Sub $100 paddle question

I am looking for 2 paddles for under $100 each (for me & the wife).

They will be used for mostly flat & slow moving water / recreational use.

Below are two that seemed to get quite good reviews. Any other feedback would be great.

I see the reviews for Carisle paddles are pretty good:

Magic Nylon $80

Magic Polypro $60

I have a couple of the older ones
both with fiberglass shafts. One was my first paddle that I used for a couple years until I decided to get some better equipment. They are now used to loan to friends, along with that first kayak I used for a couple of years. I bought the second one to try a shorter length and it was about $45 on closeout. They are good for occasional use and as loaners, I wouldn’t enjoy using them again for long paddles.

It’s hard to justify spending more money for better paddles, at least until you get into the sport and realize how much better you enjoy it, once you use a nicer paddle. I know I couldn’t at the time, but now think nothing of several hundred dollars for a paddle. For about 2X the prices you quoted you can get some pretty decent paddles. My first decent paddle was a Werner Camano I picked up used for $125, and I still use it with my recreational kayak.

Carlisle magic
Mr Bret, I agree with everything desertdave said in fact, my experience is almost exactly the same as his. bought my first magic plus at GI Joe’s because it seemed to be the best in my price range. bought the second because of a great price. this is a decent entry level paddle, but you will soon want more.Next was a very nice Lightning that came with a used Aquaterra Sea Lion.I now mostly paddle with a used Camano I bought on Ebay for $ like that are out there but you have to check the auctions frequently to win. My pair of Magics are nou used as spares and to paddle a beat up non colapsible Folbot double I got on Craig’slist for $75 Ugly but it doesn’t leak and the grand kids can’t turn it over. If you do go with Carlisle, go up to the plus as it has a fiber glass shaft. Both the paddles you linked to have aluminum shafts whose only virtue is being hard to break. Think rental fleets and summer camps. What ever you buy stay away from aluminum, you will hate it. Try to find something used that sells new in the $175 to $275 range and never borrow a $400 bent shaft carbon paddle just to see what it feels like unless you are prepared to buy one.It will break your heart.


great last line

DIY Alternatives Work

– Last Updated: Feb-04-10 10:04 AM EST –

You can readily make far better paddles than anything you'll buy for under $100. There are rafts of instructions for making Greenland paddles online - just Google Greenland Paddle - and they are actually pretty easy to do. There's a wealth of advice available thru the Kayak Building Bulletin Board.
I allow about $15 for red cedar, and a day's very pleasant work. Once I used a GP, it rapidly became my favorite, and I've made several since.

Before I started making the GPs, I used this design, which uses a simple spruce shaft/ply blade approach. Again, they are very easy to do, requiring minimal time, tools and money, and make a tough, light serviceable paddle. Again, under $20, and six to eight hours of simple woodworking...

Drop me an email if you have any questions...

Look for a used
Aquabound or Werner in that price range and you will likely be happier in the long run and if you drop out of the sport you can resell them at about the same price.


buy used

– Last Updated: Feb-04-10 8:27 PM EST –

I have 2 waterstick paddles for sale - one is 210 cm and the other is 215cm. Sell each for less than $100. These are actually pretty good paddles in very good condition

steer clear of aluminum
I would’t get an aluminum shaft paddle, even for recreational use. For just a little more than your stated price range you can get a much lighter, stiffer, less-cold-hands paddle, like the Werner Tybee ($130) or the Skagit if you prefer a low-angle style. I think Aquabound probably has something in that same range with similar construction.

I’d look for something with a carbon-blend shaft, and a reinforced nylon blade. It’ll cost a touch more at first, but if you buy a really cheap paddle, you’ll likely have to spend a bunch more replacing it with a decent one at some point. Whereas something like the Tybee can keep up with advancing skills just fine. You’ll save money in the long run, IMO.

Bending Branches Slice
I’d see if I could find one around on sale. Nice simple durable paddle, will make an excellent spare later on…

Carlisle paddles
I used a Carlisle fiberglass paddle for about a year, and I really liked it. For under a hundred bucks they are pretty good.

Everyone is diffent
I much prefer the $60 Canon aluminum shaft paddle to the $130 werner skagit. It is lighter and better in everyway for flatwater easy paddling for a long time.

To step up from the Canon I have to go to a Werner that costs over $200 and to notice a differnce beyond that I have to use a werner paddle over $350.

Buy used be willing to try anything and keep trading. Good aluminum is better than heavy “Carbon” and plastic blades. I bet they just mixed some carbon into a heavy fiberglass layup.

As you can guess the Skagit is available for sale or trade.