How to Use a Kayak Paddle With a Canoe

How to Use a Kayak Paddle With a Canoe
Usually, a canoe is paddled by two people, each using a single-bladed paddle on either side of the canoe. Kayak paddles are double-bladed and designed to be used by a single boater on low-slung kayaks. Many canoe enthusiasts have discovered that a kayak paddle can work well for solo canoe trips because it is less fatiguing to use and works well for balanced paddling, helping keep the canoe in a straight line.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Canoe
  • Kayak paddle
Step 1
Use a longer kayak paddle when in a canoe than you would use with a kayak. Kayaks sit lower in the water than canoes, so a standard kayak paddle will not work as well in a canoe because it requires more work to clear the sides of the boat.
Step 2
Alternate strokes on either side of the canoe with the blades of your kayak paddle. The kayak paddle should travel in a shallow figure-8 arc to work with the offset blades of the kayak paddle.
Step 3
Keep your back straight while paddling and use the muscles in your torso and shoulders, instead of just arming the paddle.
Step 4
Pull the blade in a motion parallel to the canoe, with the blade perpendicular to the water.
Step 5
Use shallower angles on the kayak blade in relation to the water for slower speeds, keeping the blade at a 45- to 60-degree angle to the water, instead of perpendicular to it.

Tips & Warnings

Kayak paddles are best used on solo canoe trips. While it is possible to use kayak paddles when tandem canoeing, the single-bladed canoe paddles are easier to maneuver when two people are driving the canoe.

Article Written By Candace Horgan

Candace Horgan has worked as a freelance journalist for more than 12 years. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Denver Post" and "Mix." Horgan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and history.

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