WW open boat paddles

Looking for suggestions for WW canoe paddles. Don’t need top-of-the-line stuff, but on the other hand please don’t suggest a plastic paddle. (I have one I use for extensive rock bashing) I want something with more performance that is reliable and durable.

Thanks, Mike

We have Werners.
We have what was called the ‘Rec’. Don’t know if that’s the current name. They were around $60 this spring. The couple we paddle with has the next grade up. Ours has a round shaft, which we prefer, and theirs has the oval shaft. Tough, reasonably light, good value. I think it’s an 8" blade, f/g composite, T grip.

If you want a blade with bite
I picked up a Grey Owl Sugar Island. It has a huge blade and provides a lot of bite on the water. It is tougher than I imagined. I beat it around pretty good on the Shenandoah and barely shows any wear. In the frothy stuff, it provides plenty of power.

Bending Branches
I am happy with my Bending Branches Expedition Plus. Has Rockgard around the paddle blade, and 6 inches up the shaft. Weight about 28 ounces; nice t-grip too. Canoe & Kayak 2005 price guide has it listed as $105.00, but the paddling shop where I got mine charged me $75.00. Of course the owner & I have been doing business since the early 80s.

Might also check out the Grey Owl Hammerhead.

Lists at $71.00 in price guide.

Both paddles are wood laminate; the Expedition Plus has a layer of fiberglass on the blade, and will take more abuse I’m sure.

Two good paddling buddies tried out my Expedition Plus; shortly thereafter they had their own.


I echo Bob’s assesment of Bending Branches. I own 2 of their blades. Also just bought a Waterstick CF. Good power, but the di-hedral blade is not good for in-water recoveries. My buddy has a Mitchell wood paddle with glass reinforced shaft and brass rock tip that is excellent.


I currently use a Mitchel Premier White water, wood blade wood shaft. It’s $200 but I like it. I keep a Mowhawk as my backup. Cheap and functional.

I used to use a Werner Nantahala until I broke it (after years of hard use/abuse)paid $125 for that about 8 years ago. I like the ballance of the Mitchel much better but otherwise the Werner was good.

ww canoe paddles
i’ve never seen the Bending Branches ones in my neck of the woods but the Werner’s mentioned are very good.

Grey Owl makes a couple of great models. the Hammerhead is like the Sugar Island mentioned previously but has better reinforcement (glassed blades) and an awesome t grip. they are heavy but exceptional performers (stiff, strong, huge catch) and rather cheap. $80 Cdn.

let us know what you go with, curious…

Werner Canoe Point
$60.00, indestructable, but it’s is F/G shaft and plastic blade. The digginest paddle I have ever used.


– Last Updated: Nov-01-04 5:31 PM EST –

Mike, Your paddles are the best, but you asked, so I say call Camp Paddle co and check out theirs.


Dynel cloth is NOT a good cloth for
reinforcing the face of a paddle, and impregnating the cloth with carbon powder is just silly. In addition, a 52" bent shaft paddle is of no use in whitewater. It is too short, and the bent shaft (unless 5 degrees or less) will make the paddle difficult to use for low bracing or compound strokes.

The proper fibers for facing a wood paddle blade are glass or carbon FIBERS, not powder.

I have Norse paddles, broken in, and
for sale cheap. Actually, Norses handle pretty well, will fly into position for rolling, but are stiff and heavy.

BB Expedition Plus
As others have recommended. I’ve had mine about 4-5 years now and had good service from it. BB has extended the length of the Rock Guard up past the throat since I bought mine – a bonus I would think. It’s a value at its med-range price. Mine has fairly good balance, a durable edge and straight grained wood – not bad for a paddle I ordered sight unseen (not typical for me). The reinforced edge is still intact and I’ve had no delaminating problems with the fiberglass reinforced blade or the wood joints. The upkeep has been minimal - periodic sanding and re-varnishing, like any wood paddle.

Thats your opinion…
Before I get any more stident replies, let me write that Camp offers many paddles, in all sizes and types. Their background is in flatwater raceing, but they do know their way around the woodshop, and water. The link I posted above was just a pic of one paddle. The people are good, the wood is good, the paddling is good. Call them and see if they make a paddle that you like.

I used the same Harmony paddles
for quited some time. In my definition they don’t fall under the term “plastic” because of the other composites which are probably fibreglass etc. If you are open to non wooden paddles i would suggest this make. I believe they are called Harmony C1 Descent.

Thanks for all the input.

I have checked them out. And some do seem nicer than others. The BB Expedition Plus seems well accepted here.

No one mentioned the Mitchell Open Boat WW paddle, anyone have any experience with it?

Anyone care to send me a blade tracing of the BB Expedition Plus?

Thanks, Mike

Blade tracing …
I’ll send you a blade tracing of my Expedition Plus paddle blade; if you’ll email me your mailing address. Could also send you a tracing of the Grey Owl Hammerhead. Two other paddles I have whose tracings might interest you are:

Rio Grande (Wild & Scenic River Collection) by David Mitchell

Noatak (Wild & Scenic River Collection) by David Mitchell This one is a beauty!

That might earn me a discount on a paddle eh???


Thanks Bob
E-mail sent. Probably be interested in all of 'em.

I want to focus on a WW paddle. Just trying to get an idea as to what blade shape makes for a good WW paddle.


Strident?? Try derisive.
The facts about Dynel have been known for a long time. Camp can do what they want with Dynel, but it is not a structural fiber. It is used only for surfaces exposed to wear. Most of the face of a paddle is not exposed to frictional wear, only the edges. So a paddle builder using well-recognized knowledge will use Dynel only on the edges, if at all.

Camp needs to imitate Mitchell, if they are serious. Otherwise Camp is selling the sizzle without the steak.

Curved blade
gives good bite. I like my curved blade Mitchell Premier. The carbon is noticeably lighter than the wood. Mitchell’s have an excellent customer service reputation. They will rerope the edges or repair for little cost, thus extending the life of the paddle. At $200 for all wood it is high end but it might serve you well for years. The same can’t be said for a fiberglass with chewed edges, they just whittle down and have to be replaced.

Make sure you get the right length. I’ve seen different guidelines that produce varied results. Two or three inches can make a difference in getting the most out of the blade.

Roughly stated, a method I picked up from Tom Foster is to assume a forward stroke position with proper torso rotation, grip hand about mid-forehead and blade mostly to completely immersed at the catch phase.