paddle suggestions -new paddler

-- Last Updated: Aug-09-09 10:00 PM EST --

I'm new to paddling and to this forum. my wife and i bought two pungo Kayaks.mine is 12' hers 10' small lakes and slow rivers. we now need paddles I'm 5'10" and she is 5'4" We don't want to spend too much but don't want to buy junk or something we will be unhappy with either.
the shop where we bought the boats offer 15% off but it seems i'm finding better prices online.
any advice, suggestions?
thanks in advance for your help!

The Magic Plus…
…made by Carlisle is a nice general use paddle for not too much money.

AT has a new paddle that’s decent, fairly light and relatively inexpensive.

Bill H.

…is a great brand when looking at quality vs. cost. I suggest either the Stingray or the Mantaray. You can find them on-sale at from time to time.


– Last Updated: Aug-10-09 1:14 PM EST –

paddle is not the place to skimp.

A good one can increase your water time and pleasure immeasurably, the wrong one can make you wonder why you ever thought this would be fun.

And with the "end of summer" sales just warming up, you can get a good paddle for about the cost of a mediocre one.

Esp. for the wife. Due to their musculature, women esp. petite ones are more prone to repetitive injuries in the shoulders. Every swing w. extra ounces adds up.

Treat her to a "better" paddle - relatively light (ntx 30 oz) If she has small hands, a small shaft paddle is worth trying.

My jury is out on whether bent shaft (neutral or otherwise) are really worth the extra ounces and cost for people w. healthy (nondamaged) arms who use proper technique.

However, if one of you already has a wrist, tendon or elbow issue, they may be worth their weight in gold. Buying without trying online might be like tearing up a couple of $20 bills per paddle for this feature.

You can go a few routes:

1. wooden paddles incl. those by Bending Branches,Sawyer and others.
2. Go traditional (Greenland) Make or buy depending on your time and talents.
3. Euro style: avoid aluminum shaft - heavy, clunky,
no "give" --> hard on joints.

Generally a good Euro paddle will offer
Fiberglass or fiberglass hybrids in shaft and

Besides the other names thrown out there
consider Bending Branches. Especially their
smaller slimmer blades like the Evening
Breeze series.
for relaxed paddling and/or low angle
paddling which often mates well w. wide rec
boats like the Pungo series.

Being larger and likely more muscular proportionately, you'll use a longer, wider blade with more surface area than your wife's, but don't go too big while you're learning.

And absolutely do not go for a whitewater blade, no matter how low the sale price. WW people need a blade capable of making quick, dramatic course adjustments unlike anything you will be doing.
The shape of their blade is different for that and other reasons. Touring blades are different.

Consider getting one of the paddles w. adjustable length. That way you both can experiment w. infinite adjustments. And, if you move on to different boats that are narrower, or your paddling angle gets higher, you can dial down the paddle length.

Since you are new to kayaking, I would strongly advise you to try before you buy, esp. in your own boats. Would you buy your first tennis racker or set of golf clubs online without swinging them?

An online deal is no deal if the fit and feel is wrong. Avail yourself of the expertise of the local paddleshop & give them a chance to price match. Also give them your support as they will be great resources for you if you really get into the sport and want different boats and/or gear.

2nd Aquabound. Campmor has them
at good prices.

small blades area
If I were to have a ‘paddle picking do-over’ I would have gone to smaller blades initially, rather than later on. I had assumed you’d get more distance per stroke with a larger blade area, but for most people, the opposite turns out to be true. Other than a slight reduction in acceleration (and only when I’m not tired) I seemed to go farther and faster with a smaller blade area. I would seriously consider this point when selecting a paddle for the smaller person.

not so very good
just checked their page… $5 - $20 off. Can do a lot better nosing around at paddleshops right now. Can do a lot better elsewhere online.

Campmor page has the low end ABs with the wrist busting aluminum shafts, and then the carbon models. These folks would be well served by quality and price points inbetween.

I like campmor for certain outdoor items but never buy anything from them unless it’s out of season. That’s when the real savings start.

at - Aquabound Seaclude at $99, with a 20% off coupon good on the purchase of one paddle (assuming they buy two) til Thursday. 30 oz Carbon/nylon blend in the wider lengths they’ll prolly need for the Pungos. BB Breeze for $169 @ 29 oz - $20 off saves over $33.

And they have the option to pick up at a store for zero s&h.

both paddles are seconds w. cosmetic blemishes -as if that would matter a week after they are on the water.

with diligent searching more deals are out there. If I had the time/interest I’d find them. Just offer as a quick example.

Still IMO these folks need to demo some paddles before they click and buy, and before that give the local shop a chance to price match. They have inventories to reduce too, y’know '-)

Regardless of what paddle you get…
Make sure it’s the right length for you and the boat. A paddle too long, will make it difficult for you or your wife to paddle properly. I’d suggest that you buy a paddle in a shop where you can sit in a boat (something similar to the boats you bought) and then try the paddles. You won’t be in water, but you should be able to judge where the water would be and that the paddle blade is submerged completely. Or just try sitting in a chair and do a few strokes.


canon and werner
I have a few werner paddles that are fine, but not the least expensive. Don’t be afraid to look on craigs list or check with the local clubs to see if there are any used paddles for sale.

My canon paddle is their bottom of the line plastic and aluminum model and it is lighter than all my other paddles except the full carbon werner that retails for about 5 times the cost.

Don’t get too short either
I second most of the advice on here but want to add a proviso on length – one poster warned against buying too long a paddle but I find most people buy too short. The recreational boats you’ve bought are fairly wide in the beam. Any paddle less than 240cm will have you banging your knuckles on the gunwales. This is especially true for your wife. It’s not necessarily true that a shorter person needs a shorter paddle – in fact it is the opposite. Women are not only shorter in general than men, they are shorter still in the upper body with shorter arms, therefore their angle of entry with the paddle to clear the hull and hit the water is not as high. Therefore a shorter paddle won’t hit the water deep enough without banging the hull – not enough reach at the long angle from the cockpit. At 5’ 5" and short-waisted (more like a 5" 3" person when sitting) I prefer a 240cm in my regular boats. In my narrower lower profile Greenland kayak I can use an 84" (= 213cm) with no problem.

Your wife might prefer a Greenland paddle, actually. They require somewhat less effort and are less tiring over long trips. There is a guy who makes them and sells them on Ebay frequently or you can have one custom made for between $160 and $220. Seems like a lot, but, believe me, the quality of your paddle is even more important than the kayak in your enjoyment of paddling – after all, you are constantly moving with that tool in your hands! You and your paddle are the driving engine.

Werner Fit Guide
Take a look at the Werner Paddle fit guide:

You can use it to get an idea of what type paddle may work right for each of you, reguardless of brand. Then you can look for similar paddles.

Aquabound - carbon with carbonABX blades

– Last Updated: Aug-21-09 4:04 PM EST –

are very nice and pretty lightweight. (Stingray blade) Just bought some from REI for 134 ea. -not a bad price I bought 220,230,240 as we have different boats of different widths. I also ordered from REI (they have the longer version on sale still) a Bending Branches Evening Breeze plus adjustable from 215-230 which is a very nice paddle also. It feels completely different from the Aquabound in that it catches more - good or bad i dont really know, i guess personal preference. I am trying to find a euro style as my extra as i paddle 99% of the time with a Beale greenland paddle and 2 piece Greenland paddles are rare and very costly. If your wife doesnt like to paddle hard, this type of paddle is "pure heaven" in my opinion!!! They may look strange at first, but she will apprectiate it in the long run. The hard part is getting the right size made for you. Mine is a little too long in the loom but otherwise pretty darned good.

Good luck. It may be a trial and error thing like it was (is) for me!

I agree - dont skimp on the paddle - we have many paddles we let our kids friends use as i find them to big a blade or just to heavy for me now. My kids dont care but they dont paddle as much as my hubby and I do.

Another point to mention: I got the green blades on the Bending Branches and already many comments on how visible i was from afar. There is an even smaller blade (Twilight) which i plan to order soon by Bending branches. My goal is to find the smallest euro blade as i love the gp blade size

2-part Greenland paddle source
Friday Harbor Paddles will make any of his models for you in a two-piece version with a carbon fiber reinforced button lock for an extra charge. Though not a 2-piece, the paddle I have that he made is a gorgeous piece of woodworking and a pleasure to use. I’ve no doubt the 2-piece models are just as well finished. His prices are quite reasonable for the quality and the quick turnaround (he shipped my custom order in less than 2 weeks.)

thanks for the info on the 2pcGP
Are you in the Pittsburgh area? If so, perhaps i could take a look at your gp if local. You didnt happen to take that SOF to the Lake Arthur Regatta did you? I saw a very nice SOF there in early august.


that was my jade green SOF (with the Friday Harbor GP on the deck.) I’ll send you a private message.