paddle durability

I’ve heard that carbon fiber paddle blades tend to get beat up pretty easily. Does anyone have experience with this issue? I’m looking at a werner ikelos vs. a lendal. Any opinions on my selections? Thanks for your help. -Bryan

they all get beat up eventually
i’m not a composites expert and there probably are some on this site, but they will chip if you ding them hard on the edges. otherwise it will be more a slow wearing down. both those brands are so well made you won’t have to worry much. of course most people who buy those paddles take care not to grind on them too much. if you want the ultra light weight and performance of carbon blades there is a natural trade off. if you can’t live with the downside consider Aqua-bound carbon reinforced blades in the new ‘Ray’ series. very light and very tough at a reasonable cost.

they should be fine…
Unless you’re doing heavy rock gardening, there is nothing you should really be doing while sea kayaking that would damage those paddles. The Lendels are nice but I love the Ikelos. Werner also has great customer service. I use a full carbon Werner Sidekick when running whitewater and although I do get some chipping running boney midwestern rivers, it’s not a big deal. Also when I snapped off a blade running a particularly steep and shallow drop, Werner fixed it up and sent it back to me good as new. I also have carbon Aquabound whitewater and sea kayaking paddles for when I really want to beat the paddles around. If I didn’t paddle with a Greenland paddle, the Ikelos (straight shaft) would be my first choice for a Euro paddle.

My Experience
I use a lightning paddle with carbon blades. I regularly use it during entrys and exits where many times it is on a concrete ramp or rocks while being used as a lever. I have scraped it a couple of time on the boat and a few time on rocks or oysters on the bottom. So far I have seen no evidence of damage.

happy paddling,



– Last Updated: Oct-27-05 7:42 AM EST –

oh crap, I think I see a crack on the blade tip... :)

Seriously, a carbon fiber paddle ain't gonna take the same abuse as glass paddle. It's not going to last too long on boney white water runs. But for most ocean paddling and surfing, a well design carbon paddle is a delight to use (probably why I am willing to abuse it even in a boney run than use my glass Werner...). Of couse, I did crack my ONNO when I flipped and rolled over it in the foam pile of a shallow break.


I love my Lendal Carbon paddle
I have the Lendal Carbon Crank shaft, with the Carbon Kinetik Touring blades. It is IMHO the best paddle for me, and the touring paddling I do. It is light weight, and the blades have the best catch (IMHO) in the water of them all.

When I bought it, I was concerned, as I use the “Shore Brace” method to get in and out of my Kayak. I am 270 Lb, and paddle an Impex Assateague. I was afraid my weight would break the paddle or shaft. I have used it since April when I bought it, with no problems at all. I put the paddle shaft behind the combing, with the back of the paddle blade down against the ramp or shore. It has a few sctatches, but no damage.

Carbon layups can chip at the edges, but so can fiberglass lay-up paddles. I used a fine file, and rounded the edges of the blade a little, so as to not have a sharp edge. Sharp edges chip quicker.

What you don’t want to do is use a carbon (or fiberglass for that matter) blade as a pry bar to get yourself unstuck from between some rocks. That will break any composite blade, carbon or fiberglass. The thing I liked about the Lendal, is it I would break a paddle, I can just replace the blade, as it is a 4 piece design. I love the lock system they use, as the paddle is always solid, no wiggle like most 2 piece paddles.

If you buy Carbon, you do need to respect it a little more, but it is tougher than most people think. If you have any further questions, just ask! :slight_smile:

Happy Paddleing!

differences in carbon and others
Carbon is actually tougher than other materials in stiffness and tensile strength. However, it is more brittle more prone to cracks from stress risers and when it fails more catastophic.

Lendal and ATxception paddles are tougher but heavier. You choose. Pay and play.

You can design an all-carbon paddle
to be as break-resistant as a glass paddle, but you will give away some of the weight advantage of using carbon. Usually designers split the difference. You get less swing weight and you get a bit less resistance to abuse.

Have paddled my turbo paddle about 3 to 4,000 miles including 2 90 milers and 70 miler and 2 blackburn challenges. Same long blades for gentle catch. Turbo won olympic gold in athens and are superb. A few ounces heavier than epic but was in a race with a man with broken epic. Turbo is so rugged. And have padded the push pull part of shaft with white ethafoam strips about 1 " by 5 "(4 total). Soft feel to make shaft feel it has flex to soften effect of big wing. Excellent index marks.