Performance paddle with durability

Picked up a Knysna Isthmus racing kayak yesterday. Fastest boat I’ve ever paddled! WOW! While not looking to get every ounce of speed out of this boat, It would be nice to have a paddle that would be a good match for it. better than my current inventory of cheap carlisles and such. Durability is as much a concern as efficiency as the rivers I paddle are full of rough rock that tends to pop up out of no where. Kind of rough on lightly built but highly efficient paddles, and boats…

Any suggestions?



Epic Wing Paddle
I have had an Isthmus for several years, a great boat no doubt about it (performance-wise), and I would only paddle this kind of boat or faster ones with a wing paddle.

ONNO Signature
I am not the easiest person on a paddle and opted to get the kevlar reinforced paddle. Patricks signature paddle is not as light as his carbon carbon but at 26 oz it is light enough. I use it to brace the boat getting in and out. It hits the bottom when going over the shallows. Generally it gets banged around a bit but has worked out well. I currently have the full tour blade and am in the process of deciding wether to get a Big Boy or Wing for times I want more power.


If you don’t want a wing, you might consider one of the lighter whitewater paddles – the lengths and blade shapes are intended for a high-angle stroke, and the layups are designed to handle impacts.

I’ve had good luck with Mitchells, and Werners are popular around here. Onno has a lot of fans on this board but I’ve never had a chance to use one.

Can use carbon nylon or fiberglass blades in the river and get a set of carbon wing or straight blades for more open waters.

Big Boy
I just got the Big Boy (19" x 8" x 212"shaft) and I love it! It has great power, but beware the windy day! As well as it catches the water, it also catches the wind. Anything over 12 knots or so, and I have to adjust my vertical stroke to a more shallow angle or I really battle the effects on the paddle. It has a fairly pronounced dihedral design which totally eliminates flutter and it is very stiff so the ratio of effort to result in the stroke is maximized. I would buy another one in a heartbeat!

Werner Ikelos
with the new adjustable ferule is great, when it is windy I just adjust the feather to 90o and then it is fine. Bomb proof shaft, great grab when you have to move!

Have heard of people breaking the ONNO paddles and having long wait times (months) to get them fixed by ONNO.

No problem for us to tailor the layup
for conditions paddled… known and unknown. We want you to use the paddle as you want to.

A properly placed ounce or two here and there go a long way.

What’s wrong with Knysna racing paddles?

I have been arguing with myself about a Big Boy or a Wing. I use a full tour now. I don’t really get bothered by wind and had not thought of that with a larger surface area. Do you use a feathered paddle? I think what you are saying is that you note a big differance in the Big Boy vs. whatever you were using before?

I live on the coast and it is plus fifteen often and you have to paddling when it is windy or you don’t paddle.

Happy Paddling,


Had an Isthmus…
and I went to an Epic wing to try to stabilize it. Not sure it helped all that much.

Any good paddle will work until you get a bunch of seat time. Learning that boat and a wing at the same time may prove frustrating…

Mine was red/red and went to the Orlando area.

Thanks folks!
Thanks folks Allot of good advice here. Still not sure what I’ll end up with but I’ve now got an idea of what direction to look.

Greyhawk, My isthmus came out of Orlando, but its red on white…

Thanks again


I use a 60 degree feather right hand control on a 212 cm shaft. MInd you, my comment on wind should be taken as a caveat. I’ve been out in over 25 knot winds and paddled with nary a problem, I just have to be aware of an ill timed gust.I also have a relatively large lay up (8"). The big boy can be made smaller.