Touring vs Rec Paddles?

I’m picking up my new yak soon and I have a question about paddles. I’ve been reading (alot) about the diferances between touring and recreatinal paddles. I understand lighter is better. But is there anything else I should know. The guys at the local paddles shop will, I’m sure advise me but what is your take on this issue.

Facts: I’m Old (50) 6ft and 185 (sometimes).

Right now I plan on flat water and slow


I’m geting a WS Pungo 140.

I’m NOT made of money.

You really can’t go too far wrong…
in the mid range.

You get what you pay for… but you may not realize the full potential of a high end paddle in a Pungo…

Since you’ll need a backup paddle later
Why not get a cheap heavy tough paddle now. Then after you try a lot of other folks paddles you can decide what to get for you flatwater paddle later. You’ll always need a tough better for day when the river is shallow and there are a lot of rocks to push off.

Carlisle Daytripper is relatively cheap
, reasonably light and actually is a pretty nice paddle. I haven’t seen a better paddle for the price, which is about $25 for a single piece and about $39 for a two piece. I got mine at Gander Mountain.

Watch ebay
I picked up a grey owl wood paddle on ebay for $75.00. Half the cost. Weighs in at 36 oz.

Good Suggestions, Thanks
The shop I usually go to drool at has about 5 diferant models of paddles. They range from about $80 to $240ish. I’ve notices as far as wieght goes that around 120 seems to be the sweet spot. Beyond that the wieght diferance is minor. Would this be a good way to decide on my first paddle. I could go cheaper but I dont want to spend just to “get something”. I’d rather get a good paddle and then save up for a really nice one later. Does that make any sense?

Hey I’m 50!

Am I old? who knew?



I have a seaquel by Aqua-bound and a seaclude (same company). both the $90 version of aluminum shaft etc. I own an OT Rush and hopefully soon the tempest170 from Wilderness Systems. I figure either one will work with either boat but do plan on going a bit more high tech later and making one a spare paddle.

As greyhawk said, it might be difficult to see any real difference depending on the boat you have…so unless you are planning to go to a different style boat, I don’t know whether it makes much sense to spend a lot. light is good…but unless you are out for hours and hours touring, I fail to see the argument.


Paddling angle
Some paddles are designed to use a high angle stroke and some for a low angle stroke. For a low angle stroke you generally will use a longer paddle. It depends on you, the boat, and what you like. High angle is generally more effcient, but may not work in wide rec boat (or be what you want to do).

My advice is not to buy a really cheap paddle with the thought to use it as a spare later. Buy as good a paddle as you are comfortable with, and then later when you have forgotten the pain of paying for it, buy a better paddle and use your pretty good one as a spare.

I think it is good to have a spare that is ok to paddle with because that can give you variety. Besides you don’t want to get frustrated when you are starting out.

When I bought my Carolina 14.5, I bought a budget harmony paddle(Adventure?? 70.00). Since its the only paddle I’ve ever used, its the best paddle in the world as far as I can tell. I agree with others… go budget.


go cheap
find a paddle in the $50-60 range, compare it to one that is twice the price, notice the difference, spend the money for the better paddle. Then dream about the $450 carbon bentshaft weightless wonder stick(one of the things that should come with a divorce lawyer).

What NOT to buy
For starters, stay away from flat plastic blades pressed onto aluminum, vinyl-covered shafts. Heavy, cold, slippery.


As much as I need advice on what to buy, what NOT to buy is just a valuable.

I started out with an Aquabound Seaclude. A little heavy, but its bullet proof. I now have an ONNO light weight paddle which is great for flatwater. When I do rivers, I take the Aquabound.

I have a few
old plastic/aluminum paddles. 2 or 3 of them are Harmony Sea Passage paddles that I paid something like $50 a piece for. I also have some carbon paddles, and while they are much better than the harmony’s, they also cost a LOT more.

I don’t have any problems with the cheaper paddles at all. They are about 3 years old now, and they work just fine. They get used almost every weekend, and my wife and friends don’t seem to mind too much. I use them occasionally too, but I usually use my AT. The slipperyness of them doesn’t bother me, and I don’t mind the weight on 5-7 mile paddles at all. I don’t see the big deal on spending less than $100.00 on a paddle, or go used.

Old elbows

– Last Updated: Jul-25-05 4:25 PM EST –

I'm paddling the Old Town appx. equivalent of your yak using a Bending Branches Infusion Dream crank shaft paddle. Pretty middle of the road paddle as far as I know and the price was OK for a pretty comfortable piece of equipment. My 50 year old elbows appreciate the ergonomic shape of the shaft. (Tip: I paddle holding the shaft "thumbs up" like a trucker holds a steering wheel, if you know what that's like. No need to get a death grip on the thing.) See if a dealer will let you road test one.