-- Last Updated: Jan-29-13 9:38 PM EST --
..... I'm sure you will be keeping him close to you . So that means he'll be in the back half of the canoe like you .
I think you'll be needing ballast up front or the bow will be too light and high . I'm going to suggest you get 2 - 5 gal. collapsable water jugs to place up front in the bow area . Fill them at the lake , and empty them there when done . 5 gal. of water weighs about 40 lbs. . You really don't want that bow too light , gets a little squirrely , especially in "any" wind .
You can paddle all day long from the stern seat w/o any problem ... as long as you have enough ballast up front .
I'd stay with a straight shaft for awhile yet since you'll be stern paddling a tandem from the seat .
FE's BB 20 oz. paddle for 65. bucks w/tip gaurd should be a definate consideration , or any other that can match that paddle . I'm sure if FE likes it , the edges aren't too thick and it's ballanced well .
Here's my standard go to paddles , they are Carlisle 8" beavertails (acually measure 7-3/4" x 20" blade) . I have several and my best advise is get a 54" and a 57" in them .
With FE's BB paddle , the blade is narrower and longer (25"), so I'm thinkin a 57" would probably yield a good "minimum" shaft length in that BB paddle (57" - 25" = 32" shaft) . Shaft length is the most important thing regardless of what blade size you have . I can't imagine a straight shaft stern paddler with any shaft length less than 32" ... I prefer 34"- 37" shafts . You need to know what shaft length is best suited to you . Add the desired shaft length to the blade length to get the overall paddle length .
You can call and order direct from OldTown Canoe Co. ... 1-800-343-1555
Regardless which brand paddle you get , remember blade lengths and widths differ , but the shaft length that is right for you is important .