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Thread: Best paddle for solo canoeing

  1. #1

    Default Best paddle for solo canoeing

    Which kind of paddle would everyone say is best for paddling an old town penobscot 164 solo as you probs know this is a fairly long boat for paddling solo, I know longer paddles are best for steering but are they the best for solo. for example would a grey owl guide be better than a grey owl scout?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Location
    Merstham, Surrey
    Posts
    94

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    From what i have seen the paddle shape is more dependant on what kind of waters you are planning on paddling in.

    I have found the scout is a very good all round paddle, although when paddling along a canal with a group i do wish that i was using a guide as it pushes me along just as quick with less effort.

    In contrast the Guide would be pretty rubbish for shallow water where rock backing is a possibility.


    Both paddles can be ordered in a variety of lengths so you can order a size that suits your normal paddling position.



    For reference lengths
    I'm 173cm tall and use the 60' Scout (Solo and Stern)
    Fiance is 159cm and used the 54' Scout

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks Ellery, I only really paddle in deep water so do you think a guide is better than a scout? I have been using a scout?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Location
    Merstham, Surrey
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    94

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    My preference would defiantly lean towards the Guide for deep water use!

    However i would like to have a paddle like the scout aswell, or any cheap paddle for any shallow areas

    Currently i only use my scout and it has fared well on both canals and the rock garden areas on the monnow. Awaiting a time when i am travelling up to the broads to get a redtail deep water paddle.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    876

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    The Guide is a deep water paddle, and you may find the longer blade helps with steering when solo. On the other hand, I'm not sure that the difference in efficiency is measurable; and while you can use a Scout in deep water, you can't use a Guide in shallower water, such as launching and landing on beach. Some people find the longer thinner blade more enjoyable to paddle with. I always carry two paddles in the boat, so that I have a spare, and would tend to have one of each type on still water. On rivers, I'd probably have one 'nice' square ended paddle for deeper sections, and plastic one for shallow rocky bits.

  6. #6

    Default

    Depends on the water, on big open water Iíd go for an otter tail, like my great grey owl guide cherry, if Iíll be running any whitewater Iíll opt for an aggressive spooned paddle like my Werner bandit carbon.


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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Dumbarton
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    2,745

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    I don't think I have ever come across the idea of tailoring the paddle to the length of the boat before.
    I know a lot of people use different paddles in short WW canoes than long flat water canoes, but that is generally because the paddling style is quite different and the water depth issues already covered. Personally I use the same paddle in all my canoes - Apache 16, Extasy, Slalom C1 & WWR C1 when paddling on wildwater. I may sometimes swap to a wooden paddle in the Apache on still water, and over the years the paddle that I use (and the short boats I have had) have varied, but at any one time, my 'go to' paddle is used for everything.

    But my paddling style is not very traditional any more. I don't often use a long trailing J or rudder to steer a canoe, I mostly use edge with short sharp J or a short sharp pry for correction to keep a boat running straight - the longer the boat the eaiser it is to steer straight anyway, so from that perspective I would say you shouldn't need a longer paddle for straight steering. For manoeuvring, well you probably want to be actively doing that with sweeps, draws and pries rather than a trailing rudder, and yes a long paddle will give you more leverage but I think that would be a disadvantage in forward paddling because you will need to put more effort into every stroke.

    So choose your paddle to suit your paddling style - if you lift the paddle out of the water every stroke and/or paddle shallow water, a short blade will be best, if you slice your recovery through the water you might find a long blade more comfortable in deep water. but if you find yourself lifting it out a lot, I think it will wear you down quicker without giving a noticeable advantage in steering. Both styles of paddling are valid and have their place.

    How hard can it be?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Wirral
    Posts
    802

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    I'm fortunate to have several paddles but I'm happiest with my Ottertail in deep water. Lower surface area and fine edges make it a joy to use all day. Less with the aching shoulders! The oiled finish is better on the hands than varnish too.

    Closest in the Grey Owl range would be the Saggamore.
    "I'd far rather be happy than right any day"..........Slartibartfast

    http://apachecanoes.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Buckland, Gloucestershire
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    810

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    A year or so ago I bought my first 'deep water' paddle, a Grey Owl Plume. It was to complement, but actually replaced, a Grey Owl Voyager, which is similar to the Scout. The switch was a revelation - probably the biggest single thing that has improved my paddling experience... so much so, that I no longer felt that splashing out on a Cherry Sagamore was just an indulgence. I recommend the Plume, which I think is in the same price bracket as the Guide. I'd still have something like a Scout for shallow water (and a possibly a bent shaft paddle for sit and switch).
    I'm at that difficult age... somewhere between birth and death.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Stroud
    Posts
    853

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    As Jim says - pick a paddle for your paddling style ...... A deep water paddle with a long narrow blade will bring the load onto your body more slowly than a paddle like the Grey Owl Voyageur. Unless you're going to have a lot of paddles it is "try before you buy" - it may mean you have to paddle with other people and persuade them to let you borrow ........
    You don't stop playing because you get old - you get old because you stop playing.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    North Lancashire, South Lakes
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    154

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    I only paddle deep water in my PAL, and usually solo. I frequently paddle indian stroke to sneek up on things so I can photograph them. I have several paddles but the the two I use habitually are:
    1 an Edenwood Ottertail. A beautiful paddle and my first choice. With this I can paddle virtually soundlessly and gives me plenty of power if I need it, which is not that often really as I'm pretty lazy. Unfortunately Tim no longer makes paddles. Anyone know what happened?
    2 a Grey owl Sagamore. Originally varnished , but I stripped it to bare wood and it is now oiled. I MUCH prefer an oiled finish. Much kinder on the hands.
    3 several fairly crappy or old paddles, one of which always comes with me for shallow shoreline stretches or canals.

    So ottertails for me.
    Last edited by Graywolf; 18th-April-2019 at 07:45 PM.
    Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    NE England
    Posts
    1,396

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    There's no such thing as a best paddle, just the right one for right now.

    I have a Werner shovel for the rough stuff, a long, thin, small bladed, black walnut deep water paddle for looking pretty on flat water or when I'm tired and a big bladed ash beavertail for between rapids and when there's a job needs doing (and perhaps a few more, but let's pretend I'm not obsessed). I often forget to swap and find myself in the middle of a rapid with the beavertail, which is fine (it works as a backup WW paddle), and it gets used on the flat when I'm in a hurry or the wind picks up. As I made it myself out of a 15 quid plank of wood I consider it my beater paddle too. They're also great for learning and practicing stroke work.

    So, most versatile paddle for me, a big beavertail, and personally I'd make sure you've got a nice to use all rounder, a swiss army paddle, before you start looking at specialist tools. I love my deep water blades, but they are compromised in some conditions and require a bit of skill to get the best out of them.

    As a side note, I didn't find the Grey Owl beavertail a particularly good example of the breed, the Guide was a little better as an all rounder, but still a little small in the blade for my taste (and it's laminated and varnished). I like stupidly big blades though, it's a personal taste thing.
    The only thing you have to fear is Mergatroid the vengeful, man eating bear.
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