An article entitled "Exploring Maine's Waterways" in the 1909 Edition of In the Maine Woods features a great pic of some guides with lashed canoes transporting a bulky item. What got my attention is the clear picture of the standing stern guide putting his weight behind the stroke. Check out the paddle flex under the strain.
Over the years I've moved away from stiffer paddles and have started to enjoy paddles with quite a lot of flex - not everyone's cup of tea for sure. Last year, I tried to make another paddle for tripping with a piece of Sassafras given this wood's flexible properties and relatively straight grain. It didn't end well with the paddle breaking right below the grip.
I've got another Sassafras blank cut from separate stock and am hoping to get started on that for the upcoming paddling season. It is a narrow shafted (1") twin of the c. 1900 Penobscot Replica also completed last year.