Canoe paddles

Here are a few questions that I came up with that I thought might be interesting to hear what others thought.

What type of paddle is your favorite?

What is your reason for selecting this paddle?

Do you paddle solo or tandem?

Do you paddle lakes or rivers?

What size is your Canoe?


1. I’ve only owned a pair of Galyan’s wood canoe paddles

2. They were a gift along with the canoe

3. I paddle both solo and tandem

4. I paddle both lakes and rivers

5. My canoe is 14.7 feet long

Canoe Paddles
What type of paddle is your favorite? I depends on the water I’m paddling. But if I had to dump at the paddles and only have one I’d keep the Mohawk 54inch by 9 inch wide. If I’m paddling flat water the Mad river 52 inch wood bent shaft feels best and the fiberglass tip protects it from most stuff.

What is your reason for selecting this paddle? The Mohawk is bullet proof, has a great shape for all purposes and needs no upkeep.

Do you paddle solo or tandem?

Both but mostly solo

Do you paddle lakes or rivers? About 1/3 lakes 1/3 rivers and 1/3 coastal

What size is your Canoe?

14 1/2 feet

Nothing fancy

– Last Updated: Apr-18-05 12:00 AM EST –

I generally use a BB Arrow or a Mitchell North Star.

Oh, for the others:

In the canoe (16') I paddle tandem and solo, mostly lakes and slow moving rivers. I like the Arrow and the NS just fine, both offer what I find to be a good power balance. If the fiancee or an inexperienced friend is in the front, I usually toss them a BB Loon, which lets them help make headway without 'disturbing' me. LOL.

Currently I have no bent paddles. I have a Sugar Island paddle which is nice and a Pat Moore whitewater paddle I am just now starting to use. So far it is excellent. A good paddle makes a difference, more than I would have believed before I started paddling.

ZRE paddles
I only use carbon fiber bent shaft paddles. I paddle both solo and tandem canoes. My solo racing canoe is 18 ft. long. Carbon fiber paddles are so light compared to other paddles. My racing paddles weigh a 1/2 pound. Even my heavy beater carbon fiber paddles only weigh a pound which is light compared to the other paddles. This makes a huge difference if you are planning to go out and paddle steadily. The carbon fiber paddles also allow for a clean entry into the water allowing for a more efficient stroke. You can get them for $125+. If you get a paddle like the ZRE Rec, it is still light, but can take a huge beating from hitting rocks. Paddles are definitely one part of canoeing where you want to spend money, they make a big difference.

My favorite paddle is a Mitchel Premium Whitewater.

I mainly paddle New England whitewater aka more rocks than water. This paddle is sturdy, light and well ballanced with a good catch. I like it so much I use it for my flatwater paddling as well.

Generaly I paddle solo, rivers, lakes and ocean in open and decked canoes ranging from 8’ to 16’.

My backup paddles are standard Mohawks. While they don’t have the fine response of the Mitchel, they are sturdy seviceable inexpensive paddles. IMO the best bang for the buck out there.


– Last Updated: Apr-18-05 5:18 AM EST –

My favorite is the Bending Branches bent shaft.
I like it because it fits my hand very well and is nice and light.
I paddle mostly solo but ocassionally I paddle tandem.
Usually paddle lakes.
I paddle 2 canoes a 12' designated solo and a 16' tandem that I usually paddle solo "backward".

Agree with
blackswamppaddler. I have as my favorite paddle a ZRE light wieght paddle. I mostly paddle flat water either in my Merlin Solo or a NYCRA Stock cruiser(Jensen 18 or Minnosota 2) When I go white water I have a kevlar (Maxiglide?) bentshaft I use.

My answers
Paddle - A ZRE ultralight bent shaft (have a bunch of others, but they sit forlornly in the back of the “toy locker”)

-Reason - It is the lightest, has the most comfortable handle, and we have grown to love each other

  • Tandem - my partner is my mistress also, (it doesn’t get any better than that)

    -Lakes, rivers, swamps, estuaries, ponds and ocean on calm days

    -An Old Town Disco, a 17 foot Jensen, and a 18-6" C-2 racing cruiser.

    If you see two old farts cruising down the highway in a Ford F-150 pickup towing a small travel trailer. with two kayaks and a canoe on the fibeglass roof of the pick-up, that is us in the “fun-mobile”, heading out for one of our many adventures.

    Toot your horn and give us a shout. We will stop and paddle with you at one of your secret places our one of ours.



No Paddle

– Last Updated: Apr-18-05 9:14 AM EST –

My favorite form of propulsion is a 14' aluminum pole.

I can go solo or tandem with it.

I primarily run relatively shallow streams, but with my jimmy rigged tap handle as a small blade I can move pretty well in deep water, as well.

When I do use a paddle my favorites are an out of production all carbon 7.5 degree bentshaft from Werner. My other is a Mitchell all wood straight with a glass covered blade.

Paddles …
Have a bunch of them.

All of my paddling is done in solo canoes (have several) on rivers.

Don’t care much for flat water, prefer moving water, and/or whitewater.

On whitewater, I usually have a Werner Point in my hands, and another in my boat as a back up.

On flat/moving water, I use a variety of paddles, but the ones I’m most often using are a Bending Branches Expedition Plus, and a Bending Branches Sun Shadow (bentshaft).Typically using a Mitchell Rio Grande, or a Sawyer Cruiser (both old & well used); if river is a little boney…the last 2 qualify as my “beater” paddles.


I have been using
an AMT edge paddle (thanks Bob) for a year and really like it, light and bombproof. An old Bending Branches bent shaft which is very light and comfortable is great on those long slow pools between riffles. This winter I built a straight shaft version of the Bending Branches bent shaft. It’s my new favorite. All paddling done so far on mild ozark streams in a Mad River Guide.

I have 5 bent shaft carbon paddles from my racing days, made by Black Bart, Barton, ZRE. I use these with a longer solo canoe for excercise, Boundry Waters/Quetico. Also use one of the beater Black Barts on White Water trips when the water isn’t so white and I need to put on miles (I sit and use a foot brace, then kneel in WW). That paddle has done Yoeman duty, increadible. Black Barts were a little heavier, but much, much more durable.

For WW I use an older composite blade that I have no idea who made (was given to me), has a lexan tip insert. Also use two Mohawk straight shaft paddles (alum and plastic) for pushing, shoving, and rock banging. Those Mohawks are cheap and work amazingly well, way better than any other alum-plastic blade I’ve ever used.

WW and Stream Canoeing - 30%; (Mohawk Challenger)

Flat water canoeing 25%; (Sawyer Shockwave, J-200)

Sea Kayaking (Great Lakes) 45%. (NDK Poseidon; CD Extreme HV)

What type of paddle is your favorite? ZRE mid weight, bent.

What is your reason for selecting this paddle? Efficent.

Do you paddle solo or tandem? Solo

Do you paddle lakes or rivers? Both

What size is your Canoe? 17’2"

Thanks. You’re welcome

My two favorites
are a Mitchell double bent outrigger paddle for slow cruising and a ZRE outrigger for racing and cutting turns from the bow on tight winding rivers like the Edisto. I switch to my ZRE ultralight Powersurge when my shoulders give out.

I am using Mitchell and Clinch River 61"
paddles with curved blades. I paddle open and decked canoes. The opens range from 14.4’ for my MR Guide to 17 feet for our Bluewater tandem.

The only bent shaft paddle I use is home-made, only 5 degrees, but I have gotten to like it for cruising. Five degrees is enough for paddling in a kneeling position.

I started out with Clement spruce laminated paddles in the early 70s, and then used Norse paddles for many years of whitewater.

I have done some poling and have a Beletz aluminum pole. Intend to take it up again.


– Last Updated: Apr-20-05 7:15 AM EST –

What type of paddle is your favorite?
Laminated wood with lightly glassed blades. I use both straight and bent. Favorite straights are an old clement a very light dagger and a stout dagger for whitewater. Favorite bent is homemade.
Clement is 25 years old, Dagger are 15, bent is new out of the shop last week. I have a pole, too. Modified from a glass pole vault pole.

What is your reason for selecting this paddle?
I like the flex and feel of wood. I can build, maintain, repair and modify them myself.

Do you paddle solo or tandem?

Do you paddle lakes or rivers?
Both. With whitewater up to Class III. Higher if there are good portages.

What size is your Canoe?
Tandem 16 to 18'2", solo touring 15', solo whitewater 14'

favorite paddles
River fast cruising: ZRE Recreational Racer

Freestyle (aggressive quiet water) Quimby Freestyle Cobra

Freestyle old ladies mode Dog Paddle Freestyle

Wilderness tripping; Grey Owl Freestyle

Whitewater play: Norse with T grip

Tandem Freestyle Mitchell Leader double S bent

Rough rocky down river racing: Grey Owl Marathon Bent

Lakewater Solo: Kettlewell or Turtle Paddle Ottertail

Beautiful Wall Decoraton: Gil Gilpatrick Allagash Eagle (it paddles nice but has a huge blade)

What type of paddle is your favorite? I haven’t found the perfect paddle yet.

What is your reason for selecting this paddle?

Do you paddle solo or tandem? Both

Do you paddle lakes or rivers? Both

What size is your Canoe? 13 1/2’ currently I have had 17’ in the past.