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  Your Favorite Paddle Material?
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-27-12 9:18 AM (EST)
   Category: Paddles 

Let's see, what have we got here... nylon/various plastics, fiberglass, carbon, kevlar, carbon-kevlar, wood.

What do you prefer and why?

And btw, how many ppl here have ever broken a carbon paddle? They're certainly uber-light, but I always worry they could be brittle, too.

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Messages in this Topic


  Foam core carbon
  Posted by: Celia on Sep-27-12 9:32 AM (EST)
It's like dry suits. Once you get used to how light they are, it is worth the money to take a risk with them.
  carbon double blade
  Posted by: kayamedic on Sep-27-12 9:52 AM (EST)
when you have to hold the whole blade up all day, weight matters.

Never broken a carbon blade. But I have been told not to drop heavy stuff on the shaft. Or put it on the bottom layer of something.

Wood canoe paddle. The water does a good bit of bearing the weight. I do not have to hold it up as much and the biomechanics are different. However I love my carbon bent shaft so much I am probably going to get a carbon straight. But high floatation is sometimes not what I want in a cnoe paddle.
  Carbon...and you'll never go back
  Posted by: MCIMES on Sep-27-12 10:20 AM (EST)
Carbon all the way. I went from a relatively light Wenonah Quetico wood paddle at 20oz to a 11oz ZRE whitewater then to a 8.5oz ZRE light and now even the 11oz feels heavy =( you dont feel the weight so much on the stroke but when I switch sides its amazing how much faster and better the light paddles feel. some people say carbon is too stiff but I disagree.

Ive never broken a carbon blade but Ive seen 1 person do it. It was on a river race and he planted it hard on a submerged rock near shore. The blade was fine but the shaft broke where it met the blade. He ended up repairing it so it wasnt too bad. Also it was a 7oz ultra light paddle which is the most brittle/delicate of course.

After going to carbon Ill never go back unless the nano carbon film comes down in price from $10k a square foot =)
  Another vote
  Posted by: mvbrando on Sep-27-12 10:26 AM (EST)
in the carbon column. - single blade, straight shaft please.
  cedar, for now
  Posted by: willowleaf on Sep-27-12 10:32 AM (EST)
For now my favorite is a five-lamination Western Red Cedar Greenland with a tung-oil/varnish finish like a baby's bottom -- light and well balanced and feels so good in my hands I hate to wear gloves. But that may change if Santa Claus brings me the emerald green carbon-fiber Novorca I've been lusting for.
  Posted by: dc9mm on Sep-27-12 11:41 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Sep-27-12 11:44 AM EST --

Greenland paddle hand carved by me, western red cedar. For a euro paddle carbon but since I dont use it much i have a fiberglass one but would prefer carbon.

  carbonb haft, glass blades
  Posted by: Peter-CA on Sep-27-12 11:45 AM (EST)
Most of the paddles I and my girlfriend use are carbon shaft and glass glades. Part of that is we want bright colored blades, as we have found the blades to be the most visible part of a kayaker and we live in an area know for fog. So we trade off slightly heavier paddles for more visibility.
  colors are an option with carbon fiber
  Posted by: willowleaf on Sep-27-12 12:53 PM (EST)
It can be any color -- at least one company makes pure white and one, Novorca, makes any color you want as well as many you could never dream of. Of course they are either Greenland or Aleut style.
  Full carbon, probably with foam core
  Posted by: Yanoer on Sep-27-12 1:17 PM (EST)
blade, since most in my quiver seem to have a foam core.
  I prefer carbon
  Posted by: RedCrossRandy on Sep-27-12 1:35 PM (EST)
, but having said that, I've managed to break both of mine. Once in a race I got a little too agressive pushing off a gravel bar in the suck water and-"crunch" went the paddle right where the blade meets the shaft. Broke my other Zav Outrigger with the dreaded tailgate crusher of my pick up truck. Both were expertly repaired in a week by sending them off to Jim Jenkos of J&J Canoes in NY. I expected a much heftier price tag for the repairs than what he charged.
  Wood or carbon...or both (nm)
  Posted by: openboater on Sep-27-12 3:59 PM (EST)
  Western Red Cedar
  Posted by: radskierman on Sep-27-12 4:50 PM (EST)
In a GP. It just feels right.
  WRC in an Aleut
  Posted by: bartc on Sep-27-12 5:08 PM (EST)
Not only does it feel "right" to my hands, it also is ridiculously light. Racers who use carbon and have picked up my cedar paddle are usually very impressed!

As to other properties of woods, WRC is easy to work, but very strong for its weight. Also exceedingly water and rot resistant, even without finish it seems.

Of course, it's much better with Tung Oil for a finish.
  Western Red Cedar
  Posted by: Kudzu on Sep-27-12 5:16 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Sep-27-12 5:22 PM EST --

from Lumpy Paddles.

Ahhh... perfect.

Oh yeah... why do I like it? The wood feels warm right away. With minimal oiling it doesn't get too slippery. The little bit of flex feels good; let's you know it's not so brittle that it'll snap when stressed. The shape of the GP shoulder in the hand is light years beyond what the Euro offers but that's really not part of your question.

  Posted by: Andy_Szymczak on Sep-27-12 5:28 PM (EST)
  Posted by: CapeFear on Sep-27-12 5:29 PM (EST)
Started with glass shafts, glass blades, and plastic blades, and have gone down the line like many through fiberglass, wood, carbon, foam core carbon, combinations of carbon shaft with wood blades, wood with carbon finished blades.
I use Euro blades, and I favor wood. My favorite is the Black Magic, wood shaft and wood core blades finished with carbon. Fantastic feel and performance. Cricket paddles makes a fine wood paddle called the Arctic Spoon. I'm a fan of the wooden Sea Blade as well.
  ZRE carbon for canoe paddles
  Posted by: Glenn_MacGrady on Sep-27-12 6:27 PM (EST)
However, I recommend their flexible shaft, which many people don't now about, for anyone who is concerned about slightly moderating the repetitive impact on shoulder and elbow joints and getting closer to the feel of a wood shaft.

The flex comes from some linear fiberglass they put inside the shaft. There are arcane arguments about whether shaft flex reduces race propulsion by some fractional amount, but those arguments are both inconclusive and completely irrelevant to me, a non-racer.

I have an expensive Vitudden carbon kayak paddle from the mid-90's that I stopped using because of its relentless rigidity and racing blades. I'm sure there are more flexible shaft carbon double blades available today.
  I like wood
  Posted by: PJC on Sep-27-12 6:33 PM (EST)
but that's for canoeing and not racing. I own two kinds of Grey Owl bent shafts (14 and 12 deg) and a cherry beaver-tail Tripper (my favorite). I also have and like my Sawyer ceder voyageur. Still have my old Grumman originals also, though I don't use them so much anymore.
The greater weight of wood doesn't bother me too much - if I get tired I do more underwater recoveries. Doesn't matter how much they weigh if you don't pick them up.
I like the warmth of wood, and having the ability to shape the grip to better suit my hand, and having a bit of flex. I believe a decent paddle should be "lively." They feel right, balance right, and darnit, they're just pretty.

Those carbon paddles are so darned light I'd be afraid some windy evening I'd pull into camp, lean one up against a tree or leave it lying in the boat on the thwarts and have the thing blow away when I was pitching the tent and not looking. Too pricy for that...
Those carbon paddles are marvels though. I'd probably get one if I raced more. I expect they make more sense for kayak paddles.
  not plastic
  Posted by: radiomix on Sep-27-12 7:13 PM (EST)
Carbon kayak, light wood or carbon canoe.

I really don't think you are much more likely to break a carbon paddle. Maybe under specific conditions, but paddling in water without absolutely crushing something is not one of them.

Ryan L.
  Which is your favorite child?
  Posted by: yknpdlr on Sep-27-12 7:26 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Sep-28-12 9:55 AM EST --

It's kind of like that question. Each has its own characteristics, plusses and minuses depending on the situation. For racing, there is no question that carbon in bent shaft format is a necessity to be competitive today. But for recreational cruising, enjoyable maneuvering, and the sheer pleasure of performing and learning advanced paddle strokes, it is wood for me. A feather edge straight blade ottertail is my preference.

I don't get the whole flexible paddle thing. I paddle marathon canoe races, fully up to 18 hours a day for 6+ straight days in the case of the Y1K, with a stiff carbon blade. Proper technique and training doesn't require the losses from a flexible blade. For recreational paddling my wood paddle is minimally flexible, not because it has to be, but is a characteristic of preferring a thin feather edged blade. Even then i seek out those that have absolute minimal flex.

  If you have never broke a paddle ...
  Posted by: seadart on Sep-27-12 8:58 PM (EST)
you are not having enough fun.
  Posted by: baldpaddler on Sep-27-12 9:25 PM (EST)
I have broken wood paddles and Carbon paddles. Per milage of useage I have had much better service from the carbon.6-7000 miles per incidence on carbon (stupidity both times) Wood under a 1000 miles per incidence.
  Q on carbon weight...
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-27-12 11:14 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Sep-27-12 11:17 PM EST --

Wow, a lot of ppl seem to like carbon, and because of the weight.

However, I'm looking at Werner Shuna paddles at the moment (the one the Werner Fit Guide says I should go with), and in fiberglass, bent-shaft, it's 29.75 oz.

The Shuna Carbon, in bent-shaft? 29.5 oz. Pretty much the same.

So if the weight difference isn't much (is it?), what's the big hoo-ha over carbon? Is it stiffness? Looks? High-techie-ness?

And if it's increased stiffness, could that have a negative impact on my body/put more strain on my joints?

Just playin' a little devil's advocate here.

I'm kinda checking out wood too, I've always liked wooden paddles visually. Maybe if I get a GP as a second paddle.

  Posted by: radiomix on Sep-28-12 8:24 AM (EST)
Of the responses here with carbon are talking about single blades. Zre has perfected the carbon single blade paddle, they make them at weights that make it feel like a tennis racket or ping pong paddle.

As far as double blades, my onno wing supposedly weighs about 22-24oz. I don't know nor have I weighed it, but it is extremely light.The bent shaft you are looking at will add weight.

Ryan L.
  Posted by: jbernard on Sep-28-12 10:14 PM (EST)
you are considering the carbon Shuna then you need to take a serious look at the Cyprus. In my opinion the foam core blades are head and shoulders above non-foam blades. YMMV
  Black willow
  Posted by: rblturtle on Sep-28-12 6:21 AM (EST)
I have carbon and several other wood paddles,but I really like Bending Branches Black willow paddles. They are real lite for a wood paddle,fairly tough,look nice, feel good in the water and are reasonably priced. The Expresso plus straight and Navagator dubble are my facorits.I don't know if anybody else uses this wood.
  My plastic paddles, bought in the early
  Posted by: shirlann on Sep-28-12 7:14 AM (EST)
days are for the grandkids, my son, his wife, and their friends who not too kind to them when paddling.
Early on I had an AT full carbon, but a friend lost it in a strainer, while paddling with me, and wanted to try it out. Last time I lent my carbon to anyone.
I have an AT with a carbon shaft and fiberglass blades and 3 all carbon. I prefer my bent shafts due to the ovality at the grip site. For this person, weight really matters for the comfort it gives over heavier paddles. You can tell the difference, especially when paddling for 5-6 hours at a time. It isn't about being 'snobbish', it's about having a good day.
I've had two carbon blades repaired for me by a friend. I finally learned to use caution when pushing off.
  Wood But.....
  Posted by: gibsonra on Sep-28-12 8:07 AM (EST)
I have three carbon paddles that I love. For racing or extremely long distances where weight becomes and issue I like carbon. For feel in my hands I like wood best. Specifically sassafras. It is springy and soft that is super comfortable. It also stays cool in the sun and warm in the winter.
  Soylent Green
  Posted by: tsunamichuck1 on Sep-28-12 10:24 AM (EST)
  i WAS eating.
  Posted by: radiomix on Sep-28-12 10:54 AM (EST)
Ryan L.
  Hmmmm, Tough Question
  Posted by: wildernesswebb on Sep-28-12 11:30 AM (EST)
First off, I've broken several wooden paddles, but been using carbon ZRE's quite a bit since 2003 and never broke one. And I paddle mostly rivers, 99% of the time paddling very abrasive, rocky waters.

Gosh, I like both equally. I like the weight of carbon, but like the "Feel" of wood, especially when paddling when it's cool outside. And, paddling with a nice wooden beavertail on a quiet morning is "Special."

I recently found a great deal on a Mitchell Leader with carbon blade and wooden shaft, it may be just the ticket for winter paddling. But I'll always have a fondness for a nice, wooden beavertail to mess around with when I'm paddling solo.
  Wooden paddle for me .......
  Posted by: pilotwingz on Sep-28-12 7:21 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Sep-28-12 7:23 PM EST --

..... nothing feels as comfortable and natural in my hands as wood .

I have a paddle that I re-engineered from an old fir paddle , one of those old 60" straight jobs . It got a new Cherry shaft built deep into the blade , an Ipe tip gaurd , some blade thinning , water base powder staining , epoxy and cloth coated with varnish top coats . Used it's old palm grip halves fitted to new shaft . It's now 58" and very light weight , feels great in the hands and paddles great too .

That's just one example of what can be done with an old wood paddle . I like my cheap Carlisle Beavertails also , and all my other wood paddles too , the expensive ones and the cheap ones .

Just for the mentioning , you can take most any ol wood paddle (old , new , cheap ect.) and customize it , tweak it to your liking and shazaam , sweet !!

I'm happy in the 18-21 oz. range straight shaft wooden canoe paddle . They all feel different , but all feel good .

  Carbon/Foam Core
  Posted by: jbernard on Sep-28-12 10:07 PM (EST)
Broke a wood paddle once. Never been able to break my Ikelos despite years of aggressively trying.


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