sea kayak paddle variety

Going into the shops, surfing around on the net, and one might think there were 4 or 5 brands of paddles out there. the market is dominated by this handful and there are some good to excellent paddles in this group.

i’m curious to see what some of the fanatics out there paddle with and has anyone taken chances with the lesser known brands. this does not include Onno paddles; while i have never seen one, i have had a lifetime education about them here and on their website!

Braca, Gala, Mitchell, look good on the sites. what’s your experience? never known anyone to paddle with an AT. why is there so little variety out there?

Plenty of variety
While there may be only a few brands of paddle dominant in any particular region, there are a goodly number of makes overall.

Our frustration was that it is often more difficult to demo paddles from a dealer than it is to demo boats.

My current primary paddle is a Full Carbon Active Tour Length Lock Epic. My previous primary is a Mid-Swift. Both of these are excellent paddles. I don’t think either are among the most broadly produced or distributed.

Swift paddles are very common in these parts. The most common seem to be Werner and Aquabond.

plenty of great paddles
Without hesitation I can say that the best Euro paddle you can get is a Werner. They have great blades and equally great customer service. AT makes fine paddles although in whitewater circles, they are known to break far easier than Werner with bad customer service. Aquabound used to be the cheapo brand that constantly broke but have in recent years made a rather good name for themselves by having excellent customer service (completely backs the product for life now) and good value paddles. Bending Branches is a little more middle of the road but overall they have nice paddles. I’ve heard good things about Mitchell but have never paddled with one.

Personally I use a Beale Greenland paddle and an Aquabound carbon paddle as my spare when sea kayaking. For whitewater, I use a carbon Werner.

I had a Bracsa wing
for a little while. I only used it occasionally but it was ok. My main paddle is a WindSwift and I also use a 196 Lightening whitewater paddle for seakayaking as well as river. I have a Beale GP and an Aquabound I use as well.

20 +years of blades.
I started with a cheap alum/plastic paddle, then to a 210 Mitchell whitewater ( a great improvement). Next, a 230 glass Eddyline, followed by a 218 carbon Eddyline Swift. In my old k-1 marathon days, there were several wooden Struer paddles from Denmark. Then came the wings, first a couple huge Flites from New Zealand & three Epic mids since 2000. I also have a very nice Greenland stick by Cricket. Good luck & try all you can!

Schizo said it well…
… Werner’s are top (in my opinion), in quality, comfort and service. I have used AquaBound… thought they were sort of heavy and clunky; Lightning (remember them?); and Lendel… Now I know a lot of people really like Lendels, and I’m probably gonna get flamed for this, but I think that they are heavier than they should be and they flutter pretty hard; Big Spoons are exactly that: Big Spoons.

I’ll take a Werner for touring, a Kalliste or a Camano.


Onno, lightning and the lamented
whetstone are some. whetstone is not in businessany more, but made good paddles. then ther are beal and other greenland paddle makers. then…

You’ll always fint the mass market, or high advertisers first, dig a little deeper and find values, like patrick at onno, high-performance purists like lightning, and others too.

great paddles
i worked at a Cdn shop that was the Lightning dealer for a few years but they seem to have disappeared. or did they? only available through the web i think.

Werner paddles are excellent, there is no doubt. i think that Epic easily gives them a run if not does them one better. my Epic signature is a paddling epiphany. an incredible tool. straight shaft all the way baby. don’t believe the hype.

i do wish that i considered an Onno more seriously before i bought however. the reviews are incredible, but i could never have demo’d one, living up here. if i get to SD to visit family i will make it a priority.

AT makes awesome paddles
lendal is another brand I love.

There are loads of them out there, you just have to know where to look, and what to look for.

Werner works
fine for me, I have a Camano Carbon with the bent shaft, it feels very nice, (even after several hours on the water.) This is the only real high end paddle I’ve tried, but it is much more comfortable on long trips than the rental paddles I’ve used.

Here is a couple of good ones!
I started out with a Carlisle RS Magic kayak paddle. It has moulded plastic blades, with a fiberglass shaft. A decent paddle for the money. I still use it as a back up.

The next opaddle was a Bending Branches Wooden paddle, with the “Day” Blade size. It is a sturdy paddle, that has a good feel in the water. My wife took them when I went to my current paddle.Bending Branches makes a really good paddle!

After trying a friends Lendal Carbon Crank shaft paddle, with the Kinetik Touring Blades, I fell in love with it. It just had a feel to me unlike any other paddle I tried. I bought one this Spring, and just love paddling with it. I got the carbon blades on the carbon Crank shaft, in the 4 piece model. With the 215cm length, it is just what I needed.

So here is 3 paddles I would reccommend for you to look at. I would call the Carlisle a great paddle to learn with, the Bending Branches a great intermediate to advanced paddle, and the Lendal great for anyone who can feel the difference enough to justify the cost.

All 3 were great fpor ther purpose I had/have for them! Happy Paddling!