Canoe paddle

Need a canoe paddle for mostly slow moving Rivers and Creeks. Everybody has been a Great Help so far,maybe y’all got some good paddles in mind. Thanks

There are no intrinsically good
paddles. There does exist however a paddle that is the better design, size, weight, and material for each paddler given the paddlers ability, type of hull and water and conditions to be paddled. This subject has been discussed ad infinitum in this forum. Do an archive search for all years, you’ll have plenty of reading.

My preferred is a carbon Zaveral (ZRE)
Medium, whether in bent or straight shaft, but I bought all of mine used and had to be very patient.

ZRE (Zaveral)
It is like a feather in your hands, but yet very strong.

They cost big bucks, but are well worth it.

Jack L

You must first make some decisions.

What is your price range? Do you want a straight or bent shaft paddle? Do you have a preferred material, i.e, wood, synthetic, or a combination of both?

If you are paddling relatively shallow rocky or gravel bottom streams your blade edge will likely take some abuse so you might not want the most expensive or lightest paddle, even if these are within your price range. Since canoes generally have plenty of room to carry a spare paddle or paddles, another approach is to take a relatively inexpensive “beater” paddle like a Caviness or Carlisle for those times you need to push off the shallow bottom, and a more expensive paddle for the rest of the time.

Some manufacturers of good quality “entry level” wood canoe paddles are Foxworx, Sawyer, and Bending Branches. When I say entry level I don’t mean inexpensive but a good quality paddle at a not outrageous price. There are many on this forum who have come to appreciate top quality and think nothing of dropping $300 or more on a canoe paddle, but you might not be at that stage yet.

everyhting he said.

I personally like the Wenonah Quetico for a mid-priced decent paddle ($90). It has a nice blade shape, a tip protector, and is decently light (20oz for the 52" model). Also, FoxWorx makes nice paddles that are relatively inexpensive.

However…I am one of the people that only use ZRE carbon paddles because once you use one, its hard to go back to wood. I found mine used in good condition for about half price. Their Power Surge blade is great for me. That said, they are not great for rock smashing. Between my 2 paddles I’m going on 5 repairs, but Im hard on them and they get a lot of use.

Get some decent paddles, because you are going to spend a lot of time with them. They are very personal. Some of the best can be made easily with hand tools in your garage as a winter project. I get my wood working friends to glue up some scrap white ash, black walnut, mahogany or ppine and Dfir.

great satisfaction from using a paddle you have made your self. It’s cheap and they are warm compared to an alum. shaft.


I’m 5’10” and kneel most of the time
My first paddle was a 58” Bending Branches Explorer Plus – straight shaft, pear shaped grip, decent protection on the blade.

At around $100 it’s a decent flatwater paddle, and the pear shaped grip makes it easy to link strokes with palm rolls. I still use it on occasion, and probably should grab it more than I do. My main paddle these days is a 57” Werner Bandit – still a straight shaft, but a T-grip and spooned blade designed for whitewater.

At $165 it’s still a reasonably priced paddle, but its designed for “cab-forward” paddling - forward and cross forward strokes with fewer correction strokes at the rear. That’s the way I paddle, and I now use it pretty much all the time, but the spooned blade isn’t for everyone.

Then of course there are bent shaft paddles. A lot of people like them. I very rarely use them.

So your size and how you paddle with determine the paddle that is right for you. As Pete said, there are lots of options.