Rocky Rivers

So I’m looking to purchase this paddle

to use primarily on rock bottom rivers (Ozarks in MO and AR). Can you guys tell me if this will be strong enough to handle all the rocks, or will it chip and crack easily?

It depends a lot on you. I know
whitewater paddlers who use a carbon shaft with thin carbon blades. and they get by with just the tip and sides of the blades wearing slowly away. But that’s partly because they avoid poling off the bottom or whacking rocks with the edge as much as they possibly can.

The vulnerability of a blade to chipping or cracking is related to the thickness of the blade. I have a kayak paddle with DoubleDutch carbon blades that are kinda light, but also thick. They have chipped slightly at the edges, but that’s all.

Carbon shafts are very strong, but if the shaft is chipped, gouged, or worn locally, and you don’t notice and repair it in time, there is a weak spot in the “matrix” that may cause it to fail suddenly.

So what it adds up to is, if you know yourself to be pretty easy on paddles, you may enjoy the very light paddle you’re contemplating. If you’re in doubt, you might look at some paddles by Werner, Mitchell, etc. I am partial to the wood core blades made by Mitchell. They are faced with glass or carbon, are very light (used by slalom competitors), and mine have proved quite durable.

I should be More specific…
I know that nylon blades are very durable, but it states that it features and injection-molded nylon blade, reinforced with carbon fibers. Does this mean it will still be as durable??

I would like to stay as light and as durable as possible for under $200- Would this be my best option- or is there some others I have missed?

It should be very durable.
For about $200? Go for it. Bending Branches makes a good, lightweight and tough product.

If you like the looks of the Slice(presuming you haven’t used or held one in your hands)and it meets your budget, I can’t see how you can go wrong. Just get the right size for you and your boat. You can over-analyze spending hundreds more on any number of other higher priced paddles later on (if/when you decide to upgrade). In the meantime, you should easily get a minimum of 2 to 4 years hard use out of the Slice.