comparing kayak paddles

I’m using an older 210 fiberglass paddle by Werner, with blade size and shape similar to the Ikelos. I’m shopping for a new paddle because mine is tooooo heavy. There’s not much weight difference between the Shuna and the Cyprus, or Corryvreken and Ikelos. The foam core paddles are only about 3 ounces lighter. I’ve tried the Ikelos a few times, and I love the smooth back face of the blade for maneuvering strokes.

However, I’ve been described as having a rock magnet in my bow by a fellow paddler. I screw around in the rocks, and it’s not uncommon that they come a-knockin’ from time to time. Will the fiberglass blades of the Shuna/Corryvrecken be more durable than the foam core blades of the Cyprus/Ikelos?

Thanks, Nate

I have a Corryvreken and I would not want to use it on rocks. The blades are VERY thin (think:spaghetti)

I paddle a Shuna as my everyday paddle and it survives the Maine coast just fine. I don’t consider it a real rock and bash paddle. Had an occasion to literally chop up a wooden bench with a Lendal Mystic (which has similar blade shape to Shuna). Would not dare try that with the Shuna. The Lendal was pretty heavy but paddled with it fine all day.

I’ve been using a Shuna for a few years now as my everyday paddle, including surfing and rock gardening. No problems (yet).

I second the shuna. I’ve used the carbon bent shaft for my everyday paddle for the last 4-5 years. A little silicone and car door edging on the blade edge to save chipping. I love the balance and blade size.

AquaBound paddles really
work for us. Their most grueling test, so far, was a trip down a rocky NC river the weekend before last, that was a little lower than we expected it to be.

When you are running up on rocks and being spun around in the current on them, the last thing you are thinking of is not scratching your paddle! Suddenly, the paddle becomes a pole, a lever, whatever it takes to free yourself and continue down stream. I don’t know what those blades are made of (the shafts are carbon), but I sure wish they would use that material to make kayaks. At the end of over four hours of that, I could see no appreciable damage to those paddles. I don’t know how something so light could be so durable.

BTW, our group consisted mostly of people who do this type of paddling quite often and most of them were also using AquaBounds.

What’s really cool was the fact that their price was quite a bit less than the other well-respected paddles, especially since I got them on sale. I’m no paddle expert, but I really like what I have.

I have both, Ikelos and Shuna
And, I cracked a hole in the Ikelos messing around going up some riffles. Easy enough to repair with a little fiberglass kit. I’ve beat the heck out of the Shuna and it barely has a scratch.


I have a couple aquabound paddles as well, and they are nice and light. The ones I have are carbon shafted, and the blades are carbon-reinforced nylon.

I have stayed away from that construction because of the noticible flex in the blades during aggressive paddling. I feel the blade “pop” each time I take it out of the water.

Ikelos and Cyprus
I use both the Ikelos and Cyprus for kayak fishing. They’re bomb proof. I’ve used them for poling, pushing off oyster beds, and even wedging them in rocks to anchor off of rock jetties. I even used the Ikelos as a shovel at my home to put river rock out. After 2 years of this neither of them have shown any damage other than light scratches.

I’ll trade you a brand new shovel for your used Ikelos. :slight_smile:

chips and a few holes
in my ikelos after a few years of rough use. I switched to a GP and have not used it since.

When I go rock gardening, I know I am going to make contact with rocks/muscles/barnacles with my hull and blades. Ikelos held up well, and where I had to, some aqua seal in the holes seems to have done well. Loved that paddle, but my shoulders are happier with the GP.

The advantage of foam is not just the weight savings. A foam-core blade floats to the surface at the end of the stroke. It “virtually paddles itself!” :-)))

Werner Cypress
I’ve been using the Werner Cypress and Kalista Foam Core bent shaft for a few years now. I have found that the foam core blades hold up extremly well. I’ve used them down in the Everglades and on local rivers and lakes here in the midwest. I had a Swift Carbon paddle which did develop chips on the blades but so far (about 3yrs of use) the foam core paddles have remained solid. It seems to me that the foam core paddles are a much stiffer blade and don’t tend to flex.

I’ll Say It…
Get yourself a GP. Sand out the nicks and dings and fuggedaboudit. Western Red Cedar is very light.

all set there
I made a GP, and I use it regularly. It’s my preferred paddle for putting in the miles. But when I need to put a blade in the water and pull HARD to get over that breaking wave, the GP just cavitates in the water. I know some people do well in rock gardens and surf with a GP - probably folks with more finesse than I’ve got. But personally I prefer a big-bladed euro paddle for tide races, rock gardens, etc.

cf over wood fo rockgardening
my wood gp’s got torn to hell rock gardening with them. Moved to CF gp that may look kinda beat, but can take the occasional badly timed pour-over.

I almost cried when I looked at what I did to my WRC beale paddle after getting banged around a surge passage.

'course, if your up to the task you could make a replacement for pretty cheap out of wood.