Spare paddle story

I saw the post about the surf skier that broke a paddle in Tsunami Ranger conditions so thought I’d share my (much more modest) recent experience. I have usually (but not always) carried a spare paddle in my solo canoe and have never broken a paddle but a few times in very windy conditions I’ve wondered if my paddle might break.

A few weeks ago I got to my put-in and realized that I forgot to bring a paddle so l went home and got a paddle and put a spare in the back of my vehicle. Fine. Then a week or so later I went to the same put-in, loaded all my stuff (including mask and disinfectant rag), loaded the dog and pushed off. Reached behind me to grab the paddle and - no paddle. Now the current is taking us downstream in cold water and a whole lot of things are going through my head. Tried paddling to shore with my hands but it had no effect so I raised my energy level to max and dug in with my hands and arms and managed to get the boat back to shore. Fortunately I now had a spare in my vehicle so I ignored the folks that had watched me flailing around and went back out. When I got home I swapped the spare in my vehicle for a double paddle sock with two paddles in it to help make sure that I’ll always have a paddle even if one breaks. I also hung a “permanent” back-up paddle next to my favorite primary use paddle so now I try to make sure I have 4 paddles in the vehicle before leaving home. :neutral_face:

So I was working out of town. The RV park had some rule about boats in storage so I was carrying the kayak on the truck most of the time. Quriser came down and we took the boats out to Merritt Island to paddle from Manatee Cove. But keeping the boat on the truck I was keeping the paddle in the pass thru storage on the trailer. So we arrived two paddlers, two boats, and one paddle. A local fishing kayak charter captain heard the discussion and provided a paddle so we (I) could go out. Nice guy…

Personally I have never broken a paddle while kayaking, however my spare has been used several times by others who broke them (and one guy who left his paddle next to his kayak ashore while we were explored around the island landing only to have a wave wash away his high dollar wooden paddle).

A spare paddle is standard presail equipment.