Ottertail Paddles

I need some help from the board. I’ve spent some time with the search function but I haven’t found answers to my question. I’m considering purchasing my first ottertail paddle. Are there any brands that stand above others in terms of quality? I’ve seen references to Sawyer, Grey Owl, and Shaw and Tenney. Are there other I should consider? Does anyone have any expereince with the paddles Nova Craft is selling?

Thanks in advance for taking time to answer.


Turtle Paddles
and Ray Kettlewell make some of the best ottertail paddles. Also Lloyd Stonehouse out of Arnprior ON

Ottertails sure come in a variety of shapes and materials.

It was sad when Mr Hilton passed away. He had just started making wicked fine ottertail paddles and died suddenly.

Look for smaller independendent mfrs. The big companies usually have their paddles made by someone else.

I have several Grey Owl paddles but not an ottertail and their quality is quite good.

Love my Kettlewell!
These look like they might be a bargain:

Also, that Dri-K (?) guy from Maine that sells ash paddles on eBay makes ottertails too, I think.

You can make your own ottertail
buy a paddle making book.

This one is very complete

Shaw and Tenneys paddles have a thick shaft and tend to be heavy.

I have an ottertail in black walnut,
and it is one of my favorite paddles, I just put 2 coats

of varnish on the blade and lower shaft. It’s made by

Walden Sports of Canada, and I have not been able to find

anything about them. Black walnut is light, and makes

things happen right now when paddling with it.

Closest I can find to it is an ottertail made by American

Traders. They make excellent paddles, and I have a cherry

beavertail of theirs that is also a favorite of mine.

Good luck!

I noticed in the "This is Canoeing"
video that several of the paddlers were using what appeared to be thick shafted paddles.I suspect,being who they are, they made the paddles themselves or had them made to their specs.

The last most recent discussion…

For a surprising deal -
try - search on ottertail

One to avoid . . .
I really like some of the redtail paddles, as long as they don’t have that limiting assymetrical grip. The classic ones are a great value.

Grey Owl makes a good product, and always has. I’m less fond of their high quality traditional paddles, but this is a personal preference only - there is no denying they know what they are doing.

My favourite carved yokes come from Teal. I was expecting they made nice paddles, too. Nope. The Teal paddle I handled in the store was a club, out of balance, heavy, and not particularly fine on the edges. It was finished well enough and looked OK. If I had one, I would have someone do some art on it and hang it up in a cabin. Not in the same league as the better companies’ paddle offerings (though I do like their yoke!)