I have lots of paddles that lean against the foundation in my basement and collect dust, but I have three that I use all the time.
My go-to paddle is a 58” Werner Bandit. With a “T” grip and spooned blade that’s great for cab forward paddling – forward and cross-forward strokes. If I could only have one paddle, this would be it.
When I got my Wildfire I wanted to try some freestyle moves, and quickly realized that the Bandit wasn’t good for that. With the spooned blade I couldn’t do palm rolls, and it was tough to place the paddle for bow prys or jams. Based on advice I got on Pnet, I got a 56” FOX worx. With a pear grip and large blade, the Indian Stroke with a palm roll and in-water recovery is the easiest way to move forward, and bow prys are the easiest way to turn the boat. With the large blade, it is tougher to do cross forward strokes.
The only boat that I can’t kneel in is my Spirit II, which is set up for sit and switch paddling with tractor seats and foot braces. For that boat I have the original 54" Race Mate bent shaft paddles that my father bought with the boat in 1988. They are a little beat up, but I still use them.
I went out to do some paddling last weekend with my Wildfire and the FOX worx paddle, and tried to paddle like I usually do with lots of cross forward strokes. I realized that wasn’t going to work - Indian strokes and bow jams it is. I guess the old saying “when you have a hammer everything looks like a nail” works with paddles too!
What is your go-to paddle and why?