Advice on spare paddle issue (?)

I expect to finally start using my “sea” kayak this year (Necky Looksha Sport), and I can’t get much of an idea about the standard-of-practice for spare paddles.

Back in my early decked c-1 days, I carried a spare paddle, but later, slimmer boats did not accomodate one, and I never missed it. Not being a steep creeker, I never carried a spare kayak paddle inside a boat, and never needed one. As an open boater, I carry a spare, mainly because I can do so conveniently. And, canoe paddles are more likely to break under the heavy loads of open boating.

So, if I am mostly paddling lakes like Jocassee or Calderwood, and if I don’t get into open water crossings on the ocean, is there a need to have a spare paddle?

If it’s not too much of a hassle…
carrying a spare is pretty easy if you already have on. I like a spare on my sea kayak in case I capsize, lose my paddle, and for some reason can’t hand roll up but that’s usually on bigger water. If i’m going for a quick exercise paddle on a small lake, I really don’t think it’s critical. I do tend to carry a set of hand paddles in my whitewater boats in case I break a blade (unless I’m doing park and play). I have broken a paddle on whitewater and it was fine since I was near the take out but it would have sucked if it was earlier in the run and I had to hike out.

use what you’ve got
Why not bring along your shortest c-1 paddle? If it’s short enough to get a fairly vertical stroke it’ll work fairly well, especially if you have a rudder. A single blade is also good for sneaking up on wildlife, for avoiding overhanging vegetation, and for rolling.

Thanks, it sounds like it is something
I can attend to if I get into more challenging stuff. I did break a Norse side-surfing, back in the days when I did carry a spare on the c-1. Until I get out and check how my kayak roll works in a touring boat, and go through the re-entry drills, it is hard for me to estimate the probability of losing a paddle.

As a c-1 paddler, I can manage my (relatively long) ww kayaks paddling with just one blade, but as you say, one would not want to go much distance that way. I found a carbon kayak blade and sleeve by “Deep Throat” in Little River Canyon, and may slip in a light shaft and t-grip to try to make a spare kayak paddle.

peace of mind
2 years ago my wife and I were on Lake Erie, on a bit of a rough day. For no apparent reason, one of her paddle blades just broke off. Didn’t hit a rock, giant squid, dead body, nothing… It just broke off and sank to the bottom of Lake Erie. A hidden mfr’s defect - she paddled back in on the remaining blade.

Since then, I’ve always found space to carry a spare.

You never know
Stuck my paddle under a forward deck bungee to put gloves on. A small wave knocked the paddle off my deck bag and swung it out at right angles to my boat, still jammed in the bow bungee. NO WAY could I get my hand closer than a couple inches to that paddle no matter what I did. My buddy towed me off the rocks, I bought the beer…

That’s a good example of where I
would want a spare.

somewhat arbitrary
I pack one when I’m on a long day trip or longer. If I’m poking around on an inland lake for 2-3 hours or less I leave it behind, but otherwise I bring it. I have a two piece 205 cm paddle that packs pretty small…

no need for a spare paddle
unless you need one

have and will carry
my instructor carried his spare (a 4 piece lendal) in his stern compartment…was not certain if he should or not (correctness by BCU) but he did for a time…

with a Lendal you can replace any part of your paddle…including add on a t-handle to it as well to go c1 style…

I carry a spare, and tho
I have never needed it myself, I have loaned it to someone else who broke their paddle several times. Makes one a popular person on those group trips.


You animal!
Broke a Norse, huh? Remind me not to mug you in a dark campground…

Peace of mind. That is why I carry a spare.


Used to carry spare - now carry options
Like to switch it up as conditions/mood/use change.

Options are good, and something brought along for variety/flexibility can also provide some insurance.

How to carry spares
I always carry spares on multiday trips, and try to be sure that at least one other paddler has a spare on a day trip with a few paddlers. My question to the group is how different folks carry their spares? I paddle NDK boats and have always been a bit nervous about simply sticking the splits under the provided bungies. Haven’t lost one yet, but know folks who have, and I have certainly torn up the bungies holding the spare after a day of paddling in, uh, conditions.

Does anyone have a bombproof way of securing the splits while paddling that they feel good about? And how do you place them on the boat? I always carried them behind, but have had some towline hangup issues with that method.


a lot of people
use “paddle holders”–two cut lengths of plastic piping affixed up front. The handles go into the tubes, the blades under the deck bungees.

$5 canoe paddle
I picked up at an Army/Navy store. I’ll put it in the bow between my legs on inland lake paddling, or bungeed to the stern, just in case in some freak accident I lost my double-blade. I figure it would get me to shore. Never had to actually use it.

The Spare
I always carry a spare set of split paddle on trips and my spare is not a cheap paddle. Just in case you have to a paddle a fair distance and we know paddling with a cheap paddle is (insert swear word)

I mount my spare split paddles so the blades lay flat on the rear hatch and I use the straps that hold the hatch cover down to assist in securing the paddles and the bungis at the back just to help.

never lost a set to date (touch wood)

under the bungees
I have seen the paddle holders as mentioned. But most people I see just slip them under bungees (usually back deck). Preferably within reach from your cockpit, so you can easily get at them if needed.

Here’s a picture of my boat that shows the paddles behind me.

I am in a Looksha IV, which is a little longer than a Looksha Sport (as the original posted asked about). Everything should attach similarly in the Looksha Sport.

The guy you see behind me also has a paddle held similarly.

Works in surf…
Might have to modify/create something to hold these up front on your particular boat. The ‘brit boats’ typically already have the requisite bungies in place:

Securing the blade end:

Not the best photo showing splits installed. Might have to hit ‘full size’ to see better. Paddling partner had to install line (held in place with knots in deckline) beteen deck lines up front to attach his in above photo (might have to enlarge again).

Here’s a good discussion with some better pics from Second Wind Sports:

Seems much easier to grab a split when it’s in front of you than behind you when you need it quick. Practice ‘losing your paddle’, capsizing, grabbing a split and rolling back up with it–it’s alot easier than you might think.

Mesh bag
Many of us have, from purchased gear, mesh bags. I have one that is at least the length and wide enough to fit my blades. I slip them into the bag, pull the drawstring taut, and place it under the bungies. Depending on the type of water I’ll be paddling, I may secure the shaft pieces by further adding one of the ball type bungies.

I took a spill in October on the Manistee River where due to the deadfall my boat bounced off from, minus me, the extra came out of the bungies, but due to the fact they were in the mesh bag, they were easily retrieved as they floated by. If they had not been together, I may only have had one half of a paddle left. Next time, I may also use a short hook type bungie and not only put it around the paddle but connect it into the mesh.

This works for me.