paddle advice needed

-- Last Updated: Sep-13-07 1:43 PM EST --

Hi everyone, I'm back from a great vacation in Maine and got some great ocean paddling in. I still don't have my own kayak (lots of financial "surprises" this summer), but I would like to go ahead and get my own paddle. I find that when I go on tours with guides or rent boats, the paddles are often quite clunky and heavy, taking some of the enjoyment out of it. Since I don't have a kayak yet, the boats I use are different beams every time, and so are the conditions (ocean, pond etc.).

I thought it would be a good idea to get a paddle that is adjustable in lenght, like the Bending Branches paddles, so that I can go adjust according to beam and conditions. The beam I will eventually end up with with my own boat will probably be about 21 or 22". In terms of blade size, I would like to get one that can do low angle and occasional high angle, so smallish but not the smallest.

The length I would want is 210 to 230 (or 215 - 225 is how I think BB makes them). I am 5'7", but have fairly narrow shoulders, and not a lot of upper body strenght, so weight is a factor. I'd probably go with a small but straight shaft. I find that on (Werner) bend shafts the place where you hands go is too far apart for my shoulder width.

I did look at product reviews but the number of blade styles confuses me. I would really welcome your opinions on BB paddles in general, on the idea of adjustable lenght, and if my description is good enough for you to give a specific model suggestion, that would be great too. Do any other manufacturers make adjustable lenght paddles? I'd like to spend under $300, with $200 sounding much better.

Thanks very much, and hope you've all had great paddling days this summer! -SR

Get a Epic "Length Lock"
they adjust very easily with a screw type ferrule.

They adjust in ten cm increments, and the feather is also adjustable.



Good idea
Getting your own paddle even though you don’t have a kayak yet. I found that nearly all rental places only had 220 or 230 cm paddles, which was way too long for my small self. Hopefully, that situation is changing.

I can’t offer you any suggestions for adj. length paddles, though. Good luck in your search.

I found the Windswift by Eddyline
to be an extremely efficient, light paddle suitable for both low angle and high angle paddling. YMMV

fiberglass Werner

– Last Updated: Sep-13-07 4:24 PM EST –

The fiberglass Werner paddles go for about $250. (The carbon Werners will break your budget, but they're not *that* much lighter.)

The Aquabound paddles are somewhat less refined than the Werners, but cheaper.

I've never used a Bending Branches kayak paddle, but the BB canoe paddles I've used were heavier and coarser-edged than I like.

Adjustable-length: Lendal, Bracsa, and Epic make these. I don't think any of them will allow a 20 cm difference, but Lendal also offers extension tubes.

-- Mark

Custom Made Piece of Art
for $175:

It ain’t adjustable.

these look good
On the high end of my price range, but it looks like what I need. Wish there was a way to try them out, maybe Jersey Paddler has them. Thanks very much!

and love the name! Never tried a greenland before, for my first paddle I’ll go with a two-piece though. It makes a better spare in the future.

nice blade colors
but they don’t adjust in lenght from what I can see… thanks though.

Greenland Paddles
make great spares and are less fuss than 2 piece.

I got stuck using a fairly heavy 230 in 15 knots and 2 foot chop last time… maybe you can get your own paddle too, Pikeabike, I think it’ll make a big difference.

spare placement
where do you place a GP on your deck as a spare? I’ve only seen paddles in halves stuck under the back bungees. I am intriqued by GPs and would love to try one. Do you prefer them over euro style for all kinds of conditions, or specifically for certain conditions?

Thanks for the names, I will look into them. Had never heard of Bracsa.

Feathercraft makes a 2 piece
Greenland Paddle called the Klatwata. I have one that I use when I fly somewhere.

Otherwise, a one piece GP will usually store nicely on a front deck. IMHO, the GP is much better than those European shovels many paddlers use.

Once you use a stick for a while, you’ll never go back.

On the bow of my boat
Have an end just infront or on the side of my cockpit.

wing or no wing?
OK, just to make it even harder, what are the advantages/disadvantages of wing shapes versus “no wing” shapes?

If you want to go faster you need
a wing.

It is as simple as that.

If you want to race, a wing is a must.

With a wing you use a high angle stroke.

With a Euro you use eiter a high or low angle depending on your preference.

What ever length your Euro is, your wing paddle length will be shorter.



And There’s the Storm
A storm paddle is sort of a ‘mini GP’. A compact spare paddle.

I switched over to Greenland recently. I think the GP outshines the euro the very most when it comes time for a re-enter and roll. You don’t have to think at all. Just do it.

Rolling with an extended Greenland paddle is so easy you feel like you’re cheating.

Got to try someones this last June
Fella had a GP and a Storm (short GP) he had made from solid cedar 2 x 4. Loved it. It was a bit short for me.

Bought me a 16’ Western Red Cedar 2 x 4 recently - - gonna make me a couple paddles.

Epic Relaxed Tour with Length Lock
if you’re not a strong paddler.

I’m not a strong paddler and find that the Bending Branches Spirit with Day blade, Werner Camano and Onno Mid Tour all have larger blades (more work) than I like and they wear me out sooner and make my joints ache more than my Epic Relaxed Tour full carbon. My Epic has a 215cm to 225cm length adjustment, which works well for me for high angle in my 22.25" wide Aquaterra Sea Lion or for high angle in my 28" wide Sawyer Loon decked canoe as well as my other solo canoes with narrow gunwales. It also works well for low angle strokes in the narrower boats. My wife and I use it set to 215cm in our 25" wide Old Town Castines.

I have the full carbon with burgandy shaft and it is very easy on the joints and good for paddling longer with less tiring. This is my favorite paddle.

My only experience is with the full carbon, and much higher priced than your stated range, but if the lower priced signature construction feels anywhere near as nice to use, then it’s a bargain at it’s price.

Good luck. I think that starting with a great paddle is wise. It will make all boats that you test much more pleasureable than paddling a great boat with a paddle that’s not to your liking.