Paddle Quality....

I am still in the “recreational” stage of my paddling life I think… I don’t see the value or the need for a very nice quality canoe paddle. I have had a wood Caviness and a plastic Caviness, both very cheap.

I stick to rivers and lakes, so maybe I am not the the caliber that I need a really nice paddle? What makes the high end paddles nicer than the ones I got? I mean, they paddle pretty good… lol

Moving to a better paddle…
is a great idea. I used to use heavy old beavertails. Then, I picked up a used pair of Camp bentshafts(now FoxWorx). My paddling experiences became a lot less painful. You can pick one up for less than $100. I’ve had good experiences with Mitchell aswell. Now, I mostly use a carbon ZRE Power Curve for whitewater, but I think you would be happy with the FoxWorx. Good luck!


lighter and look nicer
More expensive paddles are typically lighter and prettier. They may have more comfortable and ergonomic grips and nicely ovalized shafts that fit the hand better.

As mentioned, they don’t flutter when drawn through the water on a power stroke, and they slice cleanly through the water during and in-water recovery.

If you find your current paddle comfortable and are not experiencing these issues, you don’t need to buy a better paddle. As you paddle more, you may encounter these issues and at that point you would appreciate a better paddle more.

It is like anything else. Beyond a certain “sweet spot” in price, the cost accelerates exponentially for a very modest increase in quality.

How much do you paddle?
If you paddle frequently (in my world, that is at least once a week or even once every couple weeks), or, when you paddle, it is for extended times or distances, you could benefit from a better paddle. Your arms will thank you, and you will find you have better control over your boat. On one long trip, I paddled some distance with a run of the mill beavertail, and thought it was pretty swell. I then paddled a long while on this same trip (a multi-day trip) with a nice carbon bent shaft, and that was pretty swell too, maybe slightly better in my mind…until I switched back to the original paddle and REALLY felt the difference. Wow!

If you’re truly just a recreational paddler, getting out only once in a great while, and not doing a lot of miles per day, stick with whatever paddle makes you happy.


Like anything else, buy the best
quality you can afford that suits your needs and is made as locally and/or responsibly as possible. If that means a Caviness paddle to you, then that’s good 'nuff.

I thought the same way until…
a fellow canoeist said to take their paddle to try!

WOW !!! - that paddle flew up almost out of my hands it was so light - it was a “beautiful” paddle. A ZRE - Zaveral carbon paddle with a slight bent shaft. I am still waiting to get one - i paddle a kayak now but when I switch back, this will be first on my list, next to a new canoe!

The evolution of the average paddlers

– Last Updated: Nov-22-10 8:42 PM EST –


When you start as a newbie, you "know it all" or like most of us you are a little ignorant on paddles and you know for sure that all you need is the cheapest and the strongest, so you buy the cheapest and the strongest.

Then you advance to become an intermediate paddler, and you realize that your cheapest and strongest was not the best, and you should upgrade, so you go out and handle some at your local paddle shop, and buy one a little better and it feels more comfortable.

A year or so goes by and you are now at the high end of being an intermediate, and you are meeting experts, who let you try out their paddle, and then all of a sudden you know why high end paddles are in the future for you, so after a lot of reading, studying and trying various ones you get one and live happily ever after.

I don't know what happens when you become an "expert"
I haven't reached that yet and never will, but seem quite content with my ZRE bent shaft.

Jack L

Good Paddle or Good Canoe
I owned a good paddle and a good pfd long before I owned a good canoe.

To this day I would rather paddle a Coleman with my Mitchell than paddle a Wildfire with a heavy oak stick.

My first season with a canoe after six
years of kayaking. I started off with a cheap old wooden paddle that was in my garage for years. It started life as an emergency paddle in a small powerboat. After several trips, I went looking for something a bit better and settled on a really nice Werner Carbon Fiber paddle. It makes a world of difference for me. Light as a feather and seems to grab more water easily. I wouldn’t go back. Next year, maybe I’ll try a bent paddle.

The old wood paddle is now the emergency stick in my canoe. Kind of like being a good backup catcher with no stick. (Pun intended)

Good paddles are like crystal meth. Once you experience it, going without is hard if not impossible.

Luckily, paddles are cheaper and do not cause bodily harm. You WILL spend countless hours in outfitters shops fondling the wares though. But they will not ask you to leave. Not so at Victoria’s Secret.


Its only an addiction if you are trying to quit!

Bending branches
Check out Bending branches paddles. both there canoe and kayak paddles are Good quality. with lots of price ranges to work with. you can go pretty high or keep it around 70$. a slight to decent upgrade can be had at a good price.what some have said about upgrading is realy learn to like the better paddle. the older paddle you will feel a noticable difrence using the paddle you upgraded from.

I love my Zav.

A Lot
In season, I was paddling 3-5 times week. It would be for about 1-2 hours at a time. I dont experience the issues that everyone is taking about. No wobble in the power stroke… and the wood Caviness is smooth when I keep it in the water for smooth strokes… I am glad I lucked out! lol

Sounds like you’re happy
with what you have.

Better paddles are better. But good enough is good enough.

Not me
I’d much rather paddle your Wildfire with an aluminum shaft, plastic bladed Carlisle than I would your Coleman with a bent-shaft ZRE power surge.

some other makers of decent paddles
that aren’t outrageously expensive are


and Sawyer:

So you are the pervert that I saw

– Last Updated: Nov-22-10 8:43 PM EST –

getting thrown out of Victorias secret the other day, while I was "window shopping" !

Jack L

Sage advice
You must be related to Voltaire.

Apples to Oranges

– Last Updated: Nov-20-10 6:05 PM EST –

The Op is using entry level paddles and should probably upgrade in stages as paddling proficiency, taste and wallet allow. If we're talking high end wood paddles, I'll add to the list.
Quimby who who make impeccable paddles to order. (I don't have current contact info. for him.)
Dogpaddle who also makes impeccable paddles to order and generally has a small supply on hand. (

First canoe I bought
Came with two paddles. One a kevlar maxiflight and the other a wenonah blade.(both used as was the canoe)

My oldest son relinquished his Bending branches stick and used the kevlar blade from then on. Once I got my Zav I relinquished all lesser blades. I will freely admit though that I like the distance paddles, and a carlisle would be too much effort over 25-30-35-40 or 70 miles in a day.

Oh I sold the canoe but still have the kevlar paddle…