Black Bart Paddles

I have been looking at paddles and saving up some money. What do you know about Black Bart paddles? I currently have a Bending Branches straight paddle that weighs about 23 oz and a Werner that is a little heavier. Would love to have a 12 oz paddle. Paddle mostly in the Ozarks right now with kiddos. I want a bent shaft because I am one of those efficiency people who wont stop the car on a trip to go to the bathroom because it hurts my average speed. Having said that I also agonize over any purchase that costs me over pocket change ($1-2 for me). Your feedback please?

Zaveral makes what many think to be the best paddle out there. I have never paddled with a blak bart but carbon paddles make everything else feel like 2 by 4’s. seriously they are great. They are strong and ultra light. The only problem I have ever found is that they get very hot in the sun but then again you are on the water so you can dip them fairly easily. if I had the cash I would have 2 Zaverals instead of the WENOHAH Quetico paddles I own. Piragis Northwoods company sells one for 159 or so and that is fairly cheap.

I bought a factory second from Zaveral,
and it looks fine to my novice eye. Zaveral offers their factory seconds at this website. Their prices seem very reasonable. I’ve not had a chance to use mine yet–I’m afraid I’ll not want to use my wood paddles after I try it.

Zaveral Paddles
If you go to the Zaveral RAcing Equipment website they have a dealer directory that will put you in touch with the local dealer. Try to find a dealer/repair station near you. The repair stations have a better stock of paddles and can alter the length or blade width to suit your requirements.

As with most of us, cash was a bit issue when i bought my first carbon fiber Zaveral and i bought one of their recreational grade paddles. After several years of gravel and stone encounters with the blade it needed some attention. That was when i found out that Zaveral paddles can be repaired and any of the three components replaced. I had the blade replaced with a Powersurge Outrigger blade and the shaft shortened an inch. So i was able to upgrade to the powersurge blade and the bigger outrigger blade without buying a new paddle. it weighs a bit more than the complete outrigger paddle cause it still has the plastic knob and thicker recreational shaft, but i saved about a hundred bucks getting my old paddle repaired.

Our local repair station/dealer is a canoe racer himself and keeps a lot of spare parts on hand so you don’t have to wait for weeks. I have never broken a Zaveral, but going hard in the shallows inevitably dings the blade tip, which can be sanded smooth many times before you need replacement.

The $169 price may seem stiff at first, but some of the fancy wood paddles that aren’t nearly so efficient are more. And heck its less than two trips to the chiropractor.


I bought a factory second Zaveral…
…and don’t know why it was a second-seems Ok to me.

Black Bart
I have two Black Bart paddles and think they are great.

Have Zav paddles
both in bent and straight shafts, and have purchased the factory seconds and have noticed no perceivable difference from first quality. The Black Bart paddles offer some larger blade areas on their paddles, so if you use a slower stroke rate you might find them more appealing. I will be ordering a straight shaft Black Bart"Troublemaker" as I want a larger blade area for that type of paddle. The Zav I have has a very short squat blade which is intended for quick, fast strokes. I have been extremely impressed with Zav’s durability,though. I believe that Black Bart can also fabricate their paddle with a metal reinforcement piece in the blade tip upon request.

I always preferred wood, never tried any of those “Fancy pants” carbon paddles until last year. “Thanks,” Mick! McWood let me try out his Zaveral and made me a “Convert.” Weighs as much as a wiffle-ball bat and paddles SWEET! Bought a “Blem” (although I never figured out where the blemish was) and used it for Ozark rivers without any concern for the paddles toughness. Although I still love the esthetics of a beautiful handmade wooden paddle(looking forward to a new one from Dulthmoose next week), I am glad I finally tried out a Zaveral! I find myself using it most of the time in my canoe and use it as a “Spare” most of the time in the yak. WW

Bigger blades on the outrigger zaverals
Bought my first powersurge paddle in the midweight layup and when it arrived found out that the blade was much smaller than the rec blade. Seems ole Serge Corbin holds sway with the designers at Zaveral cause he wins darn near every race he enters. But the small blade that is so well suited to his fast cadence and the low drag of his racing hulls, is not big enough for the heavy drag of my loaded rec canoe. So next i went to the outrigger model, those are really heavy hulls with similar drag. And it is much better suited to my paddling, not as much slippage in the water, grabs on entry like its stuck in concrete. But two to three hours with this big blade at racing pace is all my shoulders can take, then its back to the smaller rec blade.

The next one will be an outrigger trimmed down maybe 3/4".

The powersurge blade has a slight curl to the tip of the blade, like the wooden Gillespie Bent Shafts have had for over twenty years. It gives a smoother entry and better grab than a flat blade, and is quieter in the water.


For the feedback and the links. Never thought about the paddle getting hot because it is black but sounds right…I guess I need to get one! Now, how to convince my wife…

Mitchell Paddles
Just had a bent shaft custom built at 57" Been dipping a Wenonah, and it has nothing on this Mitchell.

Feel, efficiency, looks, its got it all. At 22 oz. or so, it’s a feather to handle for miles. Great family business to buy from to. Their local to me, so it makes all the more sense. Check them out,


I wish I could afford one of…

just a thought.

I tend toward the aesthetics wood provides, but would not turn down a carbon fiber if it was given to me!

you can’t go wrong
I have both Zav’s and Black Barts both bent and straight.

All are “10"s” really.

The Zavs are lightest.

All of them take full power rock hits over and over and just sort of gradually grind away at the tip…even the Zav ultralight can take repeated beatings easily.

I find that I like the Barts best…they have an even sturdier construction than the Zavs and on really windy days the Zavs can actually feel too light - and the Barts have excellent balance (a little heft in the shaft)…so I just always love them. And at least you feel like you’re holding something *12 oz Bart vs 7 oz Zav).

My favorite paddle is the Troublemaker since you can do anything with it (paddle on one side, switch sides, freestyle).

Zav makes a nice paddle too. Their straight shaft has a lovely teardrop sort of mini-beavertail shape. You can order the heavier lay-up and even order a plastic T-grip (which adds weight) but saves $25. They give me a discount since I managed to acquire quite a few over the years…so you really can’t beat a carbon straight shaft for something like $125 or a bit less for value…and they often have blems for sale at a discount as others have mentioned.

==> no matter which you choose I think you’ll be very happy.