Best Wood Canoe Paddle?

I think the best wood canoe paddle would be a cherry ottertail that was hand carved by someone with a good eye.

However, I have another thing in mind. What is the best wooden canoe paddle, if someone wanted ZRE-like performance without the look of carbon fiber?

I have a Grey Owl Marathon which they no longer make. I also really like the Whiskeyjack, though I only tried it once. Anyone know of a better one?

I’m willing to consider all wood, or paddles that are almost all wood, with perhaps synthetic edging or 'glass blade coverings or maybe even a bit of carbon reinforcement woven onto the blade.

Best wood canoe paddles
Brad Gillespie of Gillespie Paddles has been handcrafting bent shaft racing canoe paddles for years. I have a balsa ultralite w phenolic wrap that is light, lively,and strong with the warmth and beauty of wood. It’s an excellent paddle.

Puddicombe’s Wildwood paddles
are pretty sweet, but I think he’s retired. I tried a couple last summer and was quite infatuated.

How about
funtional art

Best Wishes


Mitchell Leader?

Best is in the eye of the beholder
Everyone has preferences. I also prefer a wood paddle to the composites. My favorites in order of favoriteness:

  1. Sawyer Cedar Manta double bent
  2. Whiskeyjack Whiskey river single bent
  3. Foxworx Mocrolight single bent

Love my Leader!

Gillespie Paddles
The most difficult part is not getting overwhelmed by all the choices. Best email Brad with what you are seeking to achieve and let him help you.

gillespie, hands-down for me

There were issues… n/m


Gillespie all the way
Brad Gillespie was the first to put a slight curl on the lip of his blades, a feature now promoted by ZRE as the PowerSerge blade. It makes the entry and catch so smooth and splashfree. The Gillespie knobs are shaped to fit the hand, not look like artwork, the result is no blisters after 8 hours of hard paddling.

The Foxworx are light and strong, but they don’t have the feel of the Gillespie in the water. When the rules require wooden paddles and the ZRE’s must stay home; The Gillespie Oak Orchard Marathon goes in the canoe. One of mine is so old the decal said Gillespie Paddles, Bath NY. My only breakage was in the tailgate of a 1979 Chevy wagon. None have ever failed on the water.


whiskey jack

– Last Updated: Apr-16-09 3:11 PM EST –

whiskey river paddle is priced nicely and is beautiful! The weight is light, is the paddle a good choice for typical wilderness paddling? Looks too pretty :0 That Whiskey Jill is also a consideration but even lighter and blade is longer which may not work for the shallow water I paddle.

Dog Paddle
mornstein is too humble.

But its not a bent…since they are straight it suits my style.