Wooden kayak Paddle

I’m thinking of buying a nice hand made wooden kayak paddle. Weight isn’t a problem since they run about the same as a fiberglass shaft paddle. If I do spring for one, I want it to last for many years. Are wooden paddles difficult to keep looking nice after a few years of use?

If you’re worried about the looks…

– Last Updated: Aug-01-06 5:08 PM EST –

...of your equipment, you're in the wrong sport. Boats and paddles get beat up and scratched with use; that's just the nature of the sport. PFDs fade, spray skirts develop holes, seals on dry tops and suits rot and split. Trying to keep your gear pretty will seriously eat into your paddling time and it's largely futile. Use your gear, maintain it so that it works properly and don't sweat the wear and tear. IMO, it's not worth it.

Wood vs glass for weight
look at lightning paddles and there is no comparison. Only the cheapest glass paddles can compare wiht an average wood for weight. and if you are talking about a high end wood paddle you probably know enough on your own.

Lightly sand and varnish a nice wooden paddle to keep it reasonable. Smoothe shafts and strong blades are nice. Rope or epoxy edges are also useful sometimes.

My favorite paddles are glass and carbon.

OTOH there are lots of reasons to like wood, tradition, beauty, warmth, bouyancy. Sawyer and mitchell and others make gorgeous wooden paddles. Then there’s greenland paddles. Someone is sure to mention Beale here, and making your own is nice.

wooden paddles are great!
Still using our 7 year old Bending Branches Journey paddles. We did lightly sand my husbands paddle once and re-seal but they’ve been tough as nails. I use a carbon paddle more often nowdays for lighter weight but I see Branches has a Sun Shadow Evening at my local dealer that feels pretty darn light to me. And its simply gorgeous! We like using our wood paddles when it’s cold out as they feel warmer to the touch and also like the smooth blade feel for draw strokes and sculling.

Make It Yourself - Ya, Really!!!
We make our own wooden paddles, using spruce shafts and marine ply blades. My personal paddle, made in 2001, is still going strong after a lot of use (and some misuse!). These paddles are tough, light, very simple to make (a decent day’s work in several stages) and cheap - we allow about $20 per paddle for top-of-the-line materials (marine ply, epoxy resin). You need very little in the way of tools, skills, time or money. I’d be pleased to send anyone interested in making one a set of instructions and a link to some WebShots pix or ours, N/C, of course. Just e-mail vk1nf@yahoo.ca

speaking of 'nice wood paddles’
check your e:mail. i’ve got a really nice ZuZu wood ‘Cadence’ paddle which i’d like to sell.


Bending Branches
I have a Bending Branches (Tailwind, I believe) that I’ve had for about 5 years. Very beautiful. Very easy to keep nice. If it gets scratched during the year, then in the winter I sand it and spray it with 3 coats of Minwax Helmsman spar urethane varnish. Very easy and quick. You can do coats an hour apart with no sanding in between coats. I don’t even have to do this every year.I just did it recently and it was only the 2nd time in 5 years.