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Solo Canoe advice?

Googling canoe paddle float didn't turn up anything. I suspect because most guys don't use solo canoes or kayak paddles. With a 260cm paddle and an inflatable float somehow gripping the shaft across the rear thwart? Might need a panel put across or second thwart or similar. Could be enough without getting too much water in. I think I'll be waiting until spring though to find out.

Well it was too cold to attempt a paddle float re-entry but I did get to try the 260cm paddle. Werner also got back to me to say that they don't offer a paddle extension at this time but did offer to help me find a suitable paddle length.

At just under 6'2 I found 260cm to be pretty nice in this boat in the 5km I did today. Just long enough for me sitting and great kneeling. I've found a low angle stroke keeps the canoe a lot drier than a high angle stroke. The blade felt good in the water, no flutter or weird kick coming out of the water. It might be on the smaller side but I prefer that to too big of a blade. 973 grams with the drip rings on, one drip ring doesn't feel very tight. Right side of shaft is ovaled for orientation but not the left. Blades are slightly soft/flexible like an Accent Air. For $135 it's hard to complain too much.

Icy paddle.jpg
Beautiful day on the lake today. The boat launches were either frozen in or behind locked gates so it was just us out there. It was warm in the sun so when we got back to the launch I put on my paddle float on and walked the boat out to see how it would go. There was a decent bang when the paddle let go. The shaft wasn't up to the task. Now to be fair the paddle is a lot longer than a normal kayak paddle so the forces are really magnified. From the water side the canoe is a fair bit taller to get a leg up and in. Maybe I pushed too hard in the wrong spot who knows. Guess I'm paddle shopping again and I'll try again with the self rescue in the spring with a better quality paddle.


  • Paddle Float 2.JPG
    Paddle Float 2.JPG
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One of the problems of single canoeing is how to get back in while minimizing water intrusion: the usual paddlefloat on paddle might get you back in but it's hard to get the water out of the canoe first, and second: keep it out while re-entering.

When I was younger and a semi-ok swimmer, without a pfd I could flip a grumman over with only an inch or so of water left in the canoe, but that was in calm, perfect conditions - totally unrealistic.

So for kayaks and altho I have a fairly good roll, one of the backups I have is two paddlefloats that I consider useful for if I or another is injured and needs a stabilized kayak to stay upright. I even contemplate it being useful for reentry in one of the small SOFs I have in progress.

The idea is that of a cradle - somewhat similar to the old sponson horrors - that the kayak can rotate in to empty and to support. Just maybe this approach might be useful for the canoe: I would imagine that the central buckling might have 6" [150mm] or so extensions and maybe there would be webbing extensions on the outer ends for eventual gunwale control.

For my kayak purposes, I am sure it'll be useful. When I get back into canoeing, I'll play around more with this or something like this. For canoeing, I'm sure one of the primary things will be well secured gear in sealed bags and then instituting trial approaches something like this.

Anyway, this is how the two paddlefloats naturally buckle together - and have that non-inflated central cradle area. The idea is to have it located somewhat centrally and if out of the boat - rocking it to remove water, and then rotating the kayak axially in place then entering. Even if water inside, the boat's stabilized for other purposes like pumping, rearranging etc.

Or if someone injured, similar location, tie in place and operates like sponsons - but with many alternative uses. One of the floats is slit/cut like explained in other posts for other reasons, the other isn't. So something like this may work for canoes.


anyway, ideas.
I'd go to an outdoor store, like REI, and buy a foot or two of webbing and some plastic buckle hardware. The idea would be to make a short webbing extension between the two float bags. That way, the plastic buckles I see now would not have to take the stress of pushing against the boat's keel. You could adjust the length of the extension webbing so the float bags come up on the sides and the optimum height for stability.

It might be a great option - part of a safety kit - for solo paddling. Sure, we can all get in with one paddle float. We do it all the time in swimming pool drills. Would this cradle be more effective? You get quite a lever advantage with the traditional float way out on the paddle shaft.
The double float bag cradle is an interesting idea. In a similar vein, even a single float bag on the re-entry side might provide enough additional buoyancy to keep the gunwale on the re-entry side from going underwater and letting more water in. It would provide a similar stabilizing force as the water filled bag opposite the re-entry side in the video Andrew posted but without the drawback of adding weight and potentially further swamping the canoe. The only tricky bit would be attaching the float bag to the canoe. Perhaps a strap under the hull and around a thwart/yoke on the opposite side?
Or, how about a rescue stirrup? Instead of looping it over/around the double blade paddle as shown in the image below, loop it around the yoke or a central thwart. Some suggest a rescue stirrup hung off the canoe's bow or stern and a cowboy style re-entry but personally I feel like the narrow ends and high gunwales on a canoe make that a very tippy proposition if solo. I would try entering from the side first.