Werner Nantahala as GP solo paddle?

I’m looking for a new straight paddle for my solo canoeing for this coming year. I have a Bending Branches beaver tail and basic wooden bent shaft in the longest available sizes. I also have a generic plastic rafting paddle that I take for rocky and shallow water. On my only multi day mixed river and lake trip to date I was tempted to bring all three paddles. I left the plastic fantastic, but was happy to find another along the riverside, which saved the wood paddles some dings. My usual paddling is open salt water so I have looked for a light carbon free style paddle to play with, but cant find anything 60" long with a palm grip. I also worry about durability. Would a Werner Natahala be a good compromise as an all around paddle to replace my beaver tail when “tripping” and also be enjoyable for “freestyle” tooling around? and would this paddle be worth putting a store bought or home made Pear grip on? Thanks, Woody

Werner Nantahala
I have not owned a Werner Nantahala but I know people who have. Those people seem to have liked it. I do own a Werner Bandit canoe paddle and like it quite a bit.

The Bandit is a very popular paddle among whitewater open boaters but it is patterned after the type of paddle slalom racers use with squared-off blade edges at the bottom and a curved, convex power face. If you are looking for a paddle that you can palm roll, etc, then a symmetrical design like the Werner Nantahala would suit you better. The rounded bottom blade edges of the Nantahala might also be somewhat better suited to shallow water paddling.

The one thing I would say about the Nantahala is that it has a pretty big blade area at 138 square inches, which may or may not suit you.

Werner Paddles have generally been very well regarded but like with any product you will find folks who have had them break or fail unexpectedly.

It is possible to carve a T grip which
feels like a palm grip for straight line paddling, but also permits the hand to slide around the grip, pivoting around the thumb, for any needed cross strokes or freestyle fanciness.





Werner Nantahala
If I remember correctly; what is now called the Nantahala, used to be called the Werner Point.

Own one that I bought in 1986, at NOC, if I remember correctly. Think I paid maybe 55 bucks for it back then. I finally retired it; the blade spun & fell off the paddle shaft at the bottom of a good sized drop when I attempted a low brace. Paddle shaft without blade attached does NOT make for a stellar brace.

I abused that paddle for years & years; it held together, and took the abuse. I’m sure the blade on it is at least 1/4 inch shorter than it was when new.

It’s a heavy paddle, but I liked the grip, the oval shaft, and the big blade. I was never a finesse paddler, or worried about a couple of extra ounces of weight. I bought a new one to replace the old one; I keep the old one for sentimental value. I’ll probably use the new one when the rivers are boney, and use the newer Bandit I have for deeper water.


Bob, last year I mentioned that I wanted to buy a used Nantahala and a guy told me he had a still shrink wrapped Point he’d sell me. I never responded, but now I think I will.

Hey deuce…

Would be happy to send you a photo of a Point that is about 27 years old, next to a Nantahala that is less than a year old. In my opinion it’s the same paddle with a different name. Picture is worth a 1,000 words.

Yep! Might be a good idea to get in contact with the guy & see if he still has that paddle…


I had a Nantahela as my first “real” whitewater paddle.

I believe it will serve your needs nicely.

The OP’s requirements
I responded to this question on another forum, but I don’t read the OP’s requirement to be for a WW paddle, which to me this paddle most resembles.

He says he mostly paddles on open salt water, and also talks about tripping and freestyle fooling around.

So; do you have…

– Last Updated: Jan-08-14 9:54 AM EST –

So; do you have a paddle that you would recommend to the OP?

Remember, the OP added GP, which I assumed to mean "general purpose" to his subject line.
A Werner Point/Nantahala can't be used for GP?

I have used a Werner Point/Nantahala on whitewater rivers, flatwater rivers, lakes, day trips, week & longer trips, and for "fooling around" with freestyle. Worked fine for me. I don't see it as strictly for whitewater.
I don't do saltwater, but have no reason to believe salt water would bother that paddle.

Is the Point/Nantahala the be all/do all paddle for everyone? NO!
Is a high dollar, carbon fiber, bent shaft Zaveral? NO!
I'm waiting for someone to tell me; what is the be all/do all paddle.
Looking for the be all/do all canoe too.
I don't think there is any such paddle,or such a canoe.

The OP should certainly make an effort to check out Grey Owl, Sawyer, and Bending Branches paddles, in my opinion. And try it before you buy it if you possibly can.
Probably 10 other individuals can come up with 10 other companies/individuals, who make paddles that are the "cat's meow".
Whiskey Jack? How about a Moore cue? I think there is one for sale in pnet classifieds now.


Don’t have to go to the cue
Saranac by FoxWorx and Espresso ST by Bending Branches are two I would look at.

The Werner paddle in discussion has the center rib for strength.When you start messing with static strokes the rib saps momentum. Its meant for active strokes only.

No ques?

– Last Updated: Jan-08-14 9:55 AM EST –

You mean I shouldn't use one of the cues, to help push me & my Pelican thru those "shaller" spots, above Cedar Grove? Aren't they for "general purpose"?

Yeah, I know; God's gonna get me for that.
I ain't skeered; she's always messing with me.


Thanks for the suggestions
I think the “Saranac by FoxWorx” may have pushed it self to the head of the list.

I have emailed the guy who had the still shrink wrapped Points for sale. He hasn’t responded yet, but if he has several (he did as I recall) would you like for me to let you know? I think he was asking $60 apiece, so I may end up buying him out depending on how many he has. FWIW my best two paddles are a Foxworx Excel (great reasonably priced GP paddle that I didn’t mention because I thought you didn’t want another wood paddle)and an old beat up Werner Rec. I bought the Werner as a spare but like it so much it’s my primary paddle unless I’m on flatwater. And, I’ve used it quite a bit on flatwater (long pools between rapids, etc.) and it’s never worn me out. I am a recreational paddler and can say in my (somewhat limited)experience that you’d be pleased with a Werner.