With the width of an 18' Grumman canoe, you will need an enormous double bladed paddle to do what you are thinking. That could get rather cumbersome. As far as getting lower in a canoe, using a kneeling position and propping your butt on the edge of the seat rather than a lower sitting position with your legs out in front of you is more traditional. That's not to say that what you're thinking won't work, because it will. But it may not be terribly comfortable unless you are an especially limber individual.
Try putting on some oarlock sockets and getting some oars. I've found that 7' oars work nicely on my 17' canoe, but a little longer wouldn't be bad either. It's just that the cost difference between 7' and 8' oars was prohibitive to me, but my financial decisions shouldn't drive you.
Rowing a canoe is easy and comfortable and can be done from an upright seated position. You won't set any speed records, but if you're thinking of soloing in an 18' aluminum canoe, speed is clearly not high on your priority list.
- Big D
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