So I’m looking through the latest Piragis catalog, and note that they are selling the Wenonah carbon paddles, including a straight shaft version. I’ve used the Bending Branches wooden paddles for years, and like them, but 17 ounces compared to 24 ounces sounds pretty good to me. Problem is, I float a lot of very skinny creeks, and I often use the paddle more as a push pole against the bottom than as a paddle. The Bending Branches paddles, even with the reinforcement on the blade edge, seldom last me more than a couple of years. So, how do carbon paddles compare to wooden ones in durability? I don’t really want to spend more than twice as much for a paddle that won’t last as long.
Kinda depends on how it’s made.
A molded foam core stick is likly to be kinda fragile, just like those racing bents.
A whitewater stick, with a machined hard plastic core like the Harold deal inspired Zaveral or a milled wood core like the Lightening or Billy Hearn’s or Silver Creeks recent efforts will hold up wonderfully if the builder does the engineering and lamination processes right.
I have an old Sidewinder in carbon, built up by the folks who made Iliad paddles that seemingly cannot be broken no matter how much I try.
More than half what we do in a boat is dependent more on the stick in our hands then the hull beneath our neather regions. Find the best paddle for your paddling style you can afford. Get it, or a model a litle better. When it breaks, get another one.
I agree with Charlie
I have a Zaveral rec that I bought before the Clinton a couple of years back. The water was way down and I needed a heavy duty stick for poling those long pebbly/rocky stretches down from Oneonta. At the first sign of shallows I would swap out my ultra light and grab the Rec(had a quick draw holster sort of arrangement.
Since it was a race I was going all out and the Zaveral did a great job for me, and since the handle and feel was similar it was a seamless transition from ont to the other…
My Clinch River, carbon over wood
core with an aluminum insert tip, stands up well to poling on the river bottom, but after about six years it has worn down some. I have an older Mitchell, similar construction, on which the glass has delaminated from the aluminum insert to a minor degree, but it also has stood up well.