Custom Canoe Paddle

Does anyone have suggestions about where to purchase a high end or custom, light weight, touring, canoe paddle. I’m looking for a fairly wide blade, NOT a beavertail or similar type. I’ve seen decent but not fine paddles at the local paddling shops. Most are a bit too long or too short or the grip isn’t quite right etc. I’ve asked about custom paddles but nobody seems to know where to send me.

custom paddles
There’s a paddle maker in upstate N.Y. that is good. He’s a great paddler and will work with you. His name is Marc and he makes strip canoes as well. Try


Custom Paddle
There are 2 custom paddle makers that I know of. Perhaps there are others. Quimby has been around for years but I can’t find any contact info for him. The other is Dogpaddle Canoe Works ( The paddles from Dogpaddle are superb. They are gorgeous to look at (you can use them for diplay) but more importantly, they paddle like nothing else. They are very light, slice cleanly through the water on recovery, no gurgle, etc. etc. The owner (Marc) will custom make a paddle to you requirements.

do you need custom?
You don’t say where “local” is or what models of paddle you’ve tried or what specific features you’ve looking for, but chances are you can find a suitable production paddle and save yourself a lot of money versus custom. Brands to try if you haven’t yet: FoxWorx, Grey Owl, Mitchell, Zaveral. I’m pretty sure all are available by mail if your local shop can’t special-order them.

If you post exactly what you’re looking for, people on this board can probably suggest models.

– Mark

Custom paddle
I’ve looked at Fox Worx, Grey Owl, Mitchel ect. and they are all fine paddles however I am looking for something a bit better. I’ve spent $2000 + on a fine composite boat. I don’t mind spending a few hundred dollars on a paddle that I will stroke with thousands of times every day I go out. I want a paddle that is made to fit me in all respects. As for Zav’s. They are also fine paddles and for someone who wants the ultimate in light weight and stiffness, they are the way to go. Personally, I like a bit of flex in the shaft and a wood paddle is just plain pretty.

I do not know what style you wish
but here is an interesting site.


Check out…
Check out these: Whiskey Straight, and the Whiskey Bender at

I have no problem finding paddles I like at Bending Branches, Grey Owl, Werner, and Foxworx.

I’m not so sure that aesthetically pleasing, and very expensive will result in you getting a “better” paddle.


Also check out Crickett, and

– Last Updated: Oct-22-07 1:03 PM EST –

Don Meany in addition to some of the others mentioned. Quimby is only doing paddles these days on a "time permitted" basis, so don't be surprised if you might be a year out.

Try whiskey jack paddles. I have the double whiskey , its lightweight, and fits me like a glove. I love using this paddle.

You can also try the Viper by bending branches. Its a double bent paddle. I have used my Viper on many long trips to the bwca and have had no problems. Like others have said, a custom paddle that costs a lot of money may not be what you really need. Both paddles listed above are around $150-$180. They are beautiful to look at, fit perfectly in my hand, and are a pleasure to paddle. Buy a paddle based on how it feels and get measured for a paddle so you dont get something thats too long for you.

The paddle you describe,

What boat are you using and what is your primary paddling style, flatwater, whitewater, tripping, freestyle, Omering? That will make a big difference in the paddle you need.

Custom Sticks
I have several Quimby and Ornstein paddles and a couple Schooley’s as well. I use them because they enhance my paddling. Are they worth the wait and price? In my opinion; Absolutely!

Craig Quimby can be reached at 715.274.3416 or or pob 677, Mellon WI 54546.

Marc can be reached at 585.698.5773, or or through his website. He lives in Honeyoye Falls NY, south of Rochester.

I seem to have lost contact with Eric Schooley.

These guys are artists, and their sticks are museum pieces that we get to use.

current Quimby email:
is; changed a couple months ago. Craig’s paddles start at $350.00 and range to $550.00

Definitely nice sticks, although I would not be able to afford a new one now.

I use an Axel II for outrigger paddling, and just tried it out in my Novacraft canoe these past couple of weeks and I love it.

After a couple years of outrigger, I grabbed the Novacraft and my Bending Branches paddles… They felt like logs to me by comparison.

Kialoa all the way. :slight_smile:


– Last Updated: Oct-23-07 5:26 PM EST –

Many Choices
Don’t overlook some of the custom canoe builders as well.

Hemlock Canoe for example builds and sells paddles and I’m certain would consider a custom.

Put out a general call here on Pnet, there are numerous folks building there own paddles. Beyond that, if you have the facilities try DIY. I can assure you that these same fine folks will offer the benefit of their expertise and experience to aid you endeavor.

For me, I use my Zav most of the time. I also have a solid cherry Grey Owl otter-tail I use for just tooling along using underwater strokes.

I found a great wood bent shaft years ago made by Voyageur that is very light and well constructed.

Look around and consider the options. I like the looks of the Whiskey Jack (think that is correct) paddles mentioned before.



Custom Paddle
Thanks everyone for all of your input. I’ve checked out many of the suggestions and will probably go the Dogpaddle route. Many of the better commercial paddles are good, but none seem to compare to the Quimby’s or Dogpaddle’s that I have now seen. Marc at Dogpaddle Canoe Works tells me that he can have a paddle to me in 4-6 weeks, maybe sooner. The wait from Quimby is indeterminate and likely to be too long to consider.

You will definitely enjoy your paddle
made by Marc. Excellent choice.

Paddle fit
Need info on fitting a paddle to my build: 5’-8" 145 lbs 70 yrs old. Bought a used canoe and after 50 year void; am back again but the sport has improved and advanced. So need help in selecting a paddle for solo. How long? Straight shaft? Square or rounded tip? Thanks all.

Paddle Fit
There are several ways of estimating paddle length. Keep in mind that it is only the shaft length that matters. Do not enter the blade length into the equation when sizing a paddle. A good method of determining approximate shaft length is to stand upright and extend one arm straight down. Hold the grip of the paddle in the palm of that hand. The throat of the paddle (where the blade meets the shaft) should be at or near your hairline. If you paddle mostly from a kneeling position you may want a slightly shorter shaft. If you do alot of cross strokes as in freestyle or whitewater, you may want a bit longer shaft to gain some reach.

As for blade shape and size. If you paddle fast as in racing or fast touring, you’ll want a relatively small blade. If your tendency is to take a slower pace, a larger/wider blade is an advantage. It is easier to enter the water cleanly, with splashing if the tip is a bit rounded. In whitewater where you want maximum grab fast and often in shallow water where you can’t bury the blade, a squared off tip has the edge. The sholders of the blade should be somewhat relieved so that you can paddle close to the side of the canoe for greater efficiency. A good canoe shop or a paddle maker can help you with more specific advice.

You don’t think a long, narrow blade
makes for a different shaft length calculation than a short, wider blade?