Submitted: 01-23-2005 by waterdoc
I also have a solid western red cedar GP by Don Beale. The paddle is beautifully hand made out of western red cedar and is absolutely beautiful. It is a very dark red and looks much nicer than I expected.
Don spends a lot of time with his customers getting the measurements for their paddle so it will be right for them. Everything is custom made. I told him what I liked about my old GP and what I didn't and he gave me some advice about what works for him and what doesn't. I learned a lot just from ordering the paddle.
It took three weeks from the time I ordered the stick to when it arrived - and Christmas was during that time.
The paddle has a very clean catch and enters the water in absolute silence. There is a very definite grab when the paddle finally catches. The release was extremely clean too and you can actually feel your boat get a bit of a kick from the lift developed during the release phase of the stroke.
I found the paddle to be very buoyant and it sculls very nicely - you almost can't even feel the paddle slicing through the water.
Because of the lighter weight of this paddle, I found my cadence increased and as a result, my paddling speed increased. Instead of being near the back of the group when we started out, I was at the front and that was without putting out any more perceived effort on my part.
One of the nicest things was that Don didn't want any money until I had tried the paddle. He wants satisfied customers and will re-work it or make another for you if it isn't satisfactory.
Now all I have to do is save some more money and purchase a storm paddle from him.