"crossover" paddle?

is there such thing as a “crossover” or in between paddle as far as touring and whitewater? I am looking for a paddle to take camping on rivers that have some faster sections so I need something that I can paddle all day but still move me fast when I need it. Is there any such paddle between the two or am I better having one as my backup and using it when I need it?


doesn’t matter that much
except towards the extremes. Anyway you should have a spare along most times - you never know.

I didn’t see in your post if you are single blading or double blading. Most people wouldn’t likely use a wing or a Greenland stick or a race weight bent shaft in white water but I’m sure some do. Perhaps the same for using a dedicated WW paddle for a 15 mile lake crossing. If you can only have one (+) then find something that fits your main use case and bring along a cheap back up.

if your going to be paddling a lot
of slow or flatwater with a ww paddle then I would invest in getting one that is light. Some feature carbon fibers and foam injected cores or light glass lay ups. The problem with that is they tend to be more expensive and in ww losing a paddle is always a possibility. Especially if you are just starting out, that can be an expensive lesson. I like pushing off rocks and such, using the paddle as a crutch on the shore and when in rescue mode I might even find myself wading out in the river with it. So I want something strong.

Blade sizes tend to be larger on ww paddles. I’ve gotten used to that so I would have a hard time using something with a smaller blade but perhaps you wouldn’t notice as much since it sounds like your just getting started.

For casual use

– Last Updated: Sep-28-16 8:47 AM EST –

You want to think about length maybe more than blade shape or size.

Before I go further, I do not believe in paddling without a spare paddle. Especially if you are alone. All it takes is one unexpected material failure and, without a spare, you are in a world of trouble.

As indicated WW blades often are a bit bigger, but that is because they have to do a lot of work in very active water very quickly. But I have at least one friend who went with the big blade option for touring and is now out of having their second shoulder put back together because of the added stress for miles of strokes. If most of your time is going to be on flat, unmoving water you don't want to get blade that is bigger than your muscles can live with over time. Just increase the cadence if you want to sprint.

But length and durability really is a factor in WW compared to flat. WW is generally shallower than long boat paddling and you will be whacking rocks with it. Too long a paddle, or too delicate of a construction, will at least wear the paddle faster or end up with you in the water after it gets caught against a rock or something.

If you know you will be in shallow, rocky stuff some of the time, I would make sure the paddle for that was maybe 5 cm shorter than the other and was made of good lightweight material but not foam core. That is likely to leave you with both paddles usable for flat water but one that will be your fave for the moving sections.

Note that really good, lightweight plastic blades are still pricey whatever the planned use of the paddle. You pay more money for less weight. But your body will thank you for it and it is a lot cheaper than shoulder surgery.

the web pages for the paddle manufacturers to see what they suggest. I personally like Werner Paddles, their website shows various types of paddling and the paddles suggested for each. You can see from there where overlap exists and make your decision accordingly.

In addition…if you’ll be using a
standard canoe hull a straight bladed paddle will work fine on any type of water.

crossover paddle choices

– Last Updated: Oct-07-16 10:54 AM EST –

If you are committed to a two-piece, I used to use a 200 cm two piece Werner Sherpa. It was apparently custom made, and the customer never picked it up so I got a sweet discount price (like $100 I think). These days I use a 200 cm carbon Shred WW paddle. The WW paddles, in addition to being stronger are better for bracing. Also, for what it's worth, I saw a two-piece paddle get sucked down to the bottom on the Lehigh Upper Gorge. On the other hand, I've also seen ww paddles break, so go figure.

What about boat?

– Last Updated: Oct-05-16 9:36 PM EST –

The answer to paddle question is pretty obvious: 2 paddles.

The main difference between the paddles for touring and WW paddle are blade sizes. So stow away the big blade and cruise with the small blade on flat water. Put away the baby spoon and grab the man-blade when you need to move fast.

I even do that for touring. I have a larger size blade for downwind wave surfing because it's just more fun! But majority of the time, I'm using my touring blade while the big spoon serves as spare. And because I'm typically using a more high-angle stroke when I'm surfing, my "big blade" paddle is a bit shorter too.

So exactly what paddle you should use kind of depends on what boat you're using. What class of white water are we talking about? What boat are you using to tackle it? And how much slow grind mileage are you talking about?