carbon kayak paddle help needed

-- Last Updated: Aug-26-10 7:59 PM EST --

I've narrowed my paddle options down to 3 and would really appreciate some thoughts on these. Been paddling rec boats 3 years, dagger approach and Torrent sit-on-top with an Aquabound Manta Ray I've worn out, looking for something lighter for 60 yr old shoulders. Paddle class I - II+ pool and drop Arkansas streams like Buffalo, Mulberry, Piney, Current, Spring.

Looking at Manta Ray carbon ($150, weighs 30 oz), Werner Shuna carbon (25 oz, $340), Werner Cyprus carbon foam core ($310, 25 oz). Probably would love the Cyprus if it'd hold up which is a concern, Shuna is most expensive but light and stronger, Manta Ray heaviest but strong. Fairly aggressive catching eddies and ferries, front surfing but would be careful with the paddle.

Sure would appreciate some opinions, experiences, etc. Thanks!!!

Worn out
I’m curious about how you wear out a paddle.

The Manta Ray that you wore out, and the two Werner models that you are considering are not whitewater paddles.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use them on the class I and II rivers that you are paddling, but paddles designed for whitewater are stronger than paddles designed for flat water. But they’ll be heavier too.

If you want light AND strong, look at an Onno.

paddle options
Thanks for the reply, mintjulip. “Worn out” refers to the ferrule/joint being broken and frozen in one position (spring fell out) and one of the blades is a little loose. I taped the throat. Still usable but I have lost confidence in it. It’s been a good performing paddle and got me through ACA level 2 certification, which is why I was looking at LIGHT touring type paddles.

I have ONNO’s phone number on my desk and have looked at their website. I’ll give 'em a call tomorrow. Might be a great option.


Light, well made and well priced. Patrick is a nice guy and knowledgable.

Get a real WW paddle
I recommend AT. Werner is fine as well.

There’s “Carbon” and "Carbon Fiber"
The Manta is not carbon fiber blades. They are ABx, basically plastic with some graphite to make it black. That’s why it is heavier and cheaper.

I HATE it when the advertising tries to mislead


Forget about Carbon or Graphite
I had a Werner Skagit that said it was a carbon paddle. It weighed a ton and the blades were plastic. I think they added a little carbon fiber or powder to the basic fiberglass shaft so they could put a “CARBON” sticker on the paddle.

So look at the weight and try before you buy. If you are getting a custom or semi custom like an Onno. Focus on the weight and strength you want and let them use the materials that will be best.

In rivers I often use my all graphite Werner Little Dipper that is very light but does not have the strongest blades. I protect them with door edge trim tape from the auto parts store. I learned this from a K1 racer that uses it on his wing blades for marathon paddling.

I’ve been using a Cyprus and Ikelos for several years now as a kayak angler. They’ve been bashed against rocks and oyster beds repeatedly and show very minimal wear and tear along the edges of the blades. Plastic paddles have shown more damage through gouging with this same use.

Don’t look at a paddle labeled “Carbon” and get confused. They put some carbon in the plastic to take up space and reduce weight (though you can’t tell) and bump the price up.

a few thoughts
first, I agree, you may be in need of a custom carbon paddle like Patrick Onno’s. He will consult w. you as to your particular paddling style (not given here) the length you are currently using (not given here) and why you use it. I’d trust his advice.

second, you must be getting a deal on the Werner Cyprus. All of Werner’s foam core blades (I own two, both Cyprus)cost $395 and up (bent shafts cost more). It is unusual that a Shuna would be priced significantly higher than the Cyprus.

The Shuna is the predecessor of the Cyprus, same blade dimensions but has the bulky rib on back. None of the Werner foam core blades have this. Thus I am skeptical that the Shuna is “lighter, stronger” but if that is your perception so be it.

My Werner Cyprus at 210 cm straight shaft weighs 23 oz, and I ditched the drip rings long ago. so now it is a bit less. My Werner Cyprus at 205 cm straight shaft is 21.5 oz, also sans drip rings. These weights were taken on a postal scale.

I agree that lighter weight is nicer for shoulders, aging ones or otherwise. But it is swing weight that really matters.

Maybe the ferrule came loose bec. you are hard on your gear. Just an observation. Or it could’ve been one bad knock on the river. Maybe a full carbon paddle is not the best choice for your style or your river environment.

IMO you’d be best off demoing paddles. Paddleshops do offer demos. Start afresh in considering your ideal paddle. Get some ideas from the demos, and if one doesn’t call to you get w. Patrick Onno.

thanks y’all

– Last Updated: Aug-27-10 10:19 AM EST –

Everyone's response, comments, and analysis is very much appreciated. THANKS!! I would love to have a Werner foam core blade if I felt it'd likely hold up--not catastrophically break. I have come to love the grace and subtlties of paddling, like to make it artful. Right now I'm using a 220 cm with high angle paddling, and it's too long also, even when paddling my 30" wide Torrent even though it gets me down the Nantahala nicely.

I'll talk with ONNO and will get to demo a couple of the Werner paddles in two weeks (gotta drive 3 hrs). Again thanks, and any other thoughts also welcomed.Everyone on this board is awesome.

Try the Werner Tybee
Same blade as the Cyprus but not foam core.

If we’re lowering the bar -:wink:
He might try the WW cousin of the Tybee, the Desperado.

It has carbon shaft and plastic blades but is lighter than many “full carbon” WW paddles. Still a bit heavier than the touring blades.

I think he wants light and these are not the lightest, unless the Tybee comes in some other construction than plastic bladed…

Mine is in its second year of regular WW use and it does have scratches and some minor gauges on the blades. But the simple 2-piece ferulle does not show any sign of getting loser than it was when I got it secondhand from a local outfitter. So it will last…

At 200cm it is about right for WW and surf use in a 26-28" wide WW boats and works with my sea kayak too. But these are not intended for efficient forward paddling - grab any of my other paddles and I see what I’ve been missing -;). But this one works well for maneuvering, bracing, and powering through shallow rocky rivers -:wink:

And is cheap, probably the cheapest WW paddle that is not junk.

dongetmestated on that one Grayhawk : )

– Last Updated: Aug-27-10 2:46 PM EST –

We can tailor the layup for intended use and expectations.