Can I Use a Canoe Paddle in a Kayak?
Can I Use a Canoe Paddle in a Kayak

A query that has struck the mind of numerous canoeists – can I use a canoe paddle in a kayak? Yes – and no. Let us dive deeper into this article.

Notably, you could employ a canoe paddle to propel a kayak in motionless water. Yet, it wouldn’t be very methodical. A kayak paddle is reserved for a low-angle stroke, which provides you more power and control than the high-angle stroke used for canoes.

So, if you tried to use a canoe paddle in a kayak, you’d promptly find yourself exhausted and not making quite much progress. There is one occasion where a canoe paddle can work well – when you’re paddling an inflatable kayak in the ocean.

So, can I use a canoe paddle in a kayak, per se? The high-angle stroke of a canoe paddle can be used to support the kayak in choppy water and is much less tiring than using a kayak paddle would be.

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Are Canoe and Kayak Paddles Identical?

Not really, but you could utilize a canoe paddle to float a kayak if you wanted to. The forms of the paddles are separate to make the strokes more beneficial for each kind of boat. Canoe paddles have a negligibly diverse angle than kayak paddles. 

This makes them less efficient when utilized with a kayak, by all means. The only time it may be advisable to use a canoe paddle on a kayak is if you’re paddling an amplified kayak in the ocean. Apart from that, it’s better to cling to a kayak paddle.

The Distinctions Between Kayak and Canoe Paddles

There are a few key discrepancies between the kayak and canoe paddles. Notably, here are some of them;

  • A kayak paddle exists to be used with a low-angle stroke. That gives you more energy and command than the high-angle stroke used for canoes.
  • The forms of the paddles are separate to make the strokes more efficient for each type of boat. Canoe paddles have a negligibly distinct angle than a kayak. Because of this, they are more effective for canoeing.
  • Canoe paddles have a wider blade. Also, they are held at an inclination close to parallel with the water. This structure renders less power but is more manageable to use for newbies. 


A kayaking paddle, by distinction, includes a blade on both ends. So, both are used in the water in a beating action that drives the boat forward. The grip is in the middle; where the paddler’s hands remain.

This distinction is because a kayaker sits much lower in the water than somebody in a canoe. This indicates that paddling with a single-bladed paddle is much less practical.

A kayaker should have a paddle that can weave from side to side and drop into the water. All that without having to readjust and reangle it on each stroke.


A kayaking paddle is usually longer in general. Why? This is because both blades ought to touch the water without moving the stem from one side of the boat to the other.

Nevertheless, speaking of how far the blades go into the water, canoe paddles care to be longer. This is because the boater is away from the water’s exterior and may require more sweeping. While the general stem is shorter, the blade drops down further when you put a hand on the “T” hold at the end.

That suggests that if you’re attempting to use a canoe paddle in a kayak, you may find it uneasy and too long to hold comfortably.

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The Benefits Of Using A Canoe Paddle In A Kayak

There aren’t many benefits to selecting a canoe paddle for use in a kayak. Still, there are a few of them! One useful thing is that if you are utilizing a canoe paddle, you aren’t maintaining a long blade beyond the boat all day. This can be a lot easier on your muscles.

While canoe paddles have a more comprehensive reach into the water, a kayak paddle manages to be longer in general. That may make your kayaking paddle weightier and more uneasy to hold. So, in some cases, a canoe paddle might prove preferable.

So, Why Are Kayak Paddle Blades Offset

There Is More to This

Another benefit is that the canoe paddle will induce more occasional drips of water to run down into the kayak’s cockpit, indicating you may remain drier. When using a kayak paddle, you drop one of the blades in the water and then raise it into the air to tip the other side down.

This pushes water to run down the branch of the paddle and directly into your kayak and cockpit. It’s likewise why so many individuals end up wet, even if they don’t exit the kayak.

Relying on your stroke, this is less probable to occur with a canoe paddle. Although you will have to move the paddle from one side of the boat to the other, you can evade soaking water to get into the boat.

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The Drawbacks Of Using A Canoe Paddle In A Kayak

The substantial drawback is quite a significant one. You will need to swap hands on each stroke. This is because kayaks are invented to be pushed from one side to the other in constant strokes supplied by a dedicated kayaking paddle.

If you begin using a single-bladed paddle, you will see that you still need the standard activity to keep your kayak tracking directly in the water.

That suggests dragging the canoe paddle from side to side of your kayak on each stroke, swapping your hold on it to deliver enough push.

This is very ineffective and will slow you down greatly, making it much more difficult to get anywhere. You may see it’s quite a frustrating and also tiring path to travel, even if you rehearse the move a lot.

The standard passing back and forth might also be more tiring than paddling with the stem of the paddle held somewhat still in front of you. In addition, it is more wearing on your arms and shoulders, affecting more side-to-side activity.

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There Is More to This

Similarly, because you have to keep switching sides (with a time pause every time you shift the paddle into the right standing and place your hands on it), you may find it hard to operate quickly.

In moist conditions, a canoe paddle can be much less adjustable, and you may find that you can’t move it quickly enough to control your boat as you want to. With a kayaking paddle, there is no requirement to swap your hands around. You can just drop whichever blade into the water and run the boat.

This usually makes turning much faster and more steady. If you oversteer, you just paddle with the other side without switching your hands and passing the paddle over the boat.

You cannot alter your course as quickly with a canoe paddle because you need to move the paddle.

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Which Is More Manageable to Paddle – Canoe or Kayak?

The easy answer is that it relies on individual paddling and water conditions. If you’re a newbie in paddling, a kayak will be easier to control and paddle in a straight line.

If you’re a professional paddler and satisfied with using a high-angle stroke, then canoeing will be quite effortless. In choppy water or water with powerful wind, a kayak will be more manageable to paddle than a canoe. Finally, it’s up to the paddler to determine which is easier.

If you want to learn more about kayaking, read our article about sitting in a white water kayak.

Can You Utilize Oars In a Kayak?

You could theoretically utilize oars in a kayak, but it’s not advisable. Oars are to be used with a high-angle stroke, which is less practical when paddling a kayak.

Moreover, the oar would need to be more extended than the kayak to deliver enough leverage. For these causes, it’s sounder to cling to a kayak paddle.

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Using Too Long of a Paddle for Kayaking?

If you utilize a paddle that is too long for kayaking, you will fast see yourself exhausted and not making much advancement. This goes without saying. The paddle will be hard to control, and you will not be able to induce enough power to move the kayak efficiently.

It is critical to elect a paddle that is the proper length for your height and the kind of kayaking you will be doing. Utilizing a too-long paddle can be risky and not advisable.

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