Does anyone here use a Bending Branches Navigator, or Navigator Plus paddle? I’m getting a Pack boat soon, and they recommend using a kayak style paddle.
It looks like it is a nice low weight paddle, and with the wood blades, still has a somewhat traditional look.
Yes, I did pick it out because of its looks, but it looks like it is a pretty lightweight option.
Use the search on here there are a few reviews and post from people
Can’t give you an exact report, and don’t know if this would be much help, but I have a wood two-piece Bending Branches kayak paddle I bought used a while back. It is labeled for Walden (a company that made kayaks from recycled plastic for a while but is out of business) and was made for them by BB maybe 12 years ago. It’s an earlier version for BB and the blade is a bit more slender and longer than the Navigator: 22" x 5.75" versus 20" x 6.2" so roughly the same blade area. It’s 3 ounces heavier. At 230 cm it works well with my solo canoe, a Curtis Lady Bug with 26" beam. I tried some of my other paddles with the canoe (Werner and Aquabound) and didn’t care for the wider and shorter blades. Pics below show the BB beside my cedar Greenland paddle for comparison and in another pic with the canoe.
I admit I am drawn to wooden paddles by the look (I still use wooden XC skis) but they are also light and buoyant and I just like the way they feel in the water. I’ve replaced the broader Foxworks canoe paddle you see inside the hull in the second photo with a long slender tapered blade Redtail paddle that I like better for single blading.
My personal preference is obviously for skinny blades, so take that into account. YMMV.
Yes, I use one. It is a nice lightweight paddle. The buoyancy of the blades make it feel really light in use. The blade shape is really nice for maneuvering strokes, sculling strokes, and combining strokes without removing the blade from the water. I don’t notice any inherent tendencies of the blade trying to turn one way or the other as it slices through the water, so it makes precise blade angle control feel very natural. This is a nice quality when rolling my kayaks too.
The shaft has a nice feel that remains grippy when wet.
I think it’s a great paddle.
I have a 220 cm BB Navigator. It’s light and a great choice. The ferule now makes a clicking noise which does bother me, but my various body joints are starting to make noise also.