Repaired Paddle, snapped, now shopping

I owe thanks to p-netters who posted with advice to repair my slightly cracked canoe paddle vs. buying new, as recommended by Bending Branches.

The blade was cracked a few inches from the bottom, but the crack didn’t go all the way across, and it only broke through the glass on one side of the blade. I made a football shaped cut through the glass around the crack, applied heat, and gently lifted off the damaged area of glass. I used a tiny piece of wire to force epoxy into the cracked area, then laid a similar size, football shaped piece of fiberglass into the cut out area, covered the whole thing with a larger piece of glass, soaked it all with epoxy, wrapped it in plastic wrap, and clamped the whole assembly tightly between two boards. Sanded and sparayed the repaired area with some UV retarding varnish spray, and took the blade paddling.

Here is a picture of the repair:

The repaired blade got four days’ of use, much of it holding me and the boat in place in rocky eddies where I’d use the edge of the blade against a rock to hold myself in place. The repair held up perfectly through the moment towards the end of the fourth day when a severe paddle snake, make that paddle shark, crunched the whole blade off the shaft.

I assume the snake/shark was in the form of some sort of rock, but I didn’t see or feel it. I was stroking vigoursly to get into yet another eddy, and suddenly there was a crunch and I was left not paddling, but only shafting, which was not too effective. I was sad to loose the paddle, but extremely glad I had listened to p-netters’ advice not Bending Branches, or that would have been a brand spanking new blade that got its head bit off.

Now I am shopping for another blade. I liked the feel of the BB, but I think I want to go back to a non-wood constructed paddle. I got seven years out of the Werner Rec, fiberglass blade before the shaft gave out on it. That one just plain gave out of material weakness, no paddle shark involved. My skill level or paddling practices don’t seem to warrant the luxury of wood.

What’s your favorite paddle? What would you recommend for a guy like me who seems to need a less delicate stick?

~~Chip Walsh, Gambrills, MD

To replace Breaking Branches
Try Lendal for high angle paddling and A windswift by Eddyline for either high or low angle paddling. I also like Beale and Mitchell Greenland paddles.

Mitchell Premier
I know you said you don’t think you need/want a high end paddle but you will never regret getting a Mitchell.

Tough as nails, good balance, nice feel in the water.


Single blades?
Does that “high angle”, “low angle” thing apply to canoe paddling? In general, I’m always trying to keep the canoe paddle vertical, and maybe you are describing kayak technique. I’m looking for a single bladed canoe paddle to use in rapids. Greenland style blades need not apply. But thanks anyway. ~~Chip

Meant for hard use


Aluminum is tough, and you would notice some difference

from a fiberglass shaft. Aluminum will do the job, and last a long time.


The vinyl covered alum. shaft would be a compromise.

Chip, I kind of
like my AB (aquabound) curved blade. It’s got a thick shaft and a plastic blade, which has held up much better than I ever expected. Ran me about $65 at local shop a couple years back. Just looked it up, it’s called “the edge”, they say it’s all glass, blade looks like plastic to me.My son is preferring his Carlisle aluminum, prefers the straight blade.

Sawyer, Mitchell, and Zaveral are my

– Last Updated: Aug-20-07 2:17 PM EST –

tough "non wooden" paddles. The Mitchell appears the toughest, but do not know. I have not broken any of these so am not sure what would actually be the toughfest. The ZRE WW would be the lightest duty of the three, but is the most used and my favorite. I have abused them all quite a bit. I am not gentle on my equipment, but believe it is to be used, not babied. With the ZRE you do have to pay attention to just how you are abusing it. I have had one ZRE break under paddle, but it was as a result of damage that occurred in transport and handling, not paddling.



Folks I was with last week like AB
Some of the folks on the river last week were using AB paddles and recommended them. There was also somebody with a high-end Werner that looked similar to the AB. Side by side, the paddles were almost identically configured. The Werner appeared to be Carbon-Fiber and I was told cost twice as much as the AB. Were did you get yours?

Hopefully, I can get one somewhere closer than Harrisburg. I guess it is Internet search time.

Thanks for the post.

Works good, Feels bad.
Remind me to tell you that joke.

My backup paddle is an Alum. shafted, plastic bladed, job, perhaps a Mohawk…it bears no markings. It does work, but I can’t say I like it too well.

I like the prices of those aluminum paddles, though. I wonder if I am becoming a snob and want something fancier just because everybody else has. Could be.


Mitchells have the rep
And the price to go with it, eh? But if it holds up, maybe it is the most economical. Counting the Werner wRecked and the Broken Branches, I’ve already spent about $250, and I’m left paddling with a cheap aluminum-plastic job.

Has McCrae & crew done a paddle comparison test yet?


Aquabound link

– Last Updated: Aug-21-07 7:20 AM EST –
Chip, hopefully over to the right you'll see where to buy one. I saw some dealers down your way.

Yep, click on "where can I buy..."
Looks like EMS carries them

My boy Aaron loved his AB until we got him into a Whitesell Pirana. Then the high volume of that boat required a longer shaft, so he got the Carlisle. I've tried the 2 alum. shaft paddles we have and hate 'em both. He still uses the AB in his Dagger.

I first picked up a Mitchell C-1 back in the late '70s. Brother, what a sweet feeling stick. I still have a couple of the oldest designs, complete with (standard) riveted-on SS tip caps.

I decided that I didn’t want to subject them to open-boat WW anymore so I picked up a BB Expedition Plus last year. So far, I am happy with the choice. The T-grip looked small when compared to the Mitchell, but it has turned out to be very comfy. The integtrated tip protector does not hang up on rocks the way the SS one did. The shaft is a bit stiffer than the Mitchell, but I can live with that.

But in my heart I lust for another Mitchell C-1 stick. This year I bought a Bell bent-shaft, made by Mitchell, and it is sweeeeeet.

Lust remains undiminished.


…just a $.01 off-the-cuff reply, but…
No matter WHAT paddle you purchase, it sounds like you need to do a little flatwater practice before the move to moving water, otherwise without the repertoire(sp?) of strokes…you’ll be in a constant state of recovery(which really isn’t the most enjoyable thing to be doing all day).


Recomendation, please
I won’t argue with your observation, bigspencer, although I don’t think there is anything in this post that indicates poor paddling technique. But I’ll agree flat water practice is good and that most of us can benefit from more of it. But I’m going to need a paddle before I can practice, so how about fessing up; what’s your favorite stick?

As an update to other posters, I am having a hard time locating any retailers that stock AB canoe paddles. I have checked with all the retailers listed for Md on the AB site, and none of them carry AB’s whitewater canoe paddles. I guess it’ll be an Internet buy or I’ll be trekking to Marysville. BMO has 'em in stock.


Good use of diplomacy Chip!
I had to sit on my hands to keep from making a sarcastic response.