Canoe Paddles - Choosing the Right One
Well, consider the obvious. Aside from "You", your paddle is the engine that actually makes the boat go. Need we say more? Purchasing the best paddle(s) you can afford is a wise investment for both your on water efficiency and your health.
Confused by the sizes, shapes, materials and jargon? Don't be! Remember, Frontenac Outfitters makes choosing paddle(s) easy. We invite you to have fun and test paddle and compare. Heck, we'll even supply the boats! Until then, we hope this article helps.
There are four basic types of canoe paddles, choose the one which best fits your needs.
For casual day tripping, a good all around paddle is one made of laminated softwood. These paddles are light, reasonably strong and reasonably priced. Some blade shapes will be rounded and look like a beaver tail, while others will have squared off edges and look more like a shovel.
Tripping or Cruising Paddles
Flatwater paddlers tend to use aesthetically pleasing paddles made of solid hardwoods like white ash and black cherry. These paddles are used for cruising efficiently for hours, so durability and weight are important. Blade shapes are generally longer and narrower then other types and are commonly referred to as otter tail designs. This type of paddle is lighter and enters and exits the water more efficiently then other blades.
Marathon or Racing Paddles
Bent shaft paddles look like a shovel with a bent blade. They are often the choice of Marathon racers. The idea of a bent-shaft paddle is it positions the paddle blade more vertical to the water. In theory this shape provides the paddler a shorter, more efficient paddling power zone. These hardwood laminate paddles are shorter and wider than most other types. What the paddler gains in power can be lost in lack of finesse and versatility.
White water paddles have big wide blades with squared off edges to pull lots of water. Materials used to make them can change radically from hardwood laminates with epoxy tips, to plastic or Kevlar blades with aluminum shafts, to a combination of any or all these durable products.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Size a Canoe Paddle?
Canoe paddles usually size in 3" increments (common sizes are: 54", 57", 60" and 63"). A quick way to roughly measure is to hold the paddle above your head with each hand in the appropriate place. If the shaft is the correct length for you, your forearms should be parallel to each other and perpendicular to the floor. At Frontenac Outfitters, we suggest you select a few different models and "Then Paddle with them!"
But How Important is My Canoe Paddle?
Let's do some basic math. At a comfortable 30 strokes a minute, paddling for four hours, the average paddler will take about 7,200 strokes. At 20 strokes per minute, a subtle weight savings of two ounces would save you 600 lbs of lifting over a four-hour paddle!
What About Price?
Prices can vary dramatically anywhere from $20.00 to well over $100.00 each. We invite you to paddle and make educated decisions on the water not in a showroom! After paddling and seeing the differences quality paddles make, you won't want to cut corners here.
Created By Paddlers For Paddlers!
Frontenac Outfitters was created way back in 1984. Our vision rewards visitors with a vastly superior level of customer service, paddling expertise and an exhilarating 'on-water' experience.
Today, we have grown to become One of Canada's Largest, most respected, full-service Paddlesports shops. Our sincere objective is to introduce you to a fun, educational and environmentally responsible way to explore our waterways!
We realize our wilderness setting means an investment in your valuable time to come see us. We promise should you make that trip that we will devote our time, energy & expertise to you.
We invite you to ‘Come Paddle With Us’.