Werner verses Aqua Bound

When I started this paddling season off with all new equipment, yes I am a new paddler. I purchased an Aqua Bound Tango paddle without a demo. After a few classes and paddling with the local meet up groups here in Maryland once or twice a week. (Chesapeake Paddlers Association and The WatersEdge Kayak Club) I am a bit of a gear head and as I look around at the paddles other members were using, I saw I was one of the only ones using an Aqua Bound and it seemed everyone who was not using a Greenland paddle was using a Werner.
The shaft broke on my Tango and Aqua Bound has been great in replacing it. My friend let me his Werner Kalliste while I am waiting for the replacement, it is a very nice paddle that I have been enjoying using. I also like my Tango.
For all of you more experienced paddlers, why do I see so many Werner’s? Is it a better paddle or better marketers or…?

I am a relatively new paddler as well with only about 30 months of experience. Like you, during my time, I became a gear head. As part of that, I was fortunate enough to have a shop rent me demo paddles for $1 a day. I ended up preferring high angle paddles and ultimately acquired both Werner and Aquabound high angle paddles with fiberglass blades (my wife and I switched off using them). They were comparably priced and other than the texture and shape of the shafts (one is more oval than the other) I felt their weight and performance was quite comparable. The prices were also similar.

My big revelation came when I later demoed a Werner Ikelos. That paddle is very light and has hollow carbon blades that are buoyant (i.e., the blade wants to jump out of the water). This paddle is by far my favorite. I’m not sure if Aquabound has an equivalent, but I don’t think one existed when I was shopping. As an aside, my wife was at first skeptical, but the moment she tried the Ikelos, she agreed that she too needed one.

Anyway, that is why I am using Werner. If I had not opted to go for the silly expensive all carbon paddle, the Aquabound fiberglass blade paddle would have been just as good as the Werner equivalent in my experience.


Bobby 3P. I started with a 220 cm all fiberglass Carlisle paddle. I still like it, but it’s too short. I believe I upgraded to an Aqua Sting Ray on sale, then a Manta Ray. I have multiple kayaks, so each one went into the spare rack. I have a few paddles that are working as tomato plant stakes (I won’t trash them by name, because I would rather recommend). The Aqua paddles are nice paddles, especially for the money. My first Werner was a 240 cm, high angle large diameter, oval cross section. straight shaft Camano model. It was $250 on sale for $199. I was hooked. I couldn’t stand watching a friend paddle with his pizza paddle, so I bought him one. I found myself going longer distances, and a customer at Annapolis Kayaks recommended a touring style paddle and low angle technique. I bought a Werner Kalliste and fell in love. It locked up and I couldn’t pull it apart. So it went to Werner for warranty repair. I went back to the Camano but couldn’t do it, so I special ordered a 250 cm Kalliste touring blade. I read all the formulas for sizing paddle and they’re highly technical advice, but I have to suggest that if you’re big get a long paddle, because you get leverage. If you aren’t a strong paddler, go smaller. I don’t care about feathering or wind. The Werners paddles are extremely light. Owners have pointed out that their paddle is several ounces more than advertised. Possibly the advertised weight is the shortest (220 cm, vs. the 240 cm version, maybe). What I teally like about Werners over other brands that I’ve “tried”, is the blade design. Especially with the Kalliste, the blade has less fluttering, turbulence, cleaner entry and removal, and very light swing weight. My nephew tried both of my Werners, but he prefers his Aqua Manta Ray. I did say it’s a nice paddle. I said elsewhere in the forum, paddles are personal. I know kayaker with $4,000 boats, using $139 plastic plade Aqua. That’s $350 for beer money.


May I ask how the Tango broke and which one it was?

I’ve pretty much only paddled Werners.

Back in the day, almost 40 years ago (man, time flies and it doesn’t seem like it can possibly be that long ago), they were pretty much the only game in town at the specialized sea kayaking stores I used to patronize, with the exception of the heavy, low-end, metal and plastic paddles.

I have an Aqua Bound now too, which I got with a kayak purchase bundle, but haven’t tried it yet. It seems decent enough, but I’ll need to test it out on the water to evaluate further.

My first paddle was Aquabound which I thought fine. I don’t recall the specific model though. I’m sure mid to low end of the scale if there is one. It was sturdy and I had no issues. After a couple years and after playing around with one, I got a Werner Camano, carbon, small diameter bent shaft and couldn’t be happier. I like the lighter weight but it also appears to retain exceptional strength. The smaller diameter fits my hands better and my wrists really like the bend. In my case the paddle feels like an extension of my arms and worth every penny.

If you are going to spend big money on a paddle; something I think is a good idea, please also consider the Epic paddles.

I got a free Aquabound when I bought my first boat. It seemed fine until I tried a few high end paddles and realized I was deluding myself.

Regretfully I was talked into doing a local race (the Alafia Challenge) and my world view moved a few steps to the fast end.

I have no clue how anyone could paddle high angle with 240 CM paddle? :scream:

I have six CF Werner paddles and a fiberglass Shuna they are all top of the line paddles. Never a problem just rinse with water.


Not sure why 240 cm paddle length can’t be used for high angle paddling. What does rinsing with water fix?

When I was looking for a high end paddle, about 20 years ago. My local paddle shop would rent me different paddles for the weekend to try out.
I found that the carbon shaft on the Aqua Bound would irritate my hands and the Werner wouldn’t. I ended up with a bent shaft Kalista after I traded in my Epic wing… A whole different story…
I do have a low end ex rental Aqua Bound that is just fine for a guest paddle.

Rinsing keeps shafts from sticking.

240 is nice if your 7-8’ tall. The relationship is between water surface and where your hands are above the water. Either you need to reach way up or your paddle blade is to deep in the water.


With a properly executed forward stroke, for the majority of the paddle stroke, the entire blade of the paddle should be in the water. No more and no less for maximal efficacy. I’ve found it a mystery to me that stores so often sell paddles that are too long for the person and the boat. A properly executed high angle stroke will require a shorter paddle than a low angle stroke.

A person would only need a 240 cm or longer Euro paddle if they were exceptionally tall, had a very wide boat, or were sitting very high like in a canoe or some SOTs.


The carbon shafts on the Aqua Bound paddles left small, crescent shaped scuff marks if it contacted the hull on my last Perception boat.

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It was the Tango with the fiberglass blade. I was taking a rescue class and was doing a paddle float reentry in about 18 inch chop. Aqua Bound has been very easy to work with on the warrantee.
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Thank you for your reply PaddleDog52. I self-diagnosed my paddling style as a novice in a 30 inch wide 9 ft foot Perception rec kayak, using a 220 cm paddle. From the start, I felt like I was wearing a size 32 length shirt with 34 inch long arms. I started to find over a gallons of water in the bottom when returning to shore on a calm day. One day my paddling partner told me the rear deck was submerging to within 6 inches of the cockpit coaming; water was seeping in through a 1/4 inch drain hole in the stern peak. I learned about hull speed, how to calculate safe/max capacity, bought progressively longer/narrower boats, bought longer paddles as I dropped my paddling stroke. I settled on 250 cm and occasionally switch back to 240 cm just to make sure I’m satisfied. I would go even longer, but I’m afraid the shaft will flex too much. I learned to rotate from the hip, with elbows and shoulders locked. I prefer the Phase 3 seat because of past back issues, but recent posts have made me rethinking the backband, because the high seat back does get in the way. I’m also finding that I pull away from the seatback to enhance my power stroke. I’m very happy with my present paddling form, but I’m curious about why I thought I was doing high angle. I have no desire to go back because my left arm won’t go above level; however, what you said makes sense and I want to make sure I’m not misinforming someone who is capable of executing high angle properly. Despite my mangled shoulders, I still increase my paddle angle for power surges.

The problem with my paddle seemed to happen on a turbulent day with a considerable wind blown spray. I tried water, had a person holding the button with a person on each blade. I didn’t want to introduce any lube, so I took it back to Annapolis Kayak. They tried and failed. He shipped it back to Werner for no charge/no shipping fee under warranty repair. Two months later, it returned as good as new (possible was new). Now I have a Kalliste 240 cm as well as a 250 cm. A side note: my 250 cm seems to be getting tight. I make sure its clean before connecting and keep it away from junk. it too seems to get tight when I use it in heavy waves, while doing hard braces or sweeps to counter high waves and when power paddling. If anything in my reply sounds nutty, feel free to respond.

That Tango broke right where the holes are drilled for the two orange push buttons. It’s not surprising that the break chose the weakest point to occur. Paddle float re-entry does apply some forces that would a lot higher than just paddling.

Interesting about the Aqua Bound carbon shaft. My SUP paddle is an Aqua Bound with a carbon shaft. It doesn’t bother my hands, but I hate the paddle. It’s a breakdown paddle and it rattles at the join. The blade itself seems to be shaped wrong, but I couldn’t say exactly why except that it flutters excessively. I always meant it to be a backup paddle, but with the pandemic, testing other paddles isn’t possible for me right now. When I do get another paddle, it definitely won’t be an Aqua Bound. But it will be a fixed length paddle.

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All different grades and layups of carbon fiber.

I Just bought another Aqua Bound paddle. :grinning:

If you were wearing a spray skirt, which is an essential part of a sea kayak, not an optional accessory, you shouldn’t have any water in the boat.

If your stern is submerging as you paddle you might be carrying your forward stroke too far back. A correctly executed forward stroke should end about at your hip. Carrying it any farther back is often referred to as “shoveling water”. It feels like you are accomplishing a lot, but all you are doing is wasting energy.

Many Greenland and British designed boats have very low decks and water often washes over them. You wouldn’t dare paddle one of those boats without a spray skirt. Most kayaks have relatively little freeboard, and it’s no uncommon for water to occasionally wash over them on open water. It only takes a couple of inches of water sloshing about to make a kayak very unstable.