoe past the paddle.

The smaller the blade, the more it slips thru the water and the less effort, cause you are not pulling the weight of the canoe only stirring the water.

With a fast stroke rate, the small blade doesn’t slip as much due to the inertia of the water. The really fast marathon racers use a small blade and a very high stroke rate. They also use very sleek canoes with little drag and do not require as much thrust to keep their canoes at cruising speed.

Supertankers have big slow moving propellers, hydroplanes have small props spinning at incredible rpm.

The tiring part of canoeing is not pulling the blade thru the water, its lifting it and reaching forward with that weight to start the next stroke. The carbon fiber paddles spoil you very quickly.


Reducing width
Might as well customize what you have on hand work & make it for you. But there are a number of paddle types that are designed with relatively narrow blades. The Ottertail springs to mind.

When I had a rec kayak , I used a
wide bladed paddle with no problem. I upgraded to a sea kayak with the same paddle and immediately overstressed my arms and shoulders.I cured that with a narrower paddle. Of course I was paddling incorrectly, but the blade made a difference.

Like a Gear Ratio…
I have different paddles for different boats.

I found that matching the motor(me) to a vehicle(kayak) gives me better performance. I use a smaller blade with my shorter lighter boat with limited top speed. This allows me to keep my cadence up and gives me a higher and easier cruising speed.

Save work, just invert the paddle.