Adventure Racing - Paddle?

I know this one ultimately ends up being a personal decision, but how about suggestions for paddles in Adventure Racing?

Races can range from 6 hours to 10 days depending on the format. Paddling sections can be hours at a time.

I’m thinking the lighter the better, but I also want something adjustable and durable since it’ll probably get knocked around quite a bit.


A few years back I was paddling against of adventure racers. Big young guys, muscles, good looks (hair even!)The adventure racers all were using double blades, IDebbie and I were using zav power surges. We were all in Jenson designed boats, either Minn2s or Jensens 18s . Out of the 4 boats I won, I won over all canoes, and only a few kayaks had better times then me and my partner.

The River was the Chattahoochie and it was a 12 mile race.

The Adventure racers should have won, but they did not have the facility with the blades. They spent a fair amount effort to get the best boats, good paddles etc, but they did not have the seat time in to put it all together.

I second the baldpaddler
Go with a 7 or 8 ounce carbon graphite for deep water and have a back up paddle like a Fox Microlite when you get into the shallows or tight technical turns like a shallow meander (ie. Brown’s Tract in NY). The graphite paddles shouldn’t be used for “pushing off” rocks, the bottom, or anything. They’re pretty fragile, good for pushing water and nothing else.

Onno surf blade…
I generally use my Onno 194 straight shaft surf blade. It is light and durable. I like a non-offset paddle for straight paddling, but this may be one place where an offset or the option to offset might be handy, because the race I do is up a river valley where the wind tends to blow up the river and I am paddling down.

I also take my 17 1/2 ft. fiberglass sea kayak through class III rapids on this race. No one has ever passed me on the river section of the race, even the one year I borrowed a 15 ft. sit-on-top which turned out to be a barge. In part, it’s because I paddle a LOT, in part, it’s because I run that river like 15-20 times a year and know it as well as any racer out there, and better than most.