Yak Paddle w/ Solo Canoe

My wife loves to paddle a kayak. I don’t know what’s gotten into her these days. Anyway, I’m thinking of getting her a solo canoe for tripping and lake use. I actually think she’ll do better alone with a kayak paddle. What is the maximum width for using a double ended paddle? The Prism looks like a possibility because she likes the tractor seat. It’s 30.5" wide.

There’s no maximum width for the canoe
Double blade paddles are made in a variety of lengths so they can be sized to the paddler and the boat. Some are even adjustable length.

…a 30" wide canoe is not really any different than a 30" wide kayak …so i would guess a 220 to 240cm paddle would work well.

Could also consider/try a Greenland
style yak paddle. Moves my Wen-Vag tractor seat solo very nicely with my yak friends on easy-moderate cruises. Had it made very long (8’8") to clear the gunnels easily on low angle strokes and sweeps. Very easy on the body. 20+ headwinds have stopped me though and let my stronger lower profiled yak friends paddle through. Just thoughts. R

canoe vs. kayak
The canoe is much different since you sit up higher it’s a longer reach to the water in the canoe vs. the kayak. Need to add length to the paddle to compensate for that.

Bill H.

Thanks folks
I guess I’ll let her try my canoe with an adjustable paddle. If she likes it, we can go from there. I think the seat of the kayak really appeals to her.

The Prism is a very nice, fast, hard tracking boat. Although some get by with double-bladed paddles that are “only” 220 or 230 cm in length, I have found that the higher gunwales in a canoe and the higher sitting position require the offside blade to be brought over above the hull in order for the onside blade to be immersed in the water.

I really don’t care for the incessant paddle drip into the boat that results, but others don’t seem to mind at all.

Why not just let her kayak?
I think a kayak might be better for those who prefer it.

True, but when I went from an 8’ to a
10’ double blade, in order to suit an 18.5 X 36" canoe, I found a paddle that long to be too clumsy. I would not go over 8.5" unless I could get something made very stiff and very light.

Paddle lenght
I use a 250cm high angle paddle in my solos. They are all under 30’ and have tumblehome which is a help.

Several companys make 260cm dubble blades for canoes. I know Foxworks does.


Get her a Rapidfire.
I paddle mine with a 230, but I am tall with long arms.

Get that girl a pack canoe,
a Vermont Tupper; 27 1/2 inches wide, 25 pounds, 12 ft 9 inches long.

I paddle mine with a 230, and I’m short (5’3 1/2".} One happy woman here ;^)

a tractor style seat implies that the paddler will be sitting on bottom with feet out in front. A canoe has much more freeboard than a kayak and a larger wider one will create a situation where little vertically can be achieved on the forward stroke thus negating the advantages of a double bladed paddle. I would consider the paddler’s torso and arm length and choose a hull of width and freeboard which allows some verticality for the forward stroke and frees the paddler from forced horizontality which results in undesired increased yaw. Of course seaworthiness must be considered when choosing reduced freeboard.


a tripping kayak between lakes sounds like a deal breaker. That Vermont Tupper does look like it fits the bill nicely, but there are no dealers anywhere near here. It sounds like the ideal double paddle length is dependent on multiple factors. I guess we need to try some boats and paddles.

Prism with 235 yak paddle…
I paddle a Prism, as well as many other solos, with a 235cm Werner carbon Shuna paddle. I paddled Allegheny Reservoir this past weekend without as much as a couple drips in the boat at most. I have a few fellow P-Netters who could back that statement up…

What’s your height?

although said long time ago…
The canoe gods will be frowning = bad juju…

Really, whatever floats your boat…

works good
Especially aginst the wind. You do need a long paddle. Canoe traditionalists hate it.


– Last Updated: Jun-23-10 4:28 PM EST –

Skill and good judgement is also a good remedy for controlling a canoe in the wind.

The "fair and balanced" answer is "do whatever floats your boat". What I'd really want to say is, "using a double bladed paddle in a canoe is like putting training wheels on a mountain bike. It might work, but you're missing the point"

A few questions:

If she likes kayaking, why put her in a canoe? Yes a canoe is lighter and better for tripping, but will she be happy spending that kind of time in one?

Has she expressed a desire to canoe?

If so, why not give her the opportunity to enjoy the single blade? A hard tracking boat designed for hit 'n switch like the Prism isn't quite as hard to manage going straight as a pack canoe or whitewater boat. If she hates it, so be it.

Feel free to tell me to &%*# off, I admit I'm a canoe bigot.


she’s spent a lot of time in the bow of our tandems. A few BWCAW trips, a few to the U.P. No solo time. I know the traditionalists wouldn’t like the idea. I’m somewhat of an ol’ codger myself. But sometimes it ain’t about me or my half-baked bais. She can always switch back to a single blade if she wants, right?