How to Size a Solo Canoe Paddle

solo canoeist

Many canoeists enjoy the solitude and challenge of solo canoeing. If that’s you, and you want to know how to size a solo canoe paddle, you’re in the right place.

How to Size a Single-Bladed Solo Canoe Paddle

In general, we recommend you use the same size paddle for tandem or solo canoeing. So you’ll follow the same steps in sizing your solo single-bladed paddle as you would if you were canoeing tandem.

Canoeists have varying opinions on how long or short they like their paddles. Some even have paddles of various lengths, depending on the type of trip they’re on or the type of water they paddle.

Here’s an easy guideline if you’re new to canoeing: measure the length of your torso while sitting on a flat chair, which is the distance from the chair’s seat to your nose. Then see the chart below:

solo canoe paddle sizing guide

Notice the length for a bent shaft paddle is 4 inches shorter than for a straight shaft paddle.

If you’ll paddle in narrow creeks and rivers or in whitewater, or if you do a lot of maneuvering strokes, you may want to size a bit longer. If your canoe is narrow and/or it’s a tumblehome (for more on that, see this article from paddling.com), you may want to size shorter.

Here’s a very thorough description of how to choose a single-bladed canoe paddle—not just the size but also blade shape, type of grip, finish, etc: How to Size & Choose a Canoe Paddle.

To see all our single-blade canoe paddles, click here.

How to Size a Double-Bladed Solo Canoe Paddle

Most people would call a double-bladed canoe paddle a kayak paddle. That’s essentially what it is—the difference being that a double-bladed paddle for canoeists will be longer than for kayakers.

Canoeists sit a bit higher on the water than kayakers, so your paddle needs to be longer. And like kayak paddles, our double-bladed canoe paddles are measured in centimeters instead of inches.

Measure your canoe’s width and then see the chart below for our suggested length:

double-bladed solo canoe paddle sizing chart

Bending Branches makes two double-bladed paddles for solo canoeists:

  • Impression Solo has the traditional wood look with its beautiful combination of basswood and red alder. It’s available in 260 cm and 280 cm and weighs 44 ounces. It sells for $249.95.
  • Slice Glass Solo is a few ounces lighter with a fiberglass shaft and epX engineered polymer blades in high-viz orange. It weighs 39 ounces and sells for $169.95. It’s also available in 260 cm and 280 cm.

What paddle questions can we help you with? Contact our friendly Customer Service team today: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]

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