Not in the water
Of all the paddles at Canoecopia that I tried the BB sunburst felt the best in my hand. Of course it was very light to boot. In the solo canoe pool demo Darren Bush used a sunburst will paddling a Wenonah wilderness.
I have one that I love. I wanted a light paddle that was attractive and still felt good in my hands. I’m leaving on a 30 day, 1000 mile solo trip in June as a scholarship project and needed a new paddle. My old wooden, Dagger needed to be replaced. I loved the BB paddles and had tried the super light composites, but they didn’t feel good in my hands after a long haul. The Sunburst has gone beyond my expectations. I got mine in late Dec and have really enjoyed it on long paddling trips. I have to mention that B&B has provided it for my trip, but regardless, this is the paddle I was looking for and am enjoying.
The blade size on the ST allows me to keep a solid 60 strokes a minute. The shaft fits my relatively small/medium hands well and the wood grip compares to my T grip on my dagger. Nice flex without too much. I look forward to continued use and plan on purchasing another when my son decides to join me in a year or so.
ST is just about perfect
for the price, on open flatwater. It’s a featherweight, but it appear durable. It’s also “pretty” (if that counts). Other paddlers eye it carefully. I have no knowledge about the other.
Bending Branches paddles
I have not yet used the Sunburst ST, but it felt terrific in my hands at Canoecopia. The one oddity to it was that it had an asymmetrical grip, the same as on their bent. I'd really prefer a straight shaft paddle to have one that is symmetrical. On the other hand, they do offer the Sunburst in two distinctly different blade sizes, regular and XL; a nice option. As to the Espresso ST, I have it in its original iteration, the Black Widow Plus. It is my default straight, always in my boat on any river. It is light, tough and with a very tight flex that I find comfortable on long days in active water. Black Willow turns out to be an excellent choice for paddle wood. I steel-wooled the finish off the grip and hand-hold on the shaft; after 3 years (and lots of trips) it has a natural smoothness that you just can't ever get from varnish. I've recommended this stick to many people and never heard anything back but rave reviews.
I have one
I picked up an Expeesso last fall used from a rental dealer and was able to pick the lightest/prettiest one. I really like it for touring with convential strokes.It’s good for freestyle,but could be wider for that.I think mine is even lighter then the specs.people who use it always comment on it’s lightness.For in water knifing stuff,I wish it’s plade was thinner,but that would probibly weaken it too much.
I havent tried them, but everytime I pickup a BendingBranches it seems cheap and not well made. I was actually shocked at the finish on some of the wooden kayak paddles…very poor.
Have a look at Fox Worx paddles…super light and VEY high craftmanship. The trul feel nice in the hand and yet are very functional. If you appreciate nice stuff, you’ll enjoy a Fox paddle (usually the same price as a BB too).
I have an Espresso. It is a nice paddle. I have not handled the other one, but I believe it is several ounces heavier.
The espresso is quite nice and smooth in the water, but the Sawyer Voyager may be nicer. It is better made, nicer looking (if you care), and the blade has a bit more bite. I also like the thicker grip on it as it reduces hand fatigue a bit. Check it out. It costs a little more, but not enough to put it in another league.
I Have an Expresso
It’s o.k., not all that light IMHO, but it IS pretty. The three I use more often are a Whiskey Jack Whiskey Chaser, a Zav Recreational, and a BB Viper. The best “Feeling” paddle I’ve ever picked up was that Bell Voodoo, but I just can’t make myself pay that much for a paddle!
BTW, most of the paddles I buy are top of the line paddles, BUT I look for bargains; I look for paddles with cosmetic “Blemishes.” I just look for bargains on E-bay and the internet and occasionally I get lucky. WW