How would Werner’s paddles compare to each other in terms of durability? I’m assuming the fiberglass blades are the strongest but which would be next? Is their performance core more brittle than the basic performance paddles? I have heard the horror stories of paddles arriving in the mail cracked or breaking from launching on beaches. How is their customer service if something like this happens? Has anyone had any experience like this?
I’ve been pleased
with mine. I think I got the first one in 2004, then the second in 2005. Both are Camano with the fiberglass blades, and neither are babied at all.
I’ve two friends who use the full carbon Werner, again with the heavy use of weekly paddling shallow waters, and they are holding up well.
Just my .02,
I use a fiberglass Shuna and a foam-core Ikelos. Both are surprisingly tough, and I have used them lots in rock gardens and in shallow water, with many hard impacts. No damage, just superficial scratches. To me the Ikelos seems tougher. The edges are fatter than the Shuna, so I think they’re less prone to wear or chipping. Or maybe the Ikelos just feels tougher because there is little flex in the blades.
strong and tough. I beat the crap out of my 5 year old Ikelos and it is in great shape. As far a customer service- my story is that the ferule got a wee bit loose last year at 4 years old. I could have lived with it no problem but I sent it back and they replaced the ferrule at no charge.
Very pleased with Werner
I’ve had an Athena and now a Kalliste, both all-carbon foam cores. I can’t say I beat up on them; in fact I’m pretty careful with them. But I’ve been very, very pleased with them. They make a huge difference in my paddling efficiency and pleasure, compared to past paddles. A stiff kayak plus a stiff paddle have a fantastic feel.
There’s been a discussion on BT
about Werner and Werner-type blades, and whether FG or carbon holds up better.
Carbon fibers may have an advantage over glass fibers when they have to take a blow fiber-end-on when a blade whacks hard on a rock. On the other hand, carbon is softer than glass by quite a bit, and dragging or sawing against rocks is going to wear carbon away faster.
One person pointed out that one sees more wear on used FG blades on paddles for sale than on carbon blades. Perhaps carbon blade paddlers are, on the average, more careful or less klutzy.
Another factor is that, because carbon is amongst the lightest cloths, a paddle maker may be able to put a little more carbon material in a blade without exceeding the weight target.
Glass, on the other hand, is the heaviest cloth/fiber used for boats and paddles, and a paddle maker may have to hold back just a little on the amount of glass in order that the result not be too heavy to sell. S-glass would improve the picture, but is more expensive.
So the result, in terms of paddle breakage and wear, may not show how carbon or FG would test out under controlled conditions, equating weight, cost, etc. It’s kinda like composite boats, where it’s very hard to compare carbon/Kevlar with glass/polyester unless you state what you want to hold constant, stiffness, weight, cost, whatever.
Light weight paddles
are light weight paddles. They are potentially more vulnerable to damage. That said, the only foam core paddle that I've personally seen damaged was one that got damaged by airport baggage handlers. Heck only knows how they managed it but one blade had a pretty serious crack. We have both Epic and Werner foam core paddles and have found both to be very hardy for sea kayaking on the rocky shorelines of Maine as well as in some surf.
If we had access to surf on a regular basis, I'd probably use Werner's carbon fiber or fiberglass version of my preferred blade though, just to have something that I really didn't need to think about. And there is a reason that the blades on my WW paddles, one of which is also Werner, are not performance core.
One word of caution, if going for the other ones try to get one in your hands. I found that one of the paddles, forget if it was the one with fiberglass or carbon fiber bladed version of my blade, seemed a little better balanced.
Yea, those werner blades are pretty strong. I beat mine up and they still keep ticking.
Werner customer service is great
I’ve owned a Shuna and a Cyprus since 2007. The latter is reserved for camping trips, where the lighter weight is nice for day-after-day paddling. For day trips I normally use the Shuna.
Last year, I loaned the Shuna out one day, to someone who probably qualifies as abusive to gear (and we were in surf). After that it retained water somewhere in one side of the shaft, and the joint felt loose. It also didn’t separate with the nice “WHUCK!” sound that it had when it was watertight. Months later I sent it (via Sea Kayak Georgia) to Werner for repair. The paddle being out of warranty due to age, I expected to pay a reasonable fee for the repairs. They sent it back all fixed up, at NO charge.
I still use this paddle most of the time. While waiting for the repair to come back, I did buy a new Shuna at end-of-season sale price. Obviously, I like Werner’s products AND their customer service.
Werner paddles are pretty durable for a while, but you will notice fluttering after a year or two, at least I did. I have had better luck with my Aqua-Bound Spindrift Carbon. The carbon shaft and blade are really solid. I am by no means a pro, but I like to have fun, so my paddles get beat pretty bad. The Aqua-Bound is still solid four years later.
Customer service is from Wisconsin I think and they were pretty awesome. I called to see where I could get there paddles and how much they were, everything went smooth. Paddle arrived two days later.
also had good experiences with werner
Kayaking can be tough even on the best-made gear. I’ve been very happy with the durability of my Werner carbon paddles. However, the edge of one of the blades on my Ikelos was cracked this past winter by someone who decided to put their full weight on it against a pool deck while demo’ing my boat (enhancing my pre-existing pet peeve with people than lean on their paddles to enter their boats). Werner replaced the damaged blade free of charge.
I also have a Werner Player WW paddle that’s seen plenty of up-close-and-personal encounters with rocks with only superficial scratches to show from it.
Yet another Happy Werner Paddle Owner
I’ve had Werner paddles since the get-go and still use my old, FG Camanos as my on-deck extras.
My WW paddles are Werner and have been used in surf and WW pretty extensively. My Cyprus is almost 5 years old and has held up in rocks and general, hard-paddling abuse. The only other paddle I’ve used with as much enjoyment has been an old pair of heavy, Scottish-made Lendals.
In all the time I’ve used Werner, I’ve never noticed or felt any “flutter”.
While it never took much to convince me of Werner’s durability, watching someone’s paddle made by Another Manufacturer break apart where the blade joins the shaft during a pool session just re-confirmed my great experience with Werner.
And their customer service is right up there with Kokatat’s.
I broke one…
I bought a new Werner Kalliste bent shaft for my birthday this spring. I used it in two pool sessions and was shocked to find I’d broken it after the second session.
I was using the two piece paddle in Pawlata fashion to do a few static sculling braces, then a semi-Pawlata roll. In the latter, I was shocked to feel a crack, and find myself underwater with two pieces of jagged paddle end in my hands. Fortunately, I had my goggles on, figured out what was happening, held the two ends together in overlapping fashion, and successfully rolled up!
Further inspection revealed the crack was in the ferrule, not the shaft per se.
Fortunately, everything that I’d heard about Werner customer service was true. Two days after my email, they responded with instructions to package and ship the paddle back to them in Washington. Further emails were answered promptly. Once it arrived, they sent me a personal voicemail on my answering machine, confirming the warranty claim, and that they would pay for repair and shipping back.
Overall, I’m pleased. I thought these things were nearly indestructible, but I guess this is just a reality check. Customer service is great by my experience.
Maybe a manufacturing weakness
I haven’t heard of anyone managing that, so I suspect it was a paddle where a flaw missed inspection. It happens. But your experience matches mine and others, that Werner will act quickly and very responsibly to amend any such issues. And if you carry a spare anyway when out on a trip, it’s no more than inconvenient.
Unexpected events like that are the reason that most we paddle with have gone to a spare paddle that they could as happily paddle all day with as their primary one.
About solid, non-cored FG or carbon
blades… They can be very stiff and very strong, but it is the nature of FG and carbon that they are somewhat brittle as well as strong, and if a distorting load is imposed well beyond that normally encountered in paddling, they may snap. It doesn’t happen often. A blade slipping into a crack, and then the current slamming the paddler against the shaft before the paddler has the wits to let go, is one example. This may happen more often to us ww canoeists than to kayakers. Breakage of solid blades in shipment probably reflects massive shipper handling errors. I once received a solid Prijon that had a broken-out spot in the laminate, clearly related to carton damage.
Such laminates crack when their stiffness is not equal to imposed loads. I have come to prefer an alternate construction, long proven in ww slalom paddle construction, where thin, curves slats of hardwood are faced, front and back, by a thin layer of FG or carbon. This construction is, perhaps, less likely to get bent to the point that the FG or carbon facing is elongated enough to break. Mitchell is one maker that uses this construction. The blades are still thin enough to scull and slice in the water, and they have a pleasant flexibility. My Mitchell is more flexible than any of my wood paddles.
Agree about both
It feels great to buy from companies who treat not only “big names” well (i.e., sponsorship) but also just regular people who paddle.
I hate United Airlines.
No flutter with any of mine
Did you call Werner and ask them about it? They can repair or replace almost any part of a paddle. Maybe any part, period.