After much reading about the virtues of canoeing with a bent shaft paddle, I think I’d like to try it out. ‘Sit n switch’ and NATT and all that. Would the bent shaft paddle that Mohawk makes be an okay introduction into the world of ‘bents’? Or should I spring for the Bending Branch one? Is there another maker of “value” priced paddles I should consider? I understand that canoe paddles are one those “get what you pay for” sorts of things, but I’d still like to keep it under a c-note. Thanks.
Grey Owl Sprite
It's a light, inexpensive bent to start out with, or stay with. I like it better than the BB specials. It's lighter. And being lighter, you don't want to try to kill bears with it or anything. You might break it. But for traditional bent shaft open-water environments, it's a nice inexpensive paddle.
They are not real easy to find from a U.S. retailer. But here is an ebay seller that has a 50 and a 52".
For what you want lighter is better
and lightness does count for sit and switch.
Its hard to find Grey Owls in the US… Bending Branches are more commonly available. Like Clarion I put the Grey Owl as a better candidate than the BB.
I don’t paddle canoes, generally
But I did stumble on a heavily discounted (and discontinued) Werner Compulsion Outrigger Canoe Paddle that I use from time to time in my kayak or surf ski. That thing weights next to nothing and that makes a nice difference. It does not strike me as a very durable paddle (foam core, thin outer layer) but for open water use it is great.
Lighter is better as far as paddles go ;) (unless you need them for something other than paddling and the added weight could be somehow useful)...
Retail is $260 or so, but at half price I thought it was totally worth it ;). Mine came with carbon handle, not ABS as listed at NRS.
Great paddles. They make a “whitewater” model - or did years ago - that is just a tad more rugged and still incredibly light. I use mine for tripping and also up to class 2 whitewater if I have nothing else along.
I have a mohawk bent
I don’t know if you can find them anymore but I like mine. It is really really heavy though. I think Harmony makes a good mid grade bent shaft paddle. When you are getting to paddle more than 20 miles a day a lighter paddle makes a big difference. Less than 10 miles a day and it makes almost no difference to me.
I think you can get this one delivered to your door for under 100.
I’ve got one of their “Guide” models and love it. Well made, lighter than the BB Special or the Grey Owl each of which are solid paddles, just not as light and sweet as the Foxworx.
Quality outrigger racing bent shafts, made by Dan Bublitz in Wisconsin of popple and other attractive laminations, are offered new from time to time on ebay in the $60-$85 range. Or by phone. Large blades, small blades, single bends, double bends.
See potential contact info here:
I like the mohawk
I have had one around for over 20 years with a nice assortment of “nicer” bents. The geometry of the Mohawk is good, the grip is comfortable, the blade is a bit small. It weighs about the same as other rec paddles. It is a good way to try a bentshaft without being influenced by light weight. The reason I use this paddle a good deal is its durability. I paddle upstream frequently in rocks and gravel and it is practically indestructable.
If you like it and want something lighter, wider, prettier you will have a tough back-up that doesnt mind laying in the bottom of a wet boat.
2nd the fox paddles. I love mine. I also have Wenonah Quetico bent shaft paddles that I believe Grey Owl made for them. Good paddles, but a bit heavies than the fox.
Mohawk blade relatively small?
I thought they were relatively large - especially compared to a Zaveral.
there are two kinds of bent shaft paddles. One is for general touring from a seated position.
The smaller blades are designed for higher cadence paddling as in NATT.
The OPs aims seem to point at a small blade high cadence paddle. And I forgot FoxWorx completely which is unforgivable since I have a FW bent for my RapidFire.
FoxWorx does make a small blade bent. Its small because it is 17 inches long. Most blades are 20 inches.
Mohawk blade is 8"x20" - “normal”" size
for touring - not relatively small.
just visit the websites
after Googling “bent shaft paddles”, then contact the mfrs to see if they sell factory seconds. I started with a Bending Branches (heavy, but durable) then went to a Mitchell double bent outrigger paddle (fun except catches a lot of wind), then got a Fox (best lightweight wood paddle), then went black (carbon fiber) and I’ll never go back.
Found a blem
Thanks for the tips everyone. It was a great help. After reading through the Foxworx website, I found they had a blem Guide in my size for a very reasonable price. So I snatched that up. Cheaper than the BB and much nicer than Mohawk. I think it’ll do nicely.
Now I just have to think up a justification to the wife for buying a paddle three days before Mother’s Day. Hmmm. Maybe I’ll give it to HER and then borrow it when she’s not using it.
Does she want a paddle? If not it could be applied to you in a way that you didn’t intend.
Best of luck…
That’s a great way to get started with a bent. That’s a nicer paddle than the Grey Owl Sprite I recommended.
If your wife paddles
you will soon be buying another paddle, for yourself.
Yeah, you could be right about that. Not only does she not paddle, she’s never forgiven me for taking her too far out in the middle of Lake George in a canoe when we were both in college. Actually we weren’t that far from shore, but that’s not how she remembers it. You know what they say about ‘divorce boats’.
That’s reassuring. I look forward to getting it in the water.