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|Bending Branches in the Buyers' Guide:|
• Performance Canoe Paddles
• Fishing Kayak Paddles
• Recreation Kayak Paddles
• Stand Up Paddles
• Slice Touring
• Rec Straight Canoe Paddle
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• Wood Kayak Paddles
I bought my first Bending Branches Arrow 8 years ago. That paddle has seen easily 2,000 miles of river travel. It has been lightly sanded and refinished once (needs it again after this last trip), but Oh ! what a magnificent expression of a woodworker's art. It sings in my hands.
There is something about a paddle stroke to me, well done, than may be the greatest why of paddling, canoeing, to me. I am a stern guy, don't put me in the bow, and I like to single hand. My strokes are not frenetic, but rather deep and long. I bend forward from my butt, straight arms, slip the blade in silently and then and then a deep paddle bending pull all the way to a Canadian correction well behind the stern, feather the blade on the return, blade tip barely above the surface and repeat. And a good paddle, like the Arrow, allows me a tactile feel of the art of a single stroke like no other plastic, steel, aluminum, graphite, EVER could. I like wood. And these are so well built, so durable, they will astound you, 22 ounces of art.
I own two now, both 60 inches, both just traveled 250 miles in western Montana with me. And I may have looked a bit dorky with two wooden paddles bungeed together for the buses, trains, walking through downtown Chicago on layovers. But I paddle because it feels good, and these are what my fingers and hands like. They sing to me.
Certainly 10 out of 10 for what they are intended for and what they achieve. But I must add another ten for the extreme pleasure they afford me. So my score for the Bending Branches Arrow is about a 20.
I've had mine for over 10 years, paddled on the Rio Grande, the Buffalo, and Texas lakes. One corner of the rock guard finally began delaminating (my fault for not maintaining the finish). Web and customer service offered to repair or give me instructions. Did repair myself and it is now my back-up. Upgraded to a Bending Branches Espresso, love it.
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