Looking for better rock bashing paddle

I’m sick of tearing up nice wood paddles, they just don’t last unless you give them constant maintenance. I really like the mohawk paddles a lot except they don’t have the nice feel of a wood paddle.

My teen boys and I are pretty tough on gear. And our begining canoeing friends are really tough on paddles.

Is their a paddle that feels as good as wood that is as tough as plastic without being to expensive? Our river trips are only day trips so paddle weight is as important as durablity and feel.

I would start by giving your “beginner
canoeing friends” beater paddles.

Then the next thing I would do is put a little more concentration on the depth that you are planting your paddle vs. the depth to the rocks below the surface.

If I am lilly dipping, I can use my ZRE in water where the hull of the canoe is occasionaly bumping the bottom and yet I don’t hurt the paddle.

I know this is not what you want to hear but I don’t think a paddle exists that will qualify for your specs unless it is a big old heavy el cheapo plastic one which still doesn’t qualify for your specs.



Werner Rec maybe? not that cheap though

I’ve had good luck with these. Not a bad feel and they do take a beating. But, they are now over $100.

My Bending Branches got bit yesterday
Paddling yesterday, I got my Bending Branch, Expedition, paddle wedged inbetween rocks at a point where I was going downstream. I felt it right away and tried to pull the paddle back, but due to my forward movement the paddle was already pinched. Like DougD says, when your pole gets stuck, you learn to let it go. I held onto the paddle as the paddle snake clamped its jaws onto the blade, which cracked as I extracted it. Shoulda let go, but its hard to tell yourself that in a rapid when you know you need to make a move to keep from wrecking.

The crack is about an inch above the tip and extends about three inches from an edge toward the center of the blade. It held up for the rest of the trip

What’s the common wisdom on cracked paddles? Toss it, or dry it out good and put more glass on it?

Up until last summer, I was using the Werner Rec paddle. The shaft snapped on the Werner, which I possibly could have prevented by painting the shaft every year or two during it’s six year life. As the paint wore off, the underlying fiberglass became exposed, and I think UV damage probably contributed to the paddle snapping (I’m not THAT strong!). For the price, I might go back to the Rec paddle.

The Werner Bandit is another option. It paddles more nicely and costs more than the Rec. I can’t tell you how tough, although I have seen used Bandits for (season ending) sale by outfitters. I’d like to think the outfitters wouldn’t use them if they weren’t tough.

If you can find an old Norse paddle, get it and let your beginners use it. Heavy, but I can’t imagine breaking one.

~~Chip Walsh, Gambrills, MD


– Last Updated: Jul-09-07 2:07 PM EST –

I have a Werner Rec paddle I have been using since the early 1990s. It has taken a real beating, and I still carry it as a backup paddle on those occasions that I know I'm going to be running some rocky/shallow water. I no longer worry what happens to it, and it seems nearly indestructible.

If I were you, I'd try to find a used one before I purchased a new one. I wouldn't pay 100 bucks for any paddle I was going to use as a "beater". Put up a free ad in pnets wanted section; you might be pleasantly surprised.......

I recently purchased a Werner Bandit. In my opinion, it is too nice/too expensive a paddle to use as a "beater" paddle.

A fairly inexpensive "beater" paddle, if they still make them? is the Mohawk paddle with the black plastic t-grip & blade, and an aluminum shaft.


Bending Branches "Rockgard"
Hmm what is inexpensive?

Anyway I have a Bending Branches Loon (I think) with their “Rockgard” tip. It goes for around $60 and I’ve been grinding rocks and poling with it for about a year now. No complaints. It is wood and will need a bit of maintenance one of these days.

My Mitchel is tougher and has a better feel but it’s a $200 stick.


– Last Updated: Jul-10-07 1:59 AM EST –

I don't think a $100.00 Werner Rec paddle is inexpensive. I did consider a second hand/barely used one that I purchased for $50.00 as inexpensive.

A $150.00 Werner Bandit is an expensive paddle as far as I'm concerned. Any paddle that costs more than $150.00 is simply "more expensive".

The Mohawk paddle I described is an example of what I consider an inexpensive paddle. The program I worked for used them with teenagers; they can really "test" a paddle! I think they were about $30.00 each. It was not unusual for them to last up to 10 years; unless that got used as a pry bar, pullup bar, ladder, or trapeze. Yes, all those usages were attempted

I wouldn't pay more that $50.00 for a paddle that I knew I was going to subject to a lot of abuse.


Frank, I have three Norse paddles
that aren’t too worn, and besides moving water, are good for digging your car out of the mud, or hacking bears to death.

shallow water?
Is shallow water and a hard bottom the problem? Have you tried poling? A home-made pole can be made for under $20.

Just an idea…


Two favourites
I like the Aquabound Edge for a synthetic. I have the black, but I bet the white is almost as good, just a bit heavier.

For a wood paddle, I like the Grey Owl Hammerhead.

Both of these are moving water paddles, and I switch to something less aggressive on the flats.

maybe we’ll try poling
but then agian the teens may fall out of the boats even more and be more likely to bash their heads on a rock.

Norse Paddle
Hey, I’m looking for a Norse and saw you post that you had a few extras. A friend of mine sold his a little while back, so I’ve tried it out and know it’s a solid paddle, but didn’t decide to buy one until recently. Just let me know how much you’re asking and hopefully we can figure something out.

If you could call me at (217) 819-8357 and leave a message (I’m usually not around), that’d probably be the easiest way to contact me.