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Let’s talk modern manufactured canoe length double blades



Although the previous thread’s subject line is unspecified School me on carbon fibre paddles, and does not excluding the Devil’s own handiwork, this topic would get lost in that other thread.

I know I’m not the only Devil’s double blader on this board. What doubles do other slackers like and use, in which canoes?

I plan to paddle at least three of our tandems with it to try and get an idea what length and blade size and shape I might want to try next as I'll be surprised, although pleasantly surprised, if the 235 CM length works out. Our three cruising/touring canoes are a Wenonah Adirondack, a Spirit II and a 17' 6" Mad River Northwoods and all are a lot wider, bow or stern, than our any of our touring kayaks were.

I suspect that I'll be more comfortable with a smaller blade and a lower angle paddling style than I used in an 18' kayak. I may be back for advice after some more double blading in a canoe.

You may be surprised at 235cm length, at least in the stern seat. That of course depends on the actual gunwale width at, and in initiating-stroke front of the seat, the blade size and shape and your preference for a high or low angle stroke in canoe use.

FWIW, a canoe length appropriate double used in the bow on a tandem provides a lot of propulsion, no matter the paddler’s strength or stroke skills. Especially helpful when, eh, the unseen stern paddler is doing naught but lazy correction strokes. Not that I’d ever be caught doing something that; I could tell when my bowman was about to turn around for a look behind and start paddling again. I doubt sweet-voiced Rosie the hound would rat you out.

When the boys were pre-teens and we paddled tandems I could call out “Gimme what you got!”. They would hit it hard with a double bladed, and they pulled us out of some tricky, Dad miscalculated situations when I needed some immediate oh-crap motor.

If I carried one double blade in a tandem I’d rather it be sized for the bow paddler’s use. I could manage in the stern with it, and maybe even bow backwards solo as well in some canoes.

Paddling solo, “center” seated, starting my stroke near the widest part of the hull, I use a low angle touring stroke, and like the asymmetrical, dihedral blade shape and 52cm x 16.5cm size - what Werner calls “mid-sized” - on the 260cm Camano. Our other favored composite doubles, a couple in the longest “standard” length 250’s, up to the (usually too lengthy) custom 270, are very close to those Camano blade specifications.

I also like the Werner’s 15 degree feather angle adjustability ferrule, although I am firmly settled on personal choices of either 0 or 30 feather right hand control, and never vary from those two adjustment settings. YMMV.

I have yet to find an adjustable length ferrule I liked. I don’t much like even a little button clip sticking up in the middle of the shaft; the ones with an actual lever sticking out are a no go for me, ‘cause, um, several reasons. It would have to be a non-clunky, near seamless length adjustment ferrule, and provide more than 10cm of adjustability to be worth it.

Higher end composite paddles have factory matched ferrules, and the ferrules are often serial/lot numbered. Sometimes the ferrules are numbered with a label that can wear down to illegibility, or fall off completely. It’s worth writing that number down; if the paddle ever needs factory repair have the matching ferrule number helps.

The evolution of canoeing double blades, from Shaw & Tenny’s classic (if fragile) Hereshoff blade design, to more recent canoe-length appropriate double blades, continues. From wood to aluminum/plastic/nylon to carbon fiber, and from fluttery flat blades to fatiguing symmetrical spoon blades to an asymmetrical, dihedral power face that require less of a clenched fist Hulk grip.

We have antique wood doubles with flat blades, and modern wood laminate, slightly spooned, asymmetrical doubles. Some of them are quite beautiful paddles, with different woods and striking grain patterns.

Much prettier to look at, but looks are only skin deep. The comparative weights, nope; nothing but carbon doubles for me when I’m lifting one end of a 250 or 260 double out of the water with every stroke thousands of times a day. Do the rough math, say a 2oz weight difference between paddles, and a day trip, call it a mere 8,000 strokes.

That’s a half a ton I’m not lifting during that day trip. Multiple that by a multi-day trip with a more heavily loaded canoe. That’s a giant nope nearly every time. “Nearly”, if we are on a low water rocky bottom day trip I may grab less expensive paddles to abuse. And soon enough wish I had those couple extra ounces gone.

In the hands of a less durable bow paddler those couple ounces become all the more important. I’m willing to do 12oz reps, but unlike a paddle those magically get lighter with every sip.

I once had a dear and distant friend visit for a day paddle. He worked for a kayak eco-tour operator, and was able to pro-deal a high end carbon double in custom canoe length. He did not bring that carbon featherweight, and I unthinkingly lent him a 260 Bending Branches Sun Shadow wood double. Not a beast in terms of weight, we had a lotta happy miles on that double blade.

He was carbon fiber spoiled, the few extra ounces nearly killed him. After a hundred yards he was fifty yards behind, and b*tching up a storm. Someone (not me) had to trade paddles with him.
I do know a few experienced paddlers who like to use a double bladed paddle in the bow and a single blade in the stern and they seem to do pretty well with that combo. A few years ago I bought a used Aqua-Bound Eagle Ray carbon double blade in 240 cm length but it is also available in up to 250 cm length. It seems to be a decent paddle. But truth be told I have used it very little. I really just don't care much for a double bladed paddle in a canoe. The only time I could foresee using one is needing to paddle hard into a stiff headwind and even then I would stick with the single blade and switch if at all possible.
I use a 260 cm Accent Air paddle in my Morningstar solo. I chose the longer length so I could keep the stroke low and not get wet. It has worked out pretty well. I prefer a single blade, but there are times when the wind and waves require it, and I'm glad to have it.
When I use a double in my solos i use a bending branches navigator 250cm. best feeling and quietest double I have tried. I only use it as a backup when my arm or shoulder bother me.--Turtle
DDDB user here when I solo ... I bought a 250 cm low angle Grey Owl to start, then started making my own at 260 cm .... consensus in my group is that 260 cm for a solo seems to be a sweet spot. The lighter ones I make come in at ~850 grams which light enough for extended tripping iMO.

I have both and use both ... just depends on the situation, I get antsy when folks start telling me what I want in a paddle, the short of it is that I use what works, and a DDDB works very well and no amount of rhetoric will change the facts.

250cm aquabound hybrid sting ray in a caribou s. It gets ya a little wet. Nice paddle tho. I see a 260 full carbon of some variety in the future. Any recommendations?
230 or 240 here. I just grab whatever is in the front of the pile. Not buying a longer heavier blade for my Monarch ( which I do better in single blading) or for my solo canoes which top out at 28 inches on the gunwale. I suppose I unconsciously adapt my paddle angle to adapt to width of boat. I have decent paddles and the shape sheds the shower particles laterally.

That said I have an Aleut paddle 260 cm length. But its wood and heavy. For the short paddle nothing is more powerful. Aleut paddles are not commercially made.
I have used 240 to 290 in different canoes but know now that I like the Camano 260 the best. Others have used it and then bought one. My main transport is a Wenonah Prism but have used it in Wenonah Encounter tripping too. Bow and stern in tandems of different makes and worked well.for me. I am 6 foot. Low angle always keeps me dry.
i use a low angle canoe twin (260 cm) as well and I am always dry as well, there seems to be a recurring theme that DDDPs are going to get you wet, but my experience doesn't match that scenario.

i use a low angle canoe twin (260 cm) as well and I am always dry as well, there seems to be a recurring theme that DDDPs are going to get you wet, but my experience doesn't match that scenario.


The few times I have tried using a 240 cm double blade in a canoe I had quite a bit of paddle drip which I do not care for. I suspect a paddle 20 cm longer would be much better in that regard.
i use a low angle canoe twin (260 cm) as well and I am always dry as well, there seems to be a recurring theme that DDDPs are going to get you wet, but my experience doesn't match that scenario.

Nor mine, and I expect when people say they got soaked they were using something like a kayak 230cm, necessitating a high angle stroke in a too wide hull. I agree with fellow Devil’s Plaything users Midwest Firecraft, Turtle, Cruiser, Rubbaboo, Marten, et al; 250cm to 260cm seems to work best as a canoe length, depending on the canoe and solo, bow or stern position.

Staying dry with a double blade mostly comes down to using an appropriate length for the gunwale width at paddling station, combined with a low angle stroke. 230 or 240cm in any boat we own would require a higher angle stroke and be a wet experience. I know from just that wet trial experience.

Drip rings definitely help (drip “cups” are better), and prevent cold water from running down the paddle shaft onto your hands. And there are blade shapes that drip very little. The best ever of those was the fragile Shaw and Tenney; the blades are very slender, tapering even thinner near the throat, and just don’t carry much water along the edge to drip when raised. (Weird paddle, the balance is all wrong, way too light at the blade ends)

With a stiff breeze on a beam reach water is going to blow off the raised windward-side blade and land in your lap, but using a double blade in broadside wind is a waste of energy, just grab the single and hit it on the downwind side, with little need for correction.

For making miles into a stiff headwind, yeah, hand me my Devil’s Plaything. It’s just another tool in the toolbox, not the zombie apocalypse demise of single blading technique.
let me add that in my less than 30' wide solos with the navigator I stay almost totally dry. I paddle kneeling.
Like I alluded to I have very little soakage but have not bought a double blade in the last 20 years. The Wind Swift allows for water shedding at the beginning of the recovery. I also have a Bending Branches Breeze.. I believe I have a naturally low angle stroke and the blades are narrow. I used to use a Greenland paddle a lot in a kayak and that usually is ( does not have to be) a low angle stroke.
I'm going out of town in a few minutes and if I have coverage at any time I'll try to respond to this. Otherwise it'll be Monday AM.

Best regards to all,

Oops, I forgot about this thread until a little bit ago. The Epic paddle I mentioned has an oval shaft and adjusts with a fingered collet with a knurled locking sleeve over it and although I was somewhat concerned about sand possibly being an issue it never has been. It allows infinite feathering adjustments and the low profile locking ring doesn't seem to be an issue at all. If Epic made one around 260cm I wouldn't hesitate to order one although I'd opt for a more relaxed style blade the the one I have now which is a more broad "active touring" blade.

Looking at the Camano locking lever I wonder if it would feel like it was a distraction or would get in the way. I like the adjustable idea but would want to paddle one before deciding if it was worth it. At the very least I'd want to hold one.

I suppose I'll have to track down a 260cm paddle and see how it feels. Who, other than Werner make paddles that long?

Best regards,

Hello, new to the forum and thus late to the thread!

I solo a tandem from the bow seat sitting backwards. As many have said, I use a much longer paddle in a canoe that I do in a kayak - you're higher off the water (kneeling or sitting), and my boat is 36" at the widest (a bit narrower where I sit). I can work with 240cm, but 250cm or even 260cm is better.

Likewise as many others have said, I use a double heading upwind, or with a load, or when beating a storm back to shore. I very much enjoy the nuance and technique of single-blade solo practice. These days I often bring the double along and don't use it at all, but when conditions call for the double I'm sure glad I have it. I also use the double standing up, and even use it as a pole in really shallow swamps. I played around with a SUP paddle, but with the double I can use it like an SUP paddle, but also have the double when I want to get upwind in a hurry.

Specifically, my favorite is my Adventure Tech Search paddle (made for kayak fishing). I like that it extends from 240cm to 250cm and has infinite angle adjustments, and I've put it through a lot poling and punting and it's help up. I bought a Bending Branches Navigator, but found that with the longer blades compared to the Search, 240cm was just a bit shy of a comfortable length. Additionally, their "locking" ferrule system comes loose the instant I push off with it, no matter how tight I try to set it, so that paddle has been relegated to deep-water kayak duty (where it performs very nicely). I once tried to push off the mud in a moving stream and came away with one half the paddle - the other half was stuck in the mud. I imagine their pushbutton ferrule wouldn't have the same problem.

I do find that with a 250cm paddle I can achieve a low enough angle to keep water from running down the shaft, but I do get a few drops in the canoe in front of me. It's not enough to bother me, but with a single blade I can stay bone dry without trying.