Great video. I want to paddle with you sometime. No rock gardens on the Gulf of Mexico or SE US (that I know of).
spare paddle? it all depends. I usually paddle with a few other folks. We tend to split the gear up. Typically I have the first aid kit and my buddy Dave has the spare paddle. When I’m not with Dave I sometimes carry a spare. If I’m far from a road or a railroad grade, have several beginners with me, or am doing something challenging, then I often bring a spare. It has been 30 years since I’ve needed it for myself. I’ve loaned my own paddle to others when a paddle is lost or broken. I few years ago I hand paddled a mile and a half of class II when I gave my paddle up to someone else. Their paddle got stuffed under a rock. A dirt road was nearby so there were options but I liked the challenge. I always take a spare if it is an overnight trip.
My 72" wooden Greenland storm paddle is my handiest spare. Fits easily under the bow deck rigging without being in the way of anything. Since it is tough (carved from a single piece of some sort of dense scrap wood and with a funky varnish coating), was free (came with a skin on frame boat I bought) and less “dear” to me than my cedar or carbon paddles I also find it useful for prying off rocky launches, shooing away persistent wildlife, digging cat-holes, propping up tarps and other utilitarian purposes. And sometimes I have actually used it for paddling in strong wind or to get to my regular paddle when it got away from me. Also handy to have something shorter when paddling through overhanging vines and branches. Or, in the Everglades and mangroves, through tunnels of spider webs.