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Pirogue Paddle?

PeteStaehling

Well-Known Member
Aug 23, 2020
144
2
69
Tallahassee Florida
As my pirogue project progresses I am contemplating what I will paddle it with. I have a bunch of paddles around including some nice canoe paddles and some okay sea kayak paddles. I even have some nice white water kayak paddles of various specializations. My guess is that a canoe paddle or for double bladed use a sea kayak paddle would work okay. The length may or may not be ideal on the sea kayak paddle, but I bet it wouldn't be terrible. So I have some choices that will work to get out on the water.

I wonder though... What does the traditional paddle used for these boats look like? Do folks use something traditional or a regular canoe or kayak paddle? If there is something traditional, what are the advantages. I can imagine a traditional paddle being a nice companion project. I have built paddles and oars in the past and found it rewarding.
 

oldsparkey

Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2003
10,259
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Central , Florida
www.southernpaddler.com
My vote would be to use what ever you are the most comfortable with. I have used a canoe paddle and even a kayak paddle. The canoe paddle will move you along but the kayak paddle will increase the distance.
Six of one , a half dozen of the other.
Or go ( Everglades ) native and use a push pole.
 

PeteStaehling

Well-Known Member
Aug 23, 2020
144
2
69
Tallahassee Florida
I have the liberty of tinkering with a variety of what is on hand. I have never embraced the use of double bladed paddles in canoes, but may try one in the pirogue for the heck of it.

I have never tried a push pole.

I do still wonder if there is any traditional style of paddle that is unique to the pirogue.
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
13,798
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Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
I don’t have a pirogue. But I use a kayak paddle in both my kayak and canoe, My observation is that, when you have more paddle in the water, you can transmit more power to the water. That additional power translates into improved control and speed.

Works for me.
 

oldbuffpilot

Well-Known Member
May 13, 2014
399
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77
Central Kansas and Central Texas
Pete,
There are some geniune experts on tradtional pirogues.They will eventually show up with the real facts. I didn't arrive in La until the 70's. Then consider it was NORTH La! most folks were using a single paddle OR two short paddles one on each forearm.
 

jdupre'

Well-Known Member
Sep 9, 2007
2,170
20
South Louisiana
Well, I've been using a kayak paddle in my pirogues and kayaks for 15 years or so. Every once in a LONG while, I'll pick up the spare canoe paddle and make a few strokes. That's about as long as it takes to remind me why I like the kayak paddle so much. Kayak paddles alternate full power strokes from side to side to maintain an even heading. To make a canoe paddle do that, you have to either switch sides often ( no thanks) or make a corrective stroke almost every time. A corrective stroke by it's very nature scrubs off a certain amount of power and speed. I've never found myself in a tight enough situation where a kayak paddle was too cumbersome to use.

The most common types of pirogue paddles used in the past were rather plain, flat-bottomed affairs. Flat bottom to presumably press off of muddy bottoms , logs and such.
 

seedtick

Well-Known Member
Jul 22, 2006
1,160
7
Denham Springs, LA
do an internet search for “the pirogue maker” and watch the 1949 movie. Old time paddles were narrow, straight sided, with flat bottoms and a notch cut out of one side to catch trot lines, crab traps, etc.
 

PeteStaehling

Well-Known Member
Aug 23, 2020
144
2
69
Tallahassee Florida
Thanks. I enjoyed the movie. Too bad it didn't show the paddles better but I get the idea. I had seen some pictures of paddles kind of like that in pirogue pictures and wondered about the notches. The pictures actually sometimes showed more prominent notches and straighter sides unless I am misreading what I am seeing in the movie.

The lines of the my UJ pirogue really are a long way from the log pirogue in the movie and with the much higher sides it usage will likely be different so it may be silly to bother trying to be traditional with the paddle, but I may carve one for fun later.