Why Should a Solo Canoeist Use a Kayak Paddle?

4-minute read

When we think of paddling a canoe we think of using a canoe paddle. But if you’re a canoeist who loves to head out alone, you may consider using a double-bladed paddle instead—what we usually call a kayak paddle.

solo canoeist using a kayak paddle

This solo canoeist is using Bending Branches’ Angler Pro kayak fishing paddle (photo courtesy of @five2nine_ca)

Some solo canoeists prefer using a single bladed paddle, some prefer using a double-bladed paddle. It comes down to preference—there’s no right or wrong for everyone.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

Advantages of using a Double-Bladed Paddle for Solo Canoeing

  • You can pull some serious water quickly—Every stroke is pulling one of your blades through the water. Solo canoeists are usually able to paddle faster with a double-bladed paddle than a standard canoe paddle.
  • No (or few) steering strokes are needed—There’s no need to j-stroke constantly, just keep an even cadence and you’ll move on straight ahead with no problem.
  • It’s easier on your shoulders if you have aches and pains—Long days on the water with a double-bladed paddle can mean less wear and tear, as long as it’s a high-quality, light paddle. Use a clunky, heavy paddle and it becomes a disadvantage.
  • It’s especially nice in windy conditions—With feathering options available and a blade in the water at all times, paddling into the wind is easier with a kayak-type paddle.

Advantages of using a Canoe Paddle for Solo Canoeing

  • It’s lighter and more maneuverable—Even the lightest double-bladed paddle is many ounces heavier than a canoe paddle with a single blade of comparable quality.
  • It’s smaller and easy to use in tight places—On rapids or in tight corners you’ll find the shorter single-bladed paddle much easier to use.
  • There’s no paddle drip—Paddle drip can be a big problem with a double-bladed option. Not so with a single canoe paddle.

Most solo canoeists who use a double-bladed paddle also bring along a traditional canoe paddle. That way they have options no matter what situation they find themselves in.

Bending Branches’ Kayak Paddles for Canoeists

Because you sit up higher off the water in a canoe than a kayak, your paddle needs to be quite long…longer than the average kayak paddle.

man in a solo canoe with a kayak paddle on a river

(photo courtesy of Ken Whiting)

Here at Bending Branches we make two double-bladed paddles specifically for solo canoeists:

Impression Solo—For the canoeist who loves the look of a wooden paddle, the Impression Solo is beautifully crafted of basswood and red alder. It features our Rockgard® edging at the tips of the blades and two feathering options. It weighs 44 ounces and is also available in 260 cm and 280 cm. MSRP: $274.95.

You could also consider one of our kayak fishing paddles with our adjustable-length Versa-Lok™ ferrule system. These models are all available in 260-275 cm length, which works for most solo canoeists:

Angler Navigator Versa-Lok™—Beautiful wood blades with a longer wrap of Rockgard® edging than Navigator, plus a 100% carbon shaft. It weighs just 37 ounces. The Versa-Lok™ ferrule offers infinite feathering angles, a great option for adverse weather. MSRP $374.95.

Angler Pro Versa-Lok™—Our high-performance kayak angling paddle, the Angler Pro is just 30 ounces, lighter than some canoe paddles. It has compression-molded fiberglass blades in three eye-catching color options and a 100% carbon shaft. MSRP $349.95.

Angler Pro Carbon Versa-Lok™—Our lightest double-bladed paddle, the Angler Pro Carbon weighs in at a mere 27 ounces. The sleek black compression-molded blades and 100% carbon shaft is a work of art and the ultimate in high performance. MSRP $449.95

Angler Ace Versa-Lok™—If you love the idea of an all carbon paddle but want one that’s easier on the budget, look no further than this model. The 100% carbon shaft and carbon-reinforced nylon blades makes this paddle the best value in kayak fishing. Just 32 ounces. MSRP $249.95.

Angler Classic Versa-Lok™—Our most affordable option for you also happens to be the best-selling kayak fishing paddle on the market. The Classic has a fiberglass shaft with fiberglass-reinforced nylon blades. It’s available in Tidal Blue or high-viz Electric Green. 35.5 ounces. MSRP $184.95.

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

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