Paddle Weight?

Uh, well…
I’m 210 and could self rescue with a super light paddle no problem.

If someone is putting any real weight on the shaft doing rescues, or just getting in and out, technique is too weak, not the paddle! Most weight should be on the boat - only small amounts for balance on the shaft/blade (and if someone finds they need to use a sling regularly - I say get a different hobby!).

turbo paddles are best
If you do a search for turbo paddles, you will see the best all round. I have a turbo with 5,000 miles on it and it is a bit shorter from so many rough surf launches and shallow races such as 90 miler and clinton 70 miler. This paddle is so rugged and light that a man named willows was using it and he was in the top 10 sprinter in the world. Some people love epic but I know 2 racers who still use them but one hit a rock and soon got a foot shorter. With then other hit a rock, the feather went to no feather on the lenght lock. Because I can only use one paddle at a time, I use turbos because I know I can smash thru years of rocks. Tomorrow will buy his new longer narrower blades because of less violent catch.

yes but,
paddle should be used for paddling,but for a beginner who doesn’t have your technique and doesn’t want to discover the breaking strength of their 32oz wood paddle,or 26oz carbon paddle it might not be a bad idea to enjoy a 32-42oz paddle while they learn the proper technique. The paddle need only break once to not be usable but a beginner might need more than one opportunity to learn good technique.

Ok, but…

– Last Updated: Aug-02-04 3:07 PM EST –

how does someone learn a good technique using a heavy paddle, and to make matters worse an Euro ... *L*


“enjoy” it! L

Sorry, I just can’t put “heavy paddle” and enjoyment in the same context.

“Heavy paddle” and “don’t know any better”, yes. I didn’t think the Harmony I used to use with an IK116 was heavy, until I got a Werner San Juan (for T160 SOT). Thought that was light until my carbon paddles.

Each upgrade was well worth the price (but if I’d stayed on a T160 SOT I’d have stuck with the Werner - which cost more than 1/3 what the boat did - as it was a good match and about the right compromise of strenth/weight for that boat).

Ice is right, extra paddle weight interferes with technique development - whether we are aware of it or not. Anything “works” under 10 miles at a casual pace. Mid weight paddles are fine for general paddling (25-30ish, a bit more with GPs as they’re weightless during stroke anyway). Lighter is better for technique though, because distance is better for technique and lighter is better over distance. Anyone really touring (or obviously racing) can benefit from better blades, but not everyone is really touring or doing much distance or speed.

What matters
If it feels good do it and good functioning design of a paddle. Some $ 90 paddles have it and some higher priced ones don’t. But certainly avoid the el cheopo square edged Carlisle or other like them and anything over about 40 ounces and resembling a branch when you hold them.


Your cage got rattled real easy!
Where did I say "that a paddle doesn’t need to be useful for self rescue?

Go back and read what I wrote, and then try to digest it.

If you think a light weight paddle is “stupid” and won’t make a difference for any paddler then your thinking is not too logical.

Now I fully expect one of your students to chime in here and come to your aid.

Cheers, and please try to stay happy,


light = strong
I just had to comment. I have been using an Epic touring full carbon paddle (20oz) and it’s been great. This past winter while getting ready for a race in Key Largo, some joker ran over my paddle with his trailer. I was very upset but very happy that my paddle is still in one piece (a few knicks) and still performs as before.

So, I’d say this carbon stuff is pretty darn good.

Keep paddling :slight_smile:

Arbitrary numbers
I didn’t mean to imply that 25 ounces is an absolute cutoff number, since paddles vary in weight depending on their length and one “carbon” paddle may have an entirely different layup than another. I’ve seen some ligher paddles that appear to be reasonably rugged. The Superior carbon GP is one of those.

What I’m speaking to is the trend toward paddles with blades so flimsy that you can easily flex them between your thumb and fingers. I’m also addressing paddles that come with warnings that you cannot use them for self rescue. While everyone is certainly free to choose for themselves, there’s no way in Hell I’d go out with a paddle that I couldn’t depend on to hold up when I really needed it to. IMO, that’s the very definition of “stupid light”. I also think that it’s wrong to recommend such equipment to “recreational” paddlers, since it’s really specialist’s gear. What do you do if you capsize, don’t know how to roll and only have a paddle that you can’t use for self rescue?

"To his defense"
Brian probably doesn’t consider I’m “one of his students”. I, on the other hand, can’t help to notice you may qualify as such yourself.

“Most here are recreational paddlers and even though they know how to self rescue will never have to use it.”

Why would any recreational paddlers need to know how to do self rescue if they “will NEVER have to use it”?

Seems to me your thinking isn’t any more logical than Brian’s.

Your implication was quite clear…
…and I doubt that I was the only one here who came to the same conclusion. Are you backpedaling already?

As with equipment in many sports, there is a line where the quest for light weight crosses over into impracticality for everyday use. I wouldn’t use the same 210 gram tires that I used to race on for everyday cycling. They simply wouldn’t hold up and their fragility would be a safety hazard. It’s no different with paddles.

I don’t have any “students” here and have no idea where you got that silly idea.

I obviously don’t need any assistance in expressing my opinions. My statements are based on my own experience and are simply intended to provide a common sense counterpoint to some of the impractical and potentially dangerous recommendations that are thrown about here with abandon. I know several people who’ve tried ultralight paddles that you’re so enamored of, had them break during routine use and have gotten rid of them in favor of products that will hold up better. If you’re a skilled paddler with a solid roll and you’re willing to coddle your equipment, they may work wonderfully for you. For the average person who just wants to go out and paddle and not have to worry about their gear, they’re impractical at best and a liability at worst.

I don’t think anyone here…

– Last Updated: Aug-02-04 9:07 PM EST – advocating "war clubs" like the Carlisle as the best paddle. There is a happy medium between weight and durability. There are paddles that go too far in both directions. Most paddlers are best served by something that falls within the happy medium range.

Onno Paddles
I have one for surfing and it is a pleasure to use. Patrick made it a little beefier than normal but it is still very, very light. I don’t brace off the bottom with it.

I have a Onno full tour and can do paddle float rescues with no problem and I weigh 200 lbs.

I would not suggest using these paddles in shallow white water but they are very strong for the weight and should be just fine for seakayaking or surfing. Last summer I braced off of a large barnacle encrusted rock in a rock garden in Baja, and the Full Tour was fine.

Have not seen padldes…
… like you describe - with flex and warnings. Examples? Ant not special order items? Any that a beginner is ever likely to end up with?

Now who is backpeddling?
I counted approximately, 9 posts here that sounded like they preferred lighter, and only a couple that agreed with you including Mr ABC who doesn’t seem to have a profile!

You stick with your heavy paddle, and I’ll stick with my light weight one, and I will keep advising any one to get as light as possible, since it will definately add to their paddling pleasure.

cheers and stay happy!


I saw that happen to you!!!

I hate to be coy…
…but I was trying to avoid naming names, since the products in question are good quality and well respected, just not durable. The manufacturers also make more rugged models as well as their ultralight paddles, so it wouldn’t be fair to criticize their entire product line by naming them. Let’s just say that I haven’t seen a paddle in the 19 oz. and under range that I would ever consider using.

I saw the boat trailer ,
run over your paddle at the B&B last February, incredible that nothing happened to it. I myself have an Epic mid-wing one piece, probably around 22 to 23 oz., never babied it and it hasn’t shown any wear and tear.


Not just a function of weight but
also of design. I like to use a small bladed Windswift for paddles longer than 20 miles. It weighs about 30-32oz but is less fatiguing than my friends 26oz monster (8.5")sized blade

240cm Onno.

Also depends on your personal
paddling style and preferences. Some people prefer and are much more comfortable with a SLOWER cadence with a more powerful paddle. The largest paddle in width I build is 8.25 and I always let people know that even the guys in the local “fast group” bring their 8+ paddle back to me to be cut down to 7.75 or less.

Those who like a faster cadence will not end up liking the larger blades no matter how short in length they go.

The larger blades DO yield a faster overall boat speed for the 60 - 70% ( just turning the paddle over @ cruising pace for most touring boats ) max heart rate range in my recent experiments… although the perceived effort is higher.

Wings still feel easier than the big blades and are faster too.

In terms of weight or lack of it, the difference of even 4 ounces at the end of the day is huge.

Not sure why one would have to pay 400.00 though.