durability of wing paddle?

I plan on doing a downriver race in May- my first.

I have been using a Simon River wing (Shark model) for all my paddling to date (about 18 months).

I went out today with my old euro (first time using it in 6 months) and felt sloppy and slow.

My question is how fragile is a carbon wing? Could you handle it roughly without any problems. The thing feels so fragile, I’m always careful with it…

I have heard SRS paddles don’t have the best fit and finish (delaminating problems).

This race is supposed to be over, under, through logs, shallows and a weir or two.

Opinions, please…

My Mid Epic Carbon Wing
I have been really hard on my paddle. I’ve stepped on it. Dropped it. Dragged it to the water over concrete. Hit razor sharp oyster beds. Hit underwater rocks and pilings. I had it pinned between two rocks. Etc., I have a few very small chips on the leading edges and some fine scratches on the blades…that’s it. No carbon is missing, just resin. I have probably five hundred plus miles on the paddle and it’s still going strong. Great paddle!

Good luck!


I agree completely
It depends on the make.

Epic is very durable.

I have had mine for several years now and it is as good as the day I got it except for a lot of scratches.

Just don’t put too much tork into it when you are pushing of trees.

My wife just cracked both blades of her ultra light wing (not an Epic) pushing through mud.

Good luck in the race,

I love a river race like that with lots of obstacles



jack sez…
“My wife just cracked both blades of her ultra light wing (not an Epic) pushing through mud.”

holy moly!! that’s what I’m afraid of!!!

just to clarify Jack, did wifey break the blades on trees or mud?

care to divulge the brand? and did they do anything to fix it?



if you check at www.canoesa.org.za in their Media>Photo gallery>archive you’ll see the majority of guys using Epic blades. I use a Fenn carbon blade and in the winter the lake water level drops and I’ve hit submerged rock many times. It’s dinged a bit here and there but certainly holds up. It looks a heck of a lot better than my rudder does…

Jack is being nice …
I built Nanci’s paddle after going over how it would be used and I believe Jack will be the first to admit that the paddle was not really being used as it was built / intended for. No finger pointing here, just chiming in to say that a few ounces of extra weight go a LONG way in reinforcing the paddle for hard contact with substances other than water. Most of the heavier (cheaper) wings out there are pretty isotropic in their layups and have a bunch of excess resin in them and while this does not do a whole lot for overall strength, it does let them leave a little bit of themselves as you go along. I would rather put the extra ‘weight’ into reinforcement around the tip area. Placing alot of weight ( think low brace ) on the backside of ( any ) wing might damage them pretty quickly.

I have hit submerged rocks under full power while cutting a little too close to the rocks in a race and while the noise sounds hideous, usually the damage done does not match the sound and feel … minor chipping at worst.

Not only does it depend on the wing brand itself and layup, but on the direction the torque is applied. Using any paddle as a pry bar is a bad idea. I’ve hammered my wing (not an Epic brand) for a couple of seasons now. Bounced it off more than a few rocks during two Run of the Charles races and my local ‘hamster on a wheel’ lake, where there are some serious shallows. When the leading edge of the blades get chipped, I just touch them up with a few layers of clear nail polish to seal them. That said, I did crack a blade last year when I got it pinned under a two person canoe team; neither of us were yielding for a buoy turn. Darndest thing-it went clear under their boat and the turbulence (?) kept it there for a bit, until it finally popped free. After the race I found it to be cracked right up the center, but it didn’t fail catastrophically as carbon is wont to do, and I never felt a difference during the event itself. Wings are very stiff when paddled in the direction intended, but can be fragile if a force is applied on the backside edge. I don’t think you’ll have a problem, just watch it if there are portages-that’s where the paddles can get easily tweaked if you slip setting the boat down.

Absolutely it was her fault,
and that is why I was not going to mention the name.

She was pushing through mud.

The paddle was ultralight, and was not made for that, and she would have had a stronger paddle had we know the conditions we were going to be in.



Ditto on the Epic Mid-wing…
I’ve got one of the first year Epics and after many hard encounters with rock I’ve only managed to put a minute nick in one blade tip so far. For as light as the Mid-wing is, it is one tough paddle.

Turbo wing paddles win gold at olympics and are superurable for shallow races. Mine has been pounded over many rocks for 5 years and 1000 miles a year. Surf entries can be tough with a few scratches. Have only one paddle to use for 70 mile race or 90 miler. Never carry a spare.

Tough enough!
I hit my older (Barton made in Wash.) mid on a bridge rail that some drunk knocked off the night before. Only a small dent. It was a marathon layup.

QuickBlade Proton
I am using QuickBlade Proton wing in the “safari” layout. I’ve paddled two Texas Water Safaries without any problems. However, the paddle tips have worn out from paddling shallow S. Platte River upstream. So, last year I bought a new paddle (the same model). The old one after some tip repairing is still used for river paddling.


I use an epic all the time too, havent had any problems with it yet. Have you seen the size of Oscar Chalupsky? I figure if they are good enough for him they are good enough for me!!