Fiberglass versus Carbon Fiber paddle sh

Have used aluminum kayaking paddle shafts for 6 years, considering upgrading to Fiberglass or Carbon Fiber - we mostly do flat water lakes and rivers.

Any pro’s/cons’ between the two or is it merely personal preference

Go the lightest you can
Which would be carbon fiber.

Look for a small diameter shaft too. Such as an ONNO

Jack L

Maybe consider greeland paddle?
I made the switch last year. Lovely paddles. Especially for your kind of paddling.

Small Diameter?

Why that?

To the OP:

Just for more confusion I’ll throw out wood/carbon blends like Saltwood Paddles. About equivalent weight of FG.

As to weight, lighter than alum/plastic will be less work for you per mile(s).

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

i dont like the fabric shafts
The graphite looking shafts give better grip and are lighter.

Paddle shopping
It’s even more confusing than selecting a first kayak. Looked at the Werner site, because I was able to use a Werner Cyprus paddle this week and really liked it. Required choices include high angle or low angle, or fitness. Full sized blade or medium sized. Bent shaft or straight.

I use both high and low angles while paddling, as well as fitness routines. No idea what sized blade would be best. How would one know whether a straight or bent shaft is more comfortable unless you could paddle with it?

Are there paddle demos? What happens if you buy a particular $400 paddle and don’t like it? Can you return it?

What JackL said and…
I prefer adjustable length and a relatively a small blade.

I’ve been using carbon paddles for about 6 years and greatly prefer it over wood or fiberglass.

If you can’t afford carbon, Swift makes nice fiberglass paddles.

I’ve bought all of mine used.

An Epic Relaxed Tour is what I’ve been using the last few years.

Maybe just me
but I have a Werner with a larger diameter then my ONNO, and since I have had that I love the slightly smaller shaft.

Two Saturdays ago, I did a down river race, (Class I-II) in my plastic Eclipse using the Werner and between one of my thumbs and finger is still sore.

I guess if you are a big guy with big hands, you would have no problems

Jack L

I whole heartedly agree on the
adjustable length and feather.

I forgot to mention that

Jack L

I have bought paddles at great kayak stores where they absolutely will let you bring back a paddle if you don’t like it. I had the last one for a couple of weeks and gave it a very thorough testing before I decided it wasn’t what I was looking for. There was no wrangling whatsoever; they just refunded my money and that was it. I kind of felt bad that they didn’t have another paddle that I wanted, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. I ended up going to one of their competitors and found exactly what I wanted.

As to the question about whether to go with a carbon shaft, or glass, I guess that depends on several factors. Probably the prime issue is how much money you are prepared to spend.

Here is what I would suggest: If you are able to find a paddle store that stocks the Carlisle Expedition paddle, check it out and see what you think. Either it will be the paddle you are looking for, or it will serve as a great spare and you won’t have spent an arm and a leg.

I have two identical paddles from Aquabound Stingray paddles. One in fiberglass the other in carbon. Carbon is much stiffer and feels alot lighter. These particular paddles aren’t real pricey. Mainly a greenland paddler but I have these paddles for creeks with rocks.So I would go carbon if possible.

As far as greenland paddles go I have a new Superior Carbon greenland paddle that is only 22 ounces, its super nice but not cheap.

I have a smaller diameter shaft
…but I put a big diameter shaft around it when I’m not paddling, so women think I have big hands!

Seriously though, while not for everyone, I bought a smaller shaft werner and it made a positive difference.

did you see the Athena?

– Last Updated: Aug-08-14 4:39 PM EST –

I believe that has a broader blade, but smaller version of the blade. Personally I would always get mid to wide width unless you're dedicated to low-angle paddling. In which case I'd try a GP instead. I confess I don't understand the low-angle stroke with a euro blade.

The Athena is a smaller version of the Kalliste, a low angle design, not wide at all.

Visited website
Not seen one, so I checked the Werner site. Athena is for a low angle paddler. Also viewed the Werner video about low angle/high angle. Am definitely a high angle paddler. Thanks for the suggestion, though, as I wouldn’t have seen that video, which also discussed blade width.

Fiberglass versus Carbon Fiber paddles
Thank you for your input - we settled on straight shafted Werner Skagit paddles made with Carbon Fiber. They were much lighter in feel and should perform well for us, for now - In time we might move up to a bent carbon fiber shaft kayak paddle.

Skagit CF
Nice paddle. Nylon bladed version of the Camano.

The stick says carbon fiber. To be accurate it’s carbon fiber bits (powder) mixed into the fiberglass resin that makes the shaft and mixed in with the nylon blades. Strengthens and stiffens the whole affair to a degree. Nice paddle. Durable with good performance. I use a number of them in my instructional fleet.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

JackL, diam. clarification

Thanks for the clarification. I don’t know what the diameter of the ONNO is although I’ve used one briefly, so I can’t recall the degree of difference in diameter or the shape of the indexing. If you get a chance try a Lendal NA, any model. Very different profile to the indexing than the Werners. Been very pleased with it and it’s performed well for me.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

Feel and Swing Weight
Feel on the shaft is a personal thing and you can adjust to a different paddle over time, as long as it is not totally “wrong” for some reason (e.g., too small diameter for a large hand or too thick for a small hand, etc.).

The feel on the water is even more important. Too big blade will tire you, low angle blade used in high-angle style will not work well, etc.

The swing weight is quite important too (i.e., how heavy the blades feel). A paddle with light true carbon blades (as opposed to plastic or fiberglass blades with some carbon in them) will make a huge difference. Next time you are in a shop, try the Werner Cyprus or Kalliste to see what I mean (not saying those are the right paddles for you, just see how they feel in terms of weight). A paddle like the Softwoods with a wood shaft maybe a touch heavier than a full-carbon shaft paddle but has low swing weight and is great on the water too (but is one piece, so can’t break it down for storage).

Then, there are the Greenland style paddles - those who try and spend some time with one usually don’t go back to Euro style blades for general touring and even for most paddling. Same with wing paddles - if yu like speed, that’s what you need :slight_smile:

paddle ignorance
my local “ocean state job lot” had chinese carbon fiber paddles on sale for $45 so i picked one up. now, i know next to nothing about what makes a good paddle, but i do know carbon fiber when i see it. it is about 1.5lbs lighter than the aquabond paddle that came with the used carolina 14 i purchased last week. i only spent about an hour with the ab paddle but i will try the china paddle next week and see how it goes.