Carbon straight shaft canoe paddle

What are the carbon straight shaft canoe paddle options?

The ones that I’m aware of are the Zaveral (special order) and Grey Owl Freestyle.

I have a carbon medium Zaveral straight, but have never tried a Grey Owl Freestyle.

My ZRE straight is too long for flatwater use, but works pretty well on rivers, so I’m considering getting a shorter carbon straight shaft for flatwater (rather than shortening my 56" ZRE) and am investigating what my options are.

I’d especially appreciate input from anyone that’s tried the Grey Owl Freestyle or other non ZRE straight shaft carbon canoe paddles.


Mitchell, Clinch River, Galasport…

Are Clinch River paddles still made?
I couldn’t find a website.

Grey Owl and Wenonah
The carbon straights imported from China by Grey Owl and Wenonah seem to be the same “Raven” stick.

It is a damn fine paddle with some issues. The blade is well shaped, perfectly symmetrical and quite stout. The shaft is round tube - maybe all we get at this price point.

The grip choice is a large but comfy offset, which makes no sense in a straight paddle, or a spindly T. The grips tend to come loose in the Grey Owls Pb used in demo, and seldom when convenient. Interested individuals would be well advised to acquire the paddle with loose grip and use epoxy or Plexus to set the thing themselves.

The loose grip gives paddlers the option to solve another issue. The paddle is woefully blade heavy due to the bomber blade construction. This is a simple fix: bore the foam out of the center of the grip foam, insert a slurry of epoxy and BBs, [ I used Plexus and 45 cal bullets], let set, then cap again with epoxy.

All in all, a pretty good stick, maybe the point where price and quality cross, but it needs a little loving work. Also significantly cheaper from Wenonah, $160 Piragis, than from Grey Owl dealers. Too bad about that!

You’d have to get on and
ask “Louie” how to contact Bailey. Word is he’s thinking of starting a run of up to 200 paddles, most of which will be custom made.

I use two Clinch River paddles routinely, and my only complaint is that there is too much resin in the blades. It doesn’t increase weight appreciably, but the blades could be more flexible.

Thanks for that info, Charlie.
A couple questions:

  1. How is the swing weight compared to a relatively similarly shaped and dimensioned quality wood paddle blade? It sounds like the weighting of the handle for counter balance is required to get the paddle to be better balanced, unlike with the Zaverals, which are pretty well balanced to start with.

  2. What’s the overall weight after weighting the handle?

  3. Which of the two handle options do you prefer. You described the offset grip to be comfy and the T grip to be spindly.

  4. Do you perceive the “bomber” construction of the blades to be tough enough for use on shallow, rocky rivers and streams? My ZRE Medium straight suffers some edge abuse in those conditions, but the 10oz weight is nice. My Mohawk aluminum shafted, plastic bladed paddle can handle any abuse I throw at it, but is very unpleasant to use because of the swing weight and lousy grip and overall weight. The Grey Owl is listed at 16oz vs the ZRE 10oz.

    Thanks again for sharing your experience and insights.

    I’ll try to convince one of my relatively close Wenonah dealers (closer than 250 miles) to get a few of these in in varying lengths so that I can check them out in person.