Are carbon paddles fragile?

I got a Swift two piece Mid-Swift carbon fiber. Couldn’t stand it any more and took the kayak down to the little town lake to try it out. I went under a overhanging tree limb, not using my brain, paddle hit the limb, broke the paddle half in two right at the button that takes it apart.

how much of a hit?
Paddle should be fine under normal use, which would include a certain amount of stress (pushing off of stuff and the like). But wouldn’t handle a lot of stress, like trying to use it to pry up a rock.

Completely . . .
. . . my fault but I was surprised how little it took. One blade was in the water, the blade that was up took the hit.

Not exactly

– Last Updated: Nov-29-08 9:30 AM EST –

Try a Werner Kalliste or Ikelos or an AT Exception. They hold up wonderfully, as do Epics and Onnos!

I don’t think they are
My Epic has taken a lot of abuse and still keeps on ticking (paddling)

I put a half inch crack in the end of one blade on my ONNO wing, but that was strictly my fault. I was pushing (sweeps) through mud and I am amazed the whole blade didn’t crack off I was putting so much pressure on it.

It was a easy home fix with some advice from Pat and that blade has had a lot of use.



I dunno…

– Last Updated: Nov-29-08 8:40 AM EST –

Sounds to me like a VERY solid hit. The upper hand should have braced that paddle from the impact. It's the same thing I heard when I was in the bicycle industry, "it just broke...I was just riding along..." I've used carbon paddles for years and the only one's broken (2)were completely my fault, kids stepped on one and I flipped my swamped canoe on top of the spare paddle floating in the river.

I find it hard to believe …
that a hit as you describe would break an otherwise sound paddle. I’ve broken a carbon paddle in that location by sitting on it, but never by clubbing trees.

I suspect that there may have been a weak spot at that location from some other trama - maybe when sitting in the paddle shop or possibly in shiping. I had UPS crush a CF blade of a foam core paddle this year, but that damage was quite obvious.

I would contact Eddyline and tell them exactly what happened on your first use. I’ll bet they fix it for you.


The answer is…YES

…I have a friend who broke not one but tho (2) Werner $450.00 paddles when he turned over on the river.

On the other hand I have a AquaBound Manta Ray that I have beat to death, dug fire pits and clams/mussels with and can put between two trees and do chin ups on.


It was a solid hit . . .
. . . but exactly as described. The kayak was probably moving around 4 mph. The blade musta hit the limb. The paddle broke between my hands leaving me with an end in each hand. The water was 3-4 feet deep so I don’t think the paddle could touch bottom.

It broke right at the button that is used to take it apart and adjust feather. This also lines up with end of the section that fits inside the tube when the two sections go together.

I tried to call Eddyline Friday but they were closed. I will call them Monday a plead stupidity and see if the will make me half a paddle.

It’s the resin…
All depends on the resin used. You get what you pay for. Same holds true for fiberglass. All in the resin.

Weight, strength, flexibility/stiffness.

Bill G.

Mt. Pleasant, SC

I need . . .
. . . a sturdy paddle that can take some abuse. I had planned on using this carbon fiber paddle as my primary paddle for a trip down the Mississippi. I have a fiberglass Werner that I was gonna use as a spare. I was just fixin’ to send it off to Werner to be shortened from 230 to 215 ($50).

More likely that the amount of cloth
used contributes to breakability, not the resin. That’s how it is in composite boats. Vinylester approaches epoxy in performance, while polyester resins aren’t used as much because they don’t perform as well. I believe paddle builders typically use epoxy, and I doubt there is much variation in how those epoxies perform.

pretty tough
I’ve had many carbon paddles over the years, with very good luck. I try to take really good care of them, but things happen. I once hit a bridge rail that a drunk knocked into the river the night before with my brand new Barton wing. It was a gift & cried so much I raised the river level! While it was a direct hit on metal, thanks to a little extra layup, it only dimpled the blade. I never use a paddle to get in or out & know of many that have snapped shafts. I had awesome service from a carbon “Swift” for many years & I’m sure you will be able to repair your paddle. You could get an insert from Eddyline & convert it to a (much stronger) one piece. Good luck.

It may have been previously…
… damaged or stressed. Using it to brace getting in or out of a boat is a no-no with a carbon paddle. Also better to use a spare for rescue practice and keep the carbon for it’s design use, paddling.

I only broke one carbon paddle and learned my lesson.

Angle of the hit
or stress/angle of deflection is the biggie with

any well made paddle. I have a Zav single blade. I used it to pole down the susquahanna one year during a shallow water race. Since we were racing care of placement and delicacy were non-existant. The blade is dinged and alittle rough now, the shaft is fine.

One stime I wedged my paddle in bridge and before I could pull it out it snapped. So it is mostlly in the angle of abuse.

try turbo
I have used my turbo wing for 1,000 miles per year for 5 years and it never broke but it did get half an inch shorter by banging it off rocks. They might be 5% or 10% heavier than others but the weight helps me solidly plant it down into the water before I bring it back. Twice I used it for 90 miler and half way thru that race you cannot afford a busted paddle.

Call Eddyline

– Last Updated: Dec-01-08 11:09 AM EST –

They will replace it. I have been using a full carbon Windswift for the past year. The first one I purchased leaked so Eddyline replaced it, no charge to me. The only paddle I had break was a wooden one.

A carbon paddle shaft should be
inspected regularly for chips or gouges in the carbon cloth matrix. These can be the place where catastrophic failure occurs. On a carbon shaft canoe paddle, most of the damage will occur on the lower half of the shaft. That’s why most of us order paddles with an 18 inch sheath of vinyl tubing on the lower portion of the shaft. It adds weight, but reduces anxiety. Unfortunately, there isn’t a weight- efficient way to sheath a kayak paddle shaft.

For the contemplated Mississippi run, and other long or wilderness expeditions, I recomment against carbon shafts. The weight savings is not as meaningful in a full day of steady paddling, at least not to me. In such circumstances, I use a wooden shaft canoe paddle with a carbon-sheathed wood blade. And for kayak trips where abuse and breakage will be very inconvenient, I use an old Double Torque paddle with an aluminum shaft (plastic covered) and thick, durable carbon blades. They aren’t light, but they don’t break easily.

same here,“I was just riding along…”
“I just hit a little hole and the wheel pretzled!”…and the head tube on the mtb is flared out from a loose headset smashing around for a years worth of hard riding by a 15yr old going off jumps.

oh heck
if you and the kayak are 250lbs going 4mph and that paddle is taking the entire momentum plus the velocity of a swinging paddle you sure did some product testing.

A friend had a fiberglass werner paddle break in his hands going straight into a wave (just as the shaft smacked his head). He was strong with a hard head but even a strong glass paddle can break.

I broke a Current Designs sea kayak paddle blade striking a rock.

Lots of folks have broken wood paddles practicing paddle float rescues.

Time to turn it into a one piece and buy another paddle.