Adaptive Paddling Equipment: Canoe Paddle for One-Arm Use

Sunday, 10 February 2008
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One armed paddle in action. Photo courtesy of Cindy Dillenschneider

Cindy Dillenschneider, Professor of Outdoor Education at Northland College in Ashland, WI was recently awarded a patent for a paddle she designed to allow somebody to paddle a canoe with only one hand. Through the years, I have seen or read about several different types of adaptations for people with disabilities and I have got to say that this is the closest that I have ever seen to performaing like a paddle being used with two hands.

The paddle assembly consists of three parts; a shoulder harness, a paddle, and a connector between the two. The shoulder harness is a simple cap that is worn on the shoulder of the sound side of the body and is anchored to the torso by straps that go from the back around the torso and buckle in the front. The paddle is made of carbon fiber, uses a standard paddle blade and has a modified shaft. The shaft attaches to the top of the shoulder of the user at the shoulder cap.

To use the paddle, the user grasps the vertical aspect of the paddle shaft with the sound-side hand and uses torso rotation to power the strokes.

Now that Cindy has received the seal of approval from the patent office, hopefully this will go to manufacture and be available on the market soon.

Below is some footage from Cindy's website of the paddle in action.



Sorry Internet Explorer users, there is a bug with the video player that it sometimes won't show in your browser. Refreshing the page sometimes sorts it out. If the player above doesn't show, here is the link to the original video. It will work in Firefox.

More info: Cindy's Paddle Page
Photo courtesy of Cindy Dillenschneider




David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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