Onno Paddles

I wanted to add another plug for Onno paddles. I ordered an Onno paddle recently that was customized significantly to my paddling stroke, body/boat size and intended uses. It is very well made and provides an extremely stable and flutter free pull (not sure on technical term). The entry at the initiation of the stroke is clean and crisp and - again - is solid the whole through the stroke. Two thumbs up for Onno.

Anyone know about the whitewater paddle?
I was considering purchasing a whitewater paddle from Patrick in the future and I was wondering if anyone had experience with it. How is it for river running, playboating, etc. How strong is the paddle? Thanks in advance for any responses.

Do they make real paddles
or only the ones with training wheels on them for double bladers?

Double Blader

– Last Updated: Jan-27-05 8:55 PM EST –

Sorry buddy, but the eskimos were way smarter than the indians when it came to moving human powered boats. You can do that "J" stroke all day long but I'll see you on the other side of the lake at my campsite when you pull in. The fish will be ready to eat by then.

I think I am the only
unhappy customers of Patrick’s.

I never contacted him, so I feel like this is a bit unfair to post in a public forum, but I bought the paddle only because of what I read here, so maybe there should be a bit of balance.

The problems I had with the paddle were as follows: I could never get it apart…I asked him to go easy on me when I ordered it because I read here about how tight they were, but I still needed help every time.

The blade simply dove when I tried to do any sculling or bracing. I thought I’d grow into it, but after 3 weeks could not get the blade to do anything but have a very sweet feel during the forward stroke. And it wasn’t just me, I gave the paddle to a number of very skilled paddlers and they had the same experience.

After three weeks the blade broke. I asked Patrick after I rec’d the paddle about having the finish on only one side and having the fabric exposed on the other side of the blade, and he said that strength was not an issue and came from the cloth, not the finish. Well, my blade broke in half when I trying to get the thing apart. It was a total shock because I really didn’t put much pressure on it. The reason I never called to ask for a refung was because I left in in the back of a van after a large group paddle (not intentionally) and never saw it again. That was probably lack of motivation on my part. Such is life, I’m not a bad loser.

Having said all that, Patrick is a pleasure to deal with and I really had the feeling that he worked hard to make a paddle that suited me. I’m not sure if others had the problem of the blades diving…maybe I just got a lemon.


Maybe alone, maybe not…
… but technically I’m not a customer. I tried to order a wing, but he wouldn’t sell me one.

We had gotten it down to what model/length and such - after a week or so of back and forth to get his input. I wanted to see what suggestions he had first, though nothing changed from what I had originally asked about him making over that time.

Then I made the mistake of emailing to confirm if he was actually going to make it or not. That set him off, hurt his feelings, whatever. He suggested I go with my plan B, which I promptly did (thanks again for the lead Grayhawk - your/Frank W’s barely used EPIC is very nice).

I apologized to Patrick for whatever offense he had taken, but at some point I simply had to ask if it was a go or not since he would not confirm/commit. I was not pushing or rushing as I had time - I was just trying to get a straight answer on if he was taking the order and how long it would take. He had given me the distinct feeling he really didn’t want to do a wing (or maybe not now), which prompted my direct question, but if that were the case I just wish he would have said so up front.

In the end, I hope no harm no foul. I got a great paddle for even less - and he didn’t have to sell one of his to someone he didn’t want to. It’s his business, he can do as he pleases.

I’m sure Patrick makes a fine product and is a great person. I’ve had many great email exchanges off forum with him on many topics before this. No need for others to rush to his defense here. His work can speak for itself. I post this only so others will full realize they are dealing with a unique person, not a business. Caveat Emptor.

I too had talked to Patrick a few times and then tried to order one. Emailed and called several times to no avail…

I have yet to see one of his paddles in person but they get some great reviews…

Oh yeah?
At least I don’t have towear a skirt when I paddle!

( although a poodle skirt might make my naturally curly hair look nice;)

I Have Two Onnos

– Last Updated: Jan-28-05 5:50 AM EST –

one for touring and one for surf/white water. I obviously use the surf/white water more since I mostly use a GP for touring.

Pat followed the specs and offset I custom ordered for both. Like Burger King, I had it my way. :)

Initial frustration was as mentioned, getting the paddle to seperate. It's a wicked tight fit. However, after getting used to Pat's instruction on how to do it, I haven't had a problem taking it apart though, yeah, it takes much more effort than any of my other TAPs. Once together, the paddles are very light (carbon fiber) and feels like a single piece.

The blades have a very distinct centerline from which the rest of the blade angles out on both sides. Most other paddle blades, especially, white water, have pretty smooth faces. The Onno design makes sculling and bracing extremely easy. It may be confusing for those who rely on sight of the paddle angle to roll or scull since the angle of how the blade flares out from the middle is different from what others may be used to. I am pretty used to sculling and rolling by feel of the blade through the water since I switch around paddles a bit more than most folks, from ww to modern tour to GP. My suspicion is that on a forward stroke, the paddle blade may not be as effective as a smooth face blade since one half of the blade may not be in the right angle. This is thereotical suspicion since it's not one I really notice when I am in surf or white water. Plus the blades are pretty big honkin ones.

I have used my surf/ww blade in both venues. It survived pretty well until I got maytagged right next to the shore. I rolled my boat over one blade and cracked it -- a "L" shape fracture that went 2" went from side towards the middle and then 1" going along the length. Though it wasn't nice to look at, I actually finished the session with at least another hour of surfing with no mishaps. I patched it up with a layer of 6 oz glass on both sides of the crack and epoxy. The paddle feels like new except for my half a$$ looking patch job. In terms of fragility, I think if I were to get trashed and rolled over any carbon blade, as I did with the Onno, I would likely have cracked blade still. I think if one is concerned with the toughness issue, then it would be best to go with a fiberglass layup. I have a custom Werner fibeglass WW paddle of the same dimensions but a 30 offset rather than the Onno's 15. I haven't used that Werner for over a year. It feels like a club compared to the Onno. In surf, I sprint alot to get through the break zone, over and over again. For me it's easier to have a paddle that seems to fly and gets me out of the critical zone asap

Right now I back using my shorter Big Spoons protype paddle and the Onno sits in the car as a back up. The switch is primarily due to the fact that I have more maneuverability when I surfing a steep wave where the wave face can be right next to me. I surfing bigger waves these days than I used to. I need less paddle length and more room to maneuver. The Big Spoons paddle has a heavier glass shaft and carbon fiber blades. The Big Spoons blade edges seem more prone to splintering and wear than my Onno. So, I often have to sand it down and epoxy after some rough sessions (lest I risk carbon splinters in my hands or immersion gear). I guess, eventually, I'll have stubby "Little Spoon" blades. ;) One distinct functional difference I really noticed between my Onno and the Big Spoons is that the right sweep, back deck roll -- the "offside" -- is more unreliable with the Big Spoon than with the Onno. The reason has to do with the offset and the above mention of the Onno blade shape. I think the Onno allows me to "cheat" more on that offside with less than perfect technique/body positioning.

Would I order another Onno. Yes, when I have the money (after other priorities), I would probably go with a shorter, one piece Surf/ww paddle in the 170 cm range rather than the one 185 cm I have now. Since it'll be shorter and lighter one piece, I may go with fiberglass to get more toughness in lieu of lighter weight.


Probably not alone
I experienced some communications breakdowns with ONNO and just switched over to AT, where they will do a custom job for me in a couple days.

Patrick can shorten the paddle for you. The ONNO paddles have to be kept lightly greased and although it took her a while my wife can now take hers apart. If the paddle is warm, dip it in the water to cool it off before trying to take it apart. I have not noticed any tendency to dive while sculling.

Ditto here…
I tried, never got a response or didn’t get through, and went with another option. If I ever do run across one, I’ll remember to raise my eyebrows in envious appreciation, drink with my pinky held straight out, and ponder how I ever could have enjoy these past few years of paddling without one.

Good thing you’re the type that can just let it go and go on paddling. :slight_smile:


I’d never hold a grudge…
…except for maybe against those tilley hat owners…THEY really think that they’re somthing…an onno, a tilley and this paddle-ball game, and that’s all I need…

Tight ONNO Paddles
Just take some fine emory cloth and take a little off the inside.

I think ONNO paddles are a great value.

West coast thing…
Has anyone in Florida been able to get one?

I am in New England.

You gotta figure that Onno is a one man shop and take that into consideration when ordering. Heck, my custom Werner took about 5 weeks and that’s a factory with more hands going at it.

Of course, if folks aren’t getting through or email are being answered… Well, Pat’s gotta figure out a better system for getting back to folks.


Yes I have one.
Full tour Signature layup. Paddle doesn’t flutter regardless of the angle and a lightweight thing of beauty.

Hats off to Pat.

Yes Greyhawk …
I’d order a full tour model this pass summer & it has been every thing i wanted as an up grade from an AquaBound paddle. It has been loyal to me in any conditions I could find over here on the West coast of Fla (which some say IS the right coast of Florida). As far as my ordering experience, it is a common theme that it might take numerous attempts to reach ONNO (like 4 e-mails & 3 phone calls), but Patrick is very good/knowledgeable on the phone, and the product is worth the wait. It takes a leap of faith for some to trust “the net” when it comes to buying a product worth a few hundred dollars unseen… but it didn’t concern me, I paddle a QCC.

Good Thing You Didn’t Order…
a Betsie Bay kayak. Otherwise you’ll be waiting since that’s a pretty much a small operation too. :slight_smile: