Couldn’t get a response on the “Paddles” thread, so I’m trying here. Does anyone have any experience w/Harmony canoe paddles? Are they decent? (Wondering where they fall on the Carlisle-Bending Branches-WhiskeyJack scale). I’m looking at the Whisper – an ottertail – which I can get cheap. It’s for quiet water touring, nothing pulse-pounding. Anyone?
I googled the subject with regard to
your earlier post, and got absolutely nothing useful. My suggestion is that if the paddle is inexpensive, go ahead and try it.
kinda heavy but thats the $$$ tradeoff.
Don’t know the paddle
But, almost everything I have owned that has been sold/distributed with the Harmony name has been a p.o.s. I myself would not buy anything branded Harmony. The paddles may be an exception.
I have a couple,
certainly what i have is old and probably heavier than newer paddles. I liked them as they were tough, didn’t flutter and the feel of their T grip. I had one break on the shaft (probably fibreglass) after much use. Good paddles.
Ah’ gots an old fibberglass
Harmony WW "T" grip canoo paddle. Almost like their current Decent model but in 'glass. Busted half de blade off from de shaft after hitting a strainer years ago. Fibberglassed it back on an' almost as good as new. Heavy sucker, though.
took alook at the harmony web site …
… looks like they have one Ottertail , it’s 26 oz. which isn’t terrible but not light either .
They have two others that are 19 oz. , the Shadow and the Vapor . They look to be pretty nice .
You’re right about their inconsistency.
I think they did better in the earlier years when they were just paired with Perception. I recently got some 48" Harmony canoe float bags at a bargain price from Sierra Trading Post, and as I install them, I’m wondering, why was Harmony piping them to a discounter? It’s like an REI sale item, you wonder why it’s on sale.
I think for the style of paddle design,
super low weight is not important. The one in question is an easy cruising stick for “Canadian” style paddling.
I have a Vapor
I have a Harmony Vapor. It’s not bad, has decent balance, enters the water great, no flutter on loaded strokes, comes out of the water clean, can be paddled very fast. But I occasionally do a very fast inwater recovery and then the blade sings. I think it’s because only one side of the blade is laminated with carbon. My GO Freestyle, my Unadilla Freeply, my Zav, my Blackwood, the Sawyer Freestyle, don’t sing. But they all cost more than the Vapor except the GO Freestyle, which I’ve paddled a few bombers of as well. As such, I can’t really use the paddle for freestyle. But it works great for anything where you don’t use real fast inwater recoveries.
I just used a Harmony for the first time
while paddling in Florida. I used it in Tampa Bay and Parallel to the beach off Honeymoon Island in the Gulf. It was a 230 and I found it to be too flexible in the blades. It was a carbon fiber shaft, one piece, with a right hand feather. I normally use a two piece adjustable carbon fiber aquabound touring paddle. The Harmony came with the borrowed boat, so I gave it a try, but wasn’t crazy about it.
Yes, I have a few Harmony Whispers
For the money, they are very hard to beat.
I suppose that I would put them in the same category as Carlisle. Not top of the line, but not junk either.
Quality product, good price, Ottertail design. I'm happy
I always think of something…
a few minutes after I make my post.
If you have never used an ottertail, you are in for a pleasant surprise. They give far better speed than you would think at first. Maneuverability is fantastic. You will wonder why you waited so long to get one.
As for the weight issue. Give me a break. Skill, technique, and good judgment will do far more good than shaving a few ounces off a paddle's weight. I refuse to get caught up in the hardware arms race.
lighter is better
think of every move you make with your paddle. extra weight IS extra effort. period.
buy as light a paddle as you can afford. just remember the more you spend the less you GET!
Granted I get 'em cheap but ALL my paddles are light. Whenever I paddle with folks who have heavier sticks, I loan 'em a light one. Guess what? they LOVE 'em and many times BUY one ASAP.
I've noticed that everyone who says they won't "fall for the notion" that the joy of using a lighter paddle is more than hype are the same ones who "are happy with the paddle they've got", and you never hear statements like this from someone who's used a lightweight paddle to go an appreciable distance.
I remember one trip in particular in early spring, before I'd gotten in shape for the season, when I was forced to use a "rock-bashing paddle" for a large portion of the day due to shallow water. Actually, it was a good-quality paddle, but made for whitewater. Anyway, by the end of the day I was hating every stretch of shallow water, where hefting that blade on the recovery stroke made it clear why people call their toughest paddles "war clubs". The important thing about this story is this: If I hadn't had a lighter paddle right there, ready to use, and if I hadn't had plenty of experience using it, I would have had no way of realizing how the weight of my rock-basher was affecting me on that trip.
It's true that when using underwater recovery most of the time, weight is much less important, but it will still matter some, since even if you don't need to lift the paddle, you must overcome its inertia.
The Whisper I got today is junk!
I bought it off of ebay for $28, including shipping and will be sending it back - it’s that bad.
The blade is concave on one face and convex on the other and the tip is twisted.
The blade is very thick - about 1/4" edges.
The swing weight is heavy.
If the blade wasn’t warped and twisted, I’d at least give it a try for use as a beater paddle, but as it is, I probably won’t even get it wet before sending it back to the seller.