Breaking paddles


How important is it for me to carry a spare paddle? If I should, can you recomend a cheap option. I’ve paddled for years and I’ve never thought about such a fact, but in my old age, I’ve become more …responsible. What do you think.



Carrying a spare paddle for safety reasons sounds wise.

But IMO the real advantage of a spare paddle, is that it allows you to change gear(cadence) while underway.

On longer trips I bring both my normal(euro) paddle and my greenland paddle. The two paddles have vastly different characteristics which is useful for various conditions.

As an example - earlier this year I did a 45mi circumnavigation of an Island. During the day I switched paddles(gear) 4 times.

A greenland paddle is also a rather cheap paddle.


What I think
There is a first for everything.

I have never broken a paddle, but I very rarely go out without a spare.

On wilderness paddling, I consider it an essential item.



Depends on circumstances!
You have no profile … it would help us all to give you a more informed answer!

You should always prepare for the worst case senerio if you want to be a survivor and not a statistic. A spare paddle is good insurance when paddling solo. Bob

What will work for you if…?

– Last Updated: Nov-02-04 9:32 AM EST –

Good way to look at these things is to separate the situation from the possible solutions. Then ask yourself, OK what works best for me to handle it.

For example, never go out in surf, or rivers so no dumping waves or downed trees to snag a paddle. Only way to break a paddle is having sat on it repeatedly to get in and out of kayak or incorrectly used to to self rescue. Don't paddle far from shore, and only in moderate condtions, perhaps duct tape in cockpit will get you back.

Otherwise- how will you get back? Paddle one half of it, like a canoe, OK is your kayak with rudder or skeg doable to handle X number of miles that way, cool, maybe do not take a spare.

Out in bigger conditions, far from home, etc, go in groups of 3 one person at least has a spare.

Practice good paddle hygiene, the super light weight paddles never sat on, easy does it type self and assisted rescue, only get carbon paddle with reinforced ferrules.

Just really should have a spare paddle, OK, how about a break down type, that comes in three parts, and can be put together without tools?

There is always a way if you are responsible to yourself, your loved ones, and respect the power of water to eventually put you in over your head. When it works for you, you are more likely to use it.

Recently, a member of our group who scoffed at the spare paddles had his yank from him by a hidden sewer grating that had somehow lodged in a tree branch along the river edge we went by, Boing, no paddle! Of course he did not refuse the spare one we had. Hmmm!

Nobody plans to
break a paddle. But I did during a canoe race on the Lumber river. Since the water was high, we decided to take a short cut (which wound up adding an hour to our time) Using my carbon graphite Zaveral to pole us through the swamp was in hindsight a stupid proposition. I wound up breaking the blade at the throat. Good thing we each had a spare paddle. Even when we go out for a training run or just recreationally, we always have at least one spare. The only exception is when I go out Kayaking, I usually don’t take a spare. If I were going tripping in a kayak, I’d take one.


– Last Updated: Nov-02-04 10:27 AM EST –

Ask yourself "What would the consequences be if I broke a paddle?"

For a solo canoeist, it might be a long, miserable slog back home. For a kayaker, it might compromise your ability to brace and make any headway.

My philosophy is: I always carry a spare. I broke a paddle once, and was thankful I had a spare. If you are in a group, at least one spare per 3 or 4 boats should be sufficient.


PS: An element of presonal responsibility factors into this. You should have sufficient backup (gear-wise) to handle forseeable emergencies. Is paddle breakage forseeable? Face facts: You WILL break or lose a paddle at some point in your boating life.

how important
you could lose one just as likely as break one,instead consider what you’d do if you found yourself without one?

The Seaclude/Sequel paddles are a value.

I’ve been with two “experienced” paddlers who lost their paddles in a first time rescue situation while they were assisting another person back intheir kayak. I lost my $250carbon Whetsone paddle during a class I was teaching in bumpy water while holding a students kayak at the bow and talking them through a technique,after a couple minutes I noticed the paddle I tucked under the bungie was gone. That was embarassing.

how important
it is comes down to where you are i suppose or how much assistance can you lend someone else?

if you are along shore in mild conditions and have access to another mode of transportation/safety…probably not that important to you personally. for that matter, how likely are you to break it along shore in mild conditions where you have access to other transportation/safety?

more risks lead to more risks…

i’ve broken a bunch…almost always have a spare or my mates have a spare…

sometimes you may just lose one in surf…even if it ain’t busted…how’re you going to go get it unless you have another means of propulsion?

for that matter if it’s rough enough to bust the paddle you use every day and enjoy, do you want to now have to resort to el cheapo backup paddle in the same conditions that just busted your primary paddle?

all personal questions…think about what you do and where you go and take what risks you will, but you should aware of them.

I always …
I always carry a spare paddle whether I’m going out for 30 minutes, or for a week. I have never lost a paddle, have never broken a paddle, but the time I do lose one, or break one, and don’t have a spare will, I’m sure, be a giant pain in the butt! I’m not into unnecessary hassles.

Ask yourself this question, “Where will I be when I lose, or break my paddle, and what will I do if I don’t have a spare”? I always figured that anyone I paddle with who does “not” carry a spare paddle, would “not” ask me to use my spare, they’d just “endeavour to perservere”!

Have seen some drunk “pilgrims” paddling with boards and “newly formed blisters”, after they broke their canoe paddle blades slapping them on the water. They were drunk enough to state, “We still have 5 more miles to go; what are we gonna do”? Response, “Suffer”!


While paddling a nice swampy river going tandem my paddle broke. Of course we were in my friends canoe and he didn’t have a spare. I ended up grabbling a beaver chewed stick about 8’ long and used it like a kayak paddle. Keep that in mind if you ever get stuck without a spare. You can get enough speed and track very well using something like that.

I always carry a spare as well as my setting pole. Triple protection.


I Broke a Paddle
I broke a carbon fiber this summer on a day paddling trip on Lake Champlain. This was essentially a new paddle, used less that a half dozen times. I was using the paddle to re-enter my boat after a lunch stop when I heard a very loud CRACK. The shaft had broken from the blade back about 8" in a straight line. It was the first day I had ever carried a spare. I might have been able to get by with lots of duct tape, but didn’t need to in this case. Now I always carry a spare on longer trips and make sure that at least one person is carrying a spare during shorter group paddles. Two boats = at least 3 paddles. I would look for a name brand backup paddle for emergency use, or carve a GP from a 2x4. It doesn’t have to be the lightest if it is only used for backup purposes, just strong and functional to get you home. I have found good used fiberglass paddles for $70-100.


Do you think I('d ever lend you a spare?
You bet. I had a friend lose a paddle in a 35 knot gust. Spares are good unless you are on a pond.

No matter what If I had to called the CG twice I will end my padddling career. Carrying a spare isinsurance that I will be able to keep paddling

Carry a spare
My wife and I took a 2 hr ride to NY and we were going to launch at a marina and while we were putitng her kayak by the shore a truck hauling a bass boat drove through the space next to us and ran over my paddle. We asked around and no one seemed to know of any kayaks shops open so we packed up and drove home. We now carry a spare and we also make sure not to leave anything around that could get run over. I guess it was my bad but still if we had a spare we could have paddled that day.

OK we get the point
NEVER go out without a spare.

I’m just getting started in Kayaking & paid almost as much for my paddle as I did for my boat. I don’t want to spend that much for a paddle I hope I’ll never use. How about a few more suggestions on lower priced spares. Only a few of you responded with a cheap option & where to get one. What should you look for in a spare. One of you mentioned a 3 part paddle. I’ve never seen one of those, are they $$$$.

Cheap paddles
should be easy to find in St. Louis. Try Bass Pro or Galyans. Old Towns standard paddle is about $30.00 when I got one.

low cost 4pc.

Single Bladed Spare
I have switched to traditional kayaking and use a number of Greenland and Alaskan paddles. A good spare is a single blade paddle. Mark Molina has written several articles and a recent one on single bladed paddles appears in last issue of Paddler Magazine. Single bladed paddles store easily on the forward deck, allow you to navigate in tight confines and utilizing a “J” stroke are good for paddling point A to B.

Enjoy the H2O!

Pacific Designs
Look at the Pacific Designs $115 paddle on eBay. I own one, and it is a very basci but very lightweight three piece (rather than two), excellent extra paddle that easily can be placed in your bulk storage area. I think it is also, but you might need to google. They are on eBay with links too.