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All about canoe paddles

Canoe paddles are the most essential accessory for your canoe – you won’t make it very far without one.

Different from a kayak paddle, canoe paddles have a blade at only one end of the shaft and are shorter since they are only used on one side of the canoe.

Your basic canoe paddle is made from aluminum and plastic. It’s durable and lasts years, but it’s cold to the touch and lacks the classic feel of a wood canoe paddle. Wood paddles are warm, flexible and responsive. All they ask for in return is some upkeep as they are more prone to chipping and need refinishing after time.

The lighter your canoe paddle is, the less fatigue catches up to you – but lighter doesn’t always mean better. What's important is tailoring your paddle to the water you’re in. If you spend most of your time on flatwater, a flexible paddle that absorbs shock works best. If rapid whitewater rivers are your go-to, a strong rigid paddle helps you maneuver and brace through tough waves.

Last but not least, pick a canoe paddle that’s the right length for you. No worries if you’re unsure what length paddle you need, check out our article on how to choose a canoe paddle for at-home sizing guides and more info on all the unique shapes and materials that your canoe paddle can have.