Canoe Paddle - Santa came

OK, Santa came and I am in the market for a nice canoe paddle. I’m in S. Texas so most of my paddling is on the Guad so I do hit a few rocks. Thant being said a couple of caveats:

  1. I want a paddle that I can keep for 20 years so I don’t mind spending a little (I’m not going over $200)

  2. I know that this can be done cheeper but, understand this is one of those “wants” not “needs”

    Ok, that being said I currently paddle a MRC 14TT solo often. It’s for sale and I’ll be replacing it with, most likely, a Wenonah Prospector RX 16. Mostly class 1-II but the occasional class III. I’m set on a straight shaft probably 58-60. I’m 200 and 6’.

    Here are my current considerations:

    Sawyer Stingray - $179 Cool looking

    Grey Owl C1 - $112

    Mitchell Open Boat WW - $123

    Bending Branches Expedition Plus - $105

    Werner Nantahala - $150

    Bell Canoe WW Stick - $240 (whoops)

    I’d like advice on if these are good choices? I have looked at the product reviews. Thanks for your help. Happy New Year and God Bless!

One thought, if you are going to spend
240.00 spend an extra 9 bucks and go with a Cricket Honey Island. It’s one of the finest and with care it will last a lifetime. or any of there improved paddles now with Dynel edges. Other than that, for the money it’s hard to beat any Bending Branches paddle, I’ve gotten them on sale for as little as 25 bucks and even had one given to me. They are good.

I wouldn’t limit myself to one paddle. I started making my own and I’m now on my nineth one. I won’t be buying another paddle any time soon.

Werners are tough and a good value.
We like a round shaft, so we have the ‘Rec’ paddle. It’s the cheaper version of the Nantahala. Works well. We paddle similar stuff to what you plan on paddling.

Consider ZRE, some of the best light weight paddles out there.

Just wanted to mention that REI has its winter sale going on now, and I noticed they have some Werner kayak paddles on sale, so they might have canoe paddles on sale too. It’s worth a look.

And note that for $15 extra, ZRE will
make your paddle at any specified angle.

They have a nice new true whitewater slalom paddle, but if I am risking money, I would stick with Mitchell for slalom style paddles. What was good enough for Jon Lugbill and Davey Hearn is good enough for me.

Just a note on hollow shafts made with carbon fiber cloth, or carbon/Kevlar mixtures. If these are damaged locally, they are subject to catastrophic breakage. Wood shafts sometimes fail unexpectedly, but such failures, with wood, are due to hidden flaws. If a wood shaft paddle lasts a hard season, it is going to last a lot longer. A hollow carbon shaft may last a lifetime, but just one bit of hidden damage (such as from leaning hard with the shaft over the edge of a concrete dock while getting in the boat) can lead to sudden failure.

My hollow shaft paddles (Mitchell and Clinch River) have almost 20 inches of shrink-down tubing over the lower part of the shaft to avoid cumulative friction damage to the carbon laminate.

Werner -
I have paddled the Nantahala and the Bandit from Werner. Both are very durable and light. I prefer the Bandit, but both are an excellent value. I use the Bandit in ww with a Waterstick as my backup. For class I, I like the feel of wood and paddle Bending Branches.


You should take a look at the ZRE rec paddle - . It is a lighter paddle than most others out there and it can handle a beating. Whenever I am paddling through the shallower, rocky areas in my local creek, I always use my ZRE rec paddle.