whats the big deal about paddle drip?

On the recent Pack Canoes and other threads I’ve seen a lot of discussion about the in-the-boat “drip” that comes from using double-bladed paddles. To my surprise, it seems some people view this as a major disadvantage. After more than a dozen years of using double-blades and dealing with the drip, I truly do not see what the problem is – can somebody help me understand?

To me, it just means I need two more small, cheap pieces of gear – a “splash cloth,” cut to size from a readily available 99-cent plastic shower curtain liner, and a sponge, which most paddlers carry anyway. The splash cloth tucks in my pants at my waist and runs down to my ankles, and it keeps me dry by deflecting the drip to the floor. Then the sponge, which I keep at my hand beside me, is used to return the drip water back to the river, and incidentally helps clean out any mud I track in and so keeps my floor clean.

Are there other aspects of the problem I’m not seeing? Do some canoes have seats so low that just a little bit of water in the bilge gets their seat wet? Or maybe some canoes are too narrow to tilt to one side to make the drip water pool up and be easily removable with a sponge? What’s the problem?

Great post :slight_smile:
Run my W-Vag with a looong GP. Great fun and enjoy the cooling water on hot days. Have a neat kilt patterned plastic barbeque apron I may wear (instead of the shower curtain) when formally dressed. R

salting food
If you are paddling on the ocean, the drips hit you on the forehead. This is very helpful afterwards when eating dinner. To salt your food just rub your eyebrows.

Its uncomfortable

– Last Updated: Jun-05-09 8:43 AM EST –

Even with a dry suit and fleece on you feel the cold drip. In winter I simply do not want any water in my boat whether it is zero or up to freezing.

In the summer, it still is uncomfortable as we may be more lightly dressed. I think our highs are your lows..it rarely breaks eighty here and is usally in the sixties or low seventies..so thats where the big deal comes from

This morning is a nice frosty morning

Also you will not be in the puddle. The puddle will be in the stern..try and reach that. Most packboats trim out stern heavy to maintain maneuverability.

I am glad paddle drip is not an issue for me and my packboat.

Where an…
Adult diaper if your concerned about sitting in a small puddle.

Water seeks it’s own level
Agree with kayakmedic–the water doesn’t pool up nicely in front of me to be easily mopped up. Rather, it runs to the low point of the canoe, and if you are running with a loaded boat, may not be easily assessable. I know I can stop paddling, stand in the chine and get the water to run to me, but this is inconvenient, is it not?

So most of the time, I just end up ignoring the drippage, and accumulate a gallon or two of water, if that much. After all, the double blade isn’t really that useful, is it? I only prefer the double blade when there is a dead-on headwind. The water adds ten or twenty pounds to the boat, not much relative to the total load. The rest of the time, I’d just as soon use a single blade, and then the drippage isn’t an issue.


Longer paddle
I use a long 260mm double bladed paddle, so the drip rings are always well outside the boat. The way I paddle is a low stroke, and it keep me very dry. Why lift up the paddle when you dont have to…kind of like a rowing motion. It’s all about paddle blade surface to water contact area. You people that are getting soaked are just trying too hard :slight_smile:

You’re “suggesting” we should like
something we don’t like?

I’ve done a lot of ww kayaking and I can live with paddle drip. But why should I like it when I’m canoeing? A double bladed paddle has never offered enough advantages in a canoe to make me tolerate drips.

You are what you eat.

I say the same thing about leaky roofs
… leaky car doors, leaky rain coats, leaky boots and dribble glasses. What’s the big deal? Make a few accommodations, get a new outlook and soon you’ll feel right as rain.

Ahh, splash cloth tucked into waist…
That’s an idea that I hadn’t thought of. That would reduce the legs getting wet on top. It wouldn’t deal with the back of the pants getting wet from water that has pooled below.

I often paddle in street clothes (with the exception of my shoes) and don’t want to get wet at all, so I don’t want water dripping on my legs and feet. That’s one reason why I don’t like paddle drip.

The water often drips right on top of my easy access bag that I have secured to the front thwart.

I’d usually prefer to keep paddling, rather than spongeing out the boat.

If it’s warm, and I’m hopping in and out of the boat, dragging water in with my shoes each time, paddle drip isn’t much of an issue.

When it’s colder, I want to stay dry.

Paddling often is a wet sport, but it isn’t required to be.

It is a boat in the water. My roof and
car doors don’t go there.But I don’t care. I just sponge it out and go.

I prefer high angle for efficiency when
double blading. It just feels better to me.

I’ve never tried a 260cm or longer paddle. My 240cm carbon Camano still drips water in the boat and the blades are too big for me for high cadence paddling - I’m not fit enough and my solo canoes aren’t efficient enough. I might find a long paddle with smaller blades acceptable, but I’d want carbon for the weight reduction and I don’t have $350 or more to experiment with long, small bladed kayak paddles right now.

I appreciate that many people prefer and get along well with double blade paddles in open boats, but I just haven’t found a combination of boat and paddle that works for me.

I do enjoy paddling with a kayak paddle, I just usually choose a kayak with a touring size cockpit when that urge strikes me, so that the paddle drips stay out of the boat.

Double blades are helpful for ascending streams that are too shallow for vertical single blade strokes to get much grab on the water, but in that situation, I’m often hopping out of the boat and pulling it through the areas that are too shallow and swift to paddle through with the single blade.

Perhaps another thread on Drip Rings?
seriously…there is a way to use and NOT use drip Rings…I’ve paddled my kayak for hours and not gotten my hands wet, buy and use the rings.

Water in the boat, not on the hands,
is the focus of this discussion. The water dumps in the boat because the drip rings stop it’s progress down the shaft to the hands.

Paddle Pants
Get lightweight paddle/splash pants. The drips will keep you cooler in the summer and longjohns underneath will keep you warm in the winter. Though come to think of it, it’s a water sport. I think one needs to expect to get a little wet.


Fishing is a water sport - doesn’t mean
that the fisherman/woman wants to get wet.

Does the above
response seem ludicrous to anyone but me?

Do all paddlers want to be wet?
That’s what you seem to be saying.

You imply that people who participate in sports on or around water should expect to be wet and be ok with it. I disagree with that premise.

I often paddle and stay quite dry. YMMV.

No at all,
but I do think that people who canoe or kayak should expect to get wet. I don’t always get wet when I’m boating, but I expect to.

flat sponge and ice scraper

Here’s something that might work for those who say the water is hard to reach – leave the sponge in place on the floor where it’s easy to reach, and maybe even consider getting an extra flat sponge or two. In the course of normal maneuvers, the water should periodically rush all together from front to back or vice versa and keep the sponges soaked when water begins to build up – if it doesn’t do it on its own, it’s easy to make it do this, along a path that runs through your sponge pile. The sponge will retain water until it is saturated, and if it’s easy to reach it only takes a few seconds to hold it out of the boat and squeeze. Do that between strokes once every 10 minutes and the total cost is like 30 seconds per hour. If you aren’t gaining that much benefit from the double blade, then you have permission to go back to a single blade.

For myself, I prefer to deal with it once an hour, with a single big sponge. I pause my paddling, often when the river dictates a short coast anyway, and lean the canoe left. All the water gathers beside me and a few squeezes of my big sponge gets it out.

There’s no reason why you should carry a gallon or two of water – a few cups at most. Thus, you really shouldn’t have water pooling below you and wetting your clothes from below. Still, if you’re paddling in street clothes and have to go back to work after lunch, then yeah I might skip the double blade.

As for cold weather, I don’t see much problem there. Even though I live in the south, I get one or two trips per year in sub-freezing weather, and I find the splash cloth works just as well keeping my thick clothes dry as it does my thin clothes in fall. And I actually think it’s pretty cool the way ice builds up on my gunwales and drip cloth and the canoe floor – I always make a point to let it build up at first and get a good picture of it before I clean it away. And when time comes to clear it out, no sponge is needed – solid water is much easier to deal with than the wet kind. I use a large auto windshield ice scraper to break loose and scoop ice out of the canoe.