Posted by: jimyaker on Dec-13-12 4:47 PM (EST)
I recently switched from a one-piece fiberglass to a one piece carbon fiber (same design, lighter weight) for running Class II-III whitewater.
The CF paddle is lighter and more responsive and probably a little more durable. It is stiff and when you bang a rock or something you definitely feel it in your arms. I notice the difference most when accelerating (including changing direction).
For my rec boats, I have a couple of CF sharf/poly blade combos and I really like those as well. I'm not crazy about most of the aluminum shart paddles I've picked up in stores. Some have a noticeable wobble where the two pieces connect. If you hold a paddle in the center and shake it back and forth, you can feel the stiffness of the shaft and compare paddles to some degree. And you kinda know that plastic will flex more than glass and glass more than CF.
It boils down to what you need your paddle to do and whether or not it makes much difference to get something "better" -- whatever "better" means to you.