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What is "too heavy" for a paddle?

Any opinion, experience, rule, guideline or personal preference is welcome. The goal is to provide some sort of objective information for newbies or even oldies with oldie paddles. However, if you want to argue that any weight is okay, you can make that case too, but that position is not really informative. We should talk separately about canoe and kayak paddles, and as the OP I request the discussion be in ounces.

Comments

  • Too heavy is the one that came with my first boat. Aluminum shaft, thick plastic blades. I think it was great for emergencies on land. I really think you could dig or split firewood with it.
    It lasted one trip . Took it back and started the multi paddle search. Today it's carbon fiber.
    I have no idea what mine weigh.

  • Every paddle is too heavy. Just use your hands.

  • I rarely use canoe paddles over 16 ounces...the majority of my favorites are 10-14 ounces. It's personal preference that's influenced by the fact that I like to drive upstream doing hit and switch from a kneeling position using straight shaft paddles.

    I recently met someone that said he likes a heavier paddle because it's better for exercise.

    I don't mean to go off topic but I do have one 6 oz ultralight Zaveral bent that feels too light on windy days. For me my 12 oz Black Bart Troublemakers are close to an ideal balance of all day lightness while still feeling substantial...I also have a 10-ish oz Zav straight shaft and bought the "medium" lay-up because I didn't want anything lighter even though they offer light and ultralight lay-ups.

  • Between my wife and I we have 5 kayak paddles, from carbon/fiberglass to all carbon fiber to western red cedar.. The heaviest is 30.8 oz and the lightest is 23.5 oz. Somewhere in the middle is my 27 oz Greenland paddle which is fast becoming my favorite.

    I really have no issue up to about 35oz or so and I have certainly paddled with plenty of tour operators' aluminum shafted 37+ oz paddles but I prefer lighter.

  • A canoe paddle that feels too heavy for the user and is too heavy for controlling the specific craft they're paddling...comfortably.

  • I don't worry too much about the weight as long as it is well built and doesn't cost so much that I wouldn't want to use it. Werner's glass paddles are a pretty good example of light weight, strength and cost ratio. However, I still think the Carlisle Expedition is hard to beat for cost, weight and strength.

  • I prefer all carbon for canoe and kayak. 12oz or less for canoe and 24oz or less for kayak.

  • @Glenn MacGrady said:
    and as the OP I request the discussion be in ounces.

    Sorry. I am not from the land of oz, so I will have to pass on that.

  • Depends on your personal strength and budget. For me Werner CF line is my limit.

  • I have carbons and non carbons.. An ounce or two use to really matter.
    Now I don't go far enough or fast enough to matter much nowadays.

  • No, we don't.

  • edited September 5

    Kayak. Too heavy: anything over 22 ounces for my Euro or 26 ounces for my GP. I can forgive the extra weight on the GP because of its buoyancy. Swing weight and shoulders count.

    For Allan's benefit, that's 624 and 737 grams. :)

  • Oh no! They are over a pound!

  • I made a paddle out of an old barbell for the shaft and blades from brick pavers. Not too heavy!

  • I think the brick pavers will chip when you push off of rocks. I've had great luck with manhole covers, you can weld the barbell shafts to them and they just aren't coming off! Plus, with that large a paddle area you get a real push when you put your biceps (!) into it!

  • edited September 10

    Somebody on another paddler forum posted a 26 ounce Werner carbon Kalliste paddle for sale for $320 and somebody else posted the comment that "you can get a carbon paddle from Academy Sports for $99".

    Out of curiosity I looked at the Academy website and they do have a "carbon" paddle by Magellan for $149. It weighs 50 ounces!! 50 ounces is almost a pound heavier than most "barbell" aluminum and plastic tourist rental paddles! Also, half the buyers who reviewed the model reported that the shaft broke early on during use. Such a bargain!

    I pointed out that using a 50 ounce paddle rather than a 26 ounce paddle would mean that you were swinging almost 1.5 extra tons of weight per hour.

    30 strokes per minute x 60 minutes = 1800 strokes x 24 ounces = 43,200 ounces divided by 16 oz/pd = 2,700 pounds.

    Second commenter said "I don't think your physics/mathematics make sense". Numbers don't lie. Engineers, weigh in.

  • @willowleaf said:
    Out of curiosity I looked at the Academy website and they do have a "carbon" paddle by Magellan for $149. It weighs 50 ounces!! 50 ounces is almost a pound heavier than most "barbell" aluminum and plastic tourist rental paddles! Also, half the buyers of the model reported that the shaft broke early on. Such a bargain.

    Carbon takes many forms. Maybe something was lost in translation. :)

  • edited September 10

    Maybe the Magellan paddle is carved out of asphalt.

  • A lot of it depends on where the weight lies, the technique of the paddler, and where you paddle. A heavier swing weight is good in big water and for those that have quit overusing their elbows. Lighter overall is better for newbs that use their forearms for the heavy work.

    When you get good enough you can rely on your personal preference. I use either an Epic mid wing or Fenn 4 for kayaking. I designed and built my own paddles for single blade usage. They weigh 11-12 oz and have heavy swing weight.

  • I always pay extra for light paddles. While a light boat feels more responsive, they are not significantly faster. But a light paddle pays off every time, especially at the end of a long day. That said, too light can be a danger (too fragile)...

  • @willowleaf said:
    Somebody on another paddler forum posted a 26 ounce Werner carbon Kalliste paddle for sale for $320 and somebody else posted the comment that "you can get a carbon paddle from Academy Sports for $99".

    Out of curiosity I looked at the Academy website and they do have a "carbon" paddle by Magellan for $149. It weighs 50 ounces!! 50 ounces is almost a pound heavier than most "barbell" aluminum and plastic tourist rental paddles! Also, half the buyers who reviewed the model reported that the shaft broke early on during use. Such a bargain!

    I pointed out that using a 50 ounce paddle rather than a 26 ounce paddle would mean that you were swinging almost 1.5 extra tons of weight per hour.

    30 strokes per minute x 60 minutes = 1800 strokes x 24 ounces = 43,200 ounces divided by 16 oz/pd = 2,700 pounds.

    Second commenter said "I don't think your physics/mathematics make sense". Numbers don't lie. Engineers, weigh in.

    Well if you're going to throw out nerd bait you'll catch me almost every time.

    I think your analysis is fine as a first approximation (especially since you have stated your assumptions) and interestingly enough this site has an example that follows your logic exactly.

    But there are some details...

    You don't really lift the whole paddle each stroke, it seems more like you lift one side. The motion is pretty complex but I think kayak paddles sort of pivot around the center. So maybe you "lift" only half the paddle...so this would reduce your estimate.

    There are dynamic forces involved...since you have to accelerate and decelerate the paddle. Those forces increase with weight and would add to your estimate.

    There's some effect of mass distribution...even intuitively if you add 20 ounces to the center of a kayak paddle shaft it would be easier to use than if you added 10 ounces to the tip of each blade. I suspect that a 50 ounce kayak paddle would have heavy blades and this would add to the overall effort (since the cg of each half of the paddle would move closer to the blade).

    I found a tennis racket swing weight estimator that seems to highlight the four key factors.

    http://twu.tennis-warehouse.com/learning_center/swingweight_calc.php

    And oh my goodness we haven't even touched on wind resistance. (nerd humor).

    On the subjective side I can tell you that if you do sit and switch with a canoe paddle and double the weight of the paddle it takes a sh!tload more work.

    Make sense?

  • Gotta love engineers.

  • I can relate one subjective testimonial: I was paddling solo at a local reservoir and encountered a young couple in rec boats from the on site rental franchise. Apparently it was the female's first outing and she was complaining loudly about how much she hated the activity and how hard it was to paddle and why couldn't they turn around and leave now. I noticed that the paddle she had looked both too long and extremely heavy: one of those $29.99 discount store monstrosities with a metal shaft and black square plastic blades about an inch thick. I had a spare 220 Werner Sultan on my deck and offered to swap with her until we got back to the dock.

    With her first stroke with my paddle her eyes lit up and she took off across the pond like a bat out of hell. I watched her boyfriend try in vain to catch up. By the time our paths crossed again on the way back to the ramp she was gushing about how much fun kayaking was and how she wanted to get her own boat now.

    Before we swapped back I did try the livery paddle that she had handed off to me just from morbid curiosity -- freaking thing must have been 6 pounds and I felt like I was going to dislocate my shoulder after just a couple of strokes. Was like paddling with a barbell.

  • @willowleaf said:
    I can relate one subjective testimonial: I was paddling solo at a local reservoir and encountered a young couple in rec boats from the on site rental franchise. Apparently it was the female's first outing and she was complaining loudly about how much she hated the activity and how hard it was to paddle and why couldn't they turn around and leave now. I noticed that the paddle she had looked both too long and extremely heavy: one of those $29.99 discount store monstrosities with a metal shaft and black square plastic blades about an inch thick. I had a spare 220 Werner Sultan on my deck and offered to swap with her until we got back to the dock.

    With her first stroke with my paddle her eyes lit up and she took off across the pond like a bat out of hell. I watched her boyfriend try in vain to catch up. By the time our paths crossed again on the way back to the ramp she was gushing about how much fun kayaking was and how she wanted to get her own boat now.

    Before we swapped back I did try the livery paddle that she had handed off to me just from morbid curiosity -- freaking thing must have been 6 pounds and I felt like I was going to dislocate my shoulder after just a couple of strokes. Was like paddling with a barbell.

    There you go. About as subjective of an observation as you can get. A non yaker who wasn't enjoying it at all now wants her own Kayak based on nothing but the weight of the paddle and the good deed of one paddler!

    I'm still trying to find that balance in budget / paddle weight to see what I want, although I'm really starting to like my Greenland paddle more and more, depending on what kayak I take out.

  • Yeah, GP's can be addictive. I almost never use a non-GP since getting my first one 10 years ago. I have several Werners and Aquabounds that only hang out on my decks as spares or are loaned to friends. There are a few people I know of who have tried GP's and decided that they prefer conventional paddles, but they seem to be in the minority. I have never tried a wing paddle long enough to get the hang of it so I stay open-minded about those, but any time I use a standard paddle I am greatly relieved to get a GP back in my hands.

  • For me it depends on the conditions. If I see wind and waves I still have a little more confidence in my Werner Cyprus. If it's calmer I'll typically use my GP. But the GP is fairly new to me so things may well change with more experience.

    I really like the cranked shaft of the Werner, but I also like the larger diameter, super smooth WRC loom of the GP.

  • edited September 18

    Weight. Cheaper EURO paddles are up above 34 ounces. Better ones weight in at 29 to maybe down to 24 ounces. Typical wood greenland in the range of 27 to 33 ounces. Best in "MY Opinion" greenland is 22 ounces made by Superior kayaks. My two piece weighs exactly 22 ounces measured on high end scale BUT $$$ all carbon. i use Euro on shallow creeks, a 210 length 28 ounce Aquabound I got for 120, carbon shaft blades fiberglass mixture of some sort , take rock abuse ok , whitewater paddle much heavier and one piece, even all carbon whitewater can be in the 34 ounce range .

  • @kfbrady said:
    For me it depends on the conditions. If I see wind and waves I still have a little more confidence in my Werner Cyprus. If it's calmer I'll typically use my GP. But the GP is fairly new to me so things may well change with more experience.

    I really like the cranked shaft of the Werner, but I also like the larger diameter, super smooth WRC loom of the GP.

    Sounds about where I am on the GP. I went out a couple weeks ago to go camping and decided I would paddle the 7 miles with the GP. Conditions were a bit rough out on the water when I took off in my "new" used boat and I was missing the Euro blade! lol Nothing like some bumpy water to make you want what's more familiar!
    I enjoy the GP but I'm still learning it's ways and haven't made up my mind about how much I'm going to be using it yet.

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