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Submitted: 05-12-2009 by Yanoer
This review is for a circa 1988 48" Grey Owl Marathon bent shaft canoe paddle that I got with a Curtis Lady Bug solo canoe that I bought this spring. It's too short for me to use in the Lady Bug because the seat's too high, but I found out today that it works pretty well in my Sawyer Loon, which currently has the seat set 6" off the floor and would also probably work well in my Sawyer Starlight, which has a seat only about 4" off the floor.
The Marathon is the bent shaft version of the older Grey Owl Freestyle straight shaft. It has two veneer layers over a very thin solid wood layer and a thin resin rim around the tip for protection. There is NOT any fiberglass on the faces of the blade. The blade is 22" x 8 3/8". It is very pretty to look at.
The GO Marathon is at least twice the weight of my ZRE Medium, which is 10oz, but the swing weight is pretty light for a wood paddle and actually feels pretty good paddling the Sawyer Loon around when either poking around trees standing in the water in the lake fingers, or powering down the center of the lake with the rudder down.
The thin blade allows for very quiet and low resistance in-water recovery, but shouldn't be used in shallow water - especially if there are rocks.
The only quality issue that I found with the Marathon, as well as the Freestyle, is rough areas on the shaft just below the grip from when the paddles were hanging after being dipped in the varnish. I'll sand it smooth if it bothers me enough. It's more of an issue on the straight shaft Freestyle when doing the Indian stroke with palm rolls than it is with the bent shaft Marathon.
I like the feel of the paddle in the water and plan to use it often when in a boat that has a low enough seat and when in water that's deep enough. I often paddle along shallow lake shorelines and don't want to abuse the relatively delicate, thin bladed Marathon.
Grey Owl doesn't make these paddles anymore.
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