Ready for a new paddle…
The Bending Branches Navigator is pretty much where I am at. Unfortunately, none of the local stores stock any, so it is hard to make a final decision without handling/paddling one.
I have read reviews on here, at AKC, and a few other sites. All looks good.
Anybody here have or use one? Beautiful paddle, seems to get great reviews for function & form.
I paddle all freshwater, but no whitewater. Mix of Great Lakes, inland lakes and rivers. Boat is a Perception Carolina 14 with rudder.
5’10" Tall, around 200 lbs, Taurus (hehe)
Only downside I see is that it is almost too nice/good looking… With all the talk of theft lately I am nervous that it will be a target for thieves. I figured I can get a paddle bag and carry the paddle with me whenever I am not on the water.
I have and use one. I have several really nice paddles, and was actually surprised at how comfortable, natural, and light the Navigator feels. The buoyancy of the blades give it a very light swing weight. It’s quite neutral slicing through the water for maneuvering strokes. To me, the transitions between linked strokes just feel smooth and natural. The shaft is just oval enough to be able to orient the blades by the feel of the shaft without looking - such as when doing a re-enter and roll, or if things get disoriented in a regular roll situation. It’s got a good bite for a solid forward stroke, and good acceleration catching waves or powering back out through the waves. It’s not an over-sized blade, but with good technique, it plants pretty solidly.
I just find it to be a top-notch paddle. The buoyancy and shape of those wood blades somehow hit a sweet-spot for me.
Awesome. That is similar to what the rep at local paddle shop said, but they do not get enough demand for them to stock.
Thanks Mr. Cady…
If you’re going for the beauty of wood, the Navigator might be at the top of the list, but I think they have changed wood species and might not be quite as appealing as they used to be. The price of the Navigator, puts it right up against some paddles that I consider to be better if wood isn’t a requisite. At the top of this list would be the Werner fiberglass models.
If you’re looking for performance for the buck, the all glass Carlisle Expedition is it.
It’s been a while since I paddled with, or even had my hands on a Navigator, but if I remember correctly, the shaft is not as rigid as I prefer.
The best wood-based paddle that I ever used was a Salt Wood, but it had carbon blades.
Take it apart put it in the cockpit , put cover on cockpit…ok for dinner but don’t leave it and boat at a remote site alone over night.