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Thread: Review of my paddle selection.

  1. #1
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    Default Review of my paddle selection.

    Since starting canoing a few years ago I have assembled a collection of paddles. Some wood, some composite. I use them all but do have my favourites. I thought it would be useful to review them all for others who have an interest.

    OK here we go:-

    My first purchase Grey Owl Guide.

    Cost about 75-80

    This is rather like the Chieftain being a deep water otter tail paddle. It has a reinforced tip. Unlike the Chieftan it is not one piece but is made of laminated cherry. It is quite heavy but I had to have it as it had a lovely dark finish and a good grain pattern. It is a great paddle and you can paddle with it all day with no fatigue. A great stern paddle as makes a good long rudder when needed.



    Ok Paddle No 2 Grey Owl Voyageur

    Cost about 70

    This is again a laminated paddle being ash and bass. Has a short wide blade. A stiff paddle which I keep for use when shallow and rocky. I often pass it to an inexperience bow paddler as the paddle is as hard as nails and can take a beating. Not a paddle to use all day as it does shift a lot of water. Guaranteed to give you a sore shoulder after too long.



    Paddle No 3

    Whiskeyjack Good Sky

    If you can get one I think you will now need to part with a bit more than 100

    This is a classic beaver tail paddle. Laminated from red cedar. A tough but very light paddle. Beautiful paddle and one which other paddlers are always keen to borrow and use. Does tend to wear a bit on the laminated shaft but nothing a bit of wire wool and Danish oil cant sort out every now and then. Looks great and well made but a bit fragile on the thin edges. I do like this one.



    Paddle No 4 Whiskeyjack Chaser

    Cost- 170 ( I got mine 2nd hand for 57)

    This is a bent shaft paddle which I know is not everyone's cup of tea but it works well for me solo or a short bow paddler is happy with this. Light, strong and with the blade wrapped in fibreglass are pretty bullitproof. Shifts a fair bit of water and makes you get a move on! All hand crafted with a lovely shaped top grip. A very nice paddle. Those new to bent shaft paddles always try and use them the wrong way around to start with!!



    Paddle No 5 Eden Wood Malakeet

    Cost was about 90 but prices have risen since.

    I saw this and fancied having ago at the Northwoods stroke which I am slowly getting to grips with but is probably more of a Fenmans stroke than a true Northwoods but it keeps me on a straight course. You do have to remember to keep your hands low.
    A well made paddle in ash, nicely balanced and with a graphite tip insert. Looks like a deep water paddle but used more in a horizontal plain. Worth a look so see the review on this company in this section of the forum.



    Paddle No 6 Mitchell Surreal

    Cost at the time about 2 years ago 200 but a bit cheaper now.

    My first introduction into composite. Light and strong and well made. A fantastic paddle to use and has loads of power. A bit of flutter but a real weed cutter with its knife blade on the recovery stroke. Has a thick shaft so you will need big hands for this. Surreal by name and nature. A good all day paddle and the blade is fantastically strong although looking fragile. Some may not like the combination of wood and composite. The laminated shaft does rub/wear slightly and needs the occasional rub down with wire wool and Danish oil. Try one. It will be a Marmite paddle; you will either love it or hate it!



    Paddle No 7 We-no -nah Carbon Black Lite bent Shaft

    Cost 160

    My latest purchase A totally composite carbon paddle. A bit like Mike Tyson was; not pretty but very effective. So light at 15oz and it it is unbelievably strong. I went out for a couple of hours on Saturday in my Merlin II and took this paddle and the Mitchell Surreal. the Mitchell didn't get a look in! We screamed along with total ease. This paddle is light, strong and a joy to use but again it is a bent shaft which takes a bit of getting used to. I could paddle with it all the day without a problem and after 2 hours of paddling there was no strain on wrists, arm or shoulders. Well worth the cost.




    Well that's my collection. I have found that decent paddles do help and the use of composites has to be considered. Work out how many paddle strokes you do each minute, hour and paddling day. Then think about halving the weight you lift on each stroke. A huge difference.

    I do a fair bit of pry stroking off the gunnels so do wear the paddle shafts but a quick rub down with some fine wire wool and then finished with Danish oil restores all back to how it should be. I use all my paddles but they are things of beauty so hang them in the hall of my home for all to admire. Best bit of advice....buy the best you can afford and you will notice the difference.

    Blott

  2. #2

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    I reckon that the paddle is just as important as the boat!

    Can you still enjoy your wooden paddles after using the composite?

    I found that once you've tried ultra light carbon paddles, you'll never go back! (me, anyway)

    for stiffness and lightness you can't beat it!

  3. #3
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    Default We-no -nah Carbon Black Lite bent Shaft

    Quite fancy one of those for the Prism arriving Wednesday.....but may have to wait until finance's allow.....where do they have them in stock?....Brookbank's don't show them....I'm 5'10" and of a 'large' build, I'm told that the optimum length for a bent shaft is shorter than that of a straight shaft....so I was thinking 54" would that sound right?
    i'm a novice as well so that will probably complicate things.
    Regards....Woody123



    Paddle No 7 We-no -nah Carbon Black Lite bent Shaft

    Cost 160

    My latest purchase A totally composite carbon paddle. A bit like Mike Tyson was; not pretty but very effective. So light at 15oz and it it is unbelievably strong. I went out for a couple of hours on Saturday in my Merlin II and took this paddle and the Mitchell Surreal. the Mitchell didn't get a look in! We screamed along with total ease. This paddle is light, strong and a joy to use but again it is a bent shaft which takes a bit of getting used to. I could paddle with it all the day without a problem and after 2 hours of paddling there was no strain on wrists, arm or shoulders. Well worth the cost.

    Now all the gear but still no idea.

  4. #4
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    Wavecloud- as you say i now do tend to pick up the composites ahead of the wooden paddles now as they are just so light, easy to use and efficient. Not as pretty as the wooden paddles though.

    Woody, try Marsport which is where I found my We no nah black lite for 160 delivered.

    Blott

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blott View Post
    Wavecloud- as you say i now do tend to pick up the composites ahead of the wooden paddles now as they are just so light, easy to use and efficient. Not as pretty as the wooden paddles though.

    Woody, try Marsport which is where I found my We no nah black lite for 160 delivered.

    Blott

    Thanks for that
    Now all the gear but still no idea.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blott View Post
    Wavecloud- as you say i now do tend to pick up the composites ahead of the wooden paddles now as they are just so light, easy to use and efficient. Not as pretty as the wooden paddles though.

    Woody, try Marsport which is where I found my We no nah black lite for 160 delivered.

    Blott
    I preffer the look of Carbon weave

    Without doubt, though, the Surreal by Mitchell is the most attractive paddle out there. I wish they would make a slightly longer one though, as their longest is too short for me :-(

  7. #7
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    Interesting that so few paddle manufacturers give you blade area measurements. Grey Owl do this as do Werner but Whiskey Jack, Mitchell and Wenonah do not. The reason I investigated this was you note about the Voyager shifting a lot of water but the blade area is actually only 8% larger than the Guide. I think it has as much to do with the blade profile as the area.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Cooper View Post
    Interesting that so few paddle manufacturers give you blade area measurements. Grey Owl do this as do Werner but Whiskey Jack, Mitchell and Wenonah do not. The reason I investigated this was you note about the Voyager shifting a lot of water but the blade area is actually only 8% larger than the Guide. I think it has as much to do with the blade profile as the area.
    Adrian - do you mean, blade outline or profile through the thickness of blade??

  9. #9
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    Default Interesting Review

    and on the Whiskeyjack Goodsky and the We no nah bentshaft i absolutely agree.......after trying many many paddles i have whittled my collection down to these two.
    Woody123 you will find that your Prism will respond very well to the We no nah ,in fact as if they were matched to one another.
    The carbon paddle is all you need but now and then i love to C stroke along with the Goodsky and it is just brawwillie
    "Every action of our lives touches on
    some chord that will vibrate in eternity"

    Edwin Hubbel Chapin

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by wavecloud View Post
    Adrian - do you mean, blade outline or profile through the thickness of blade??
    No, Dave, nothing so complicated, just the flat surface area.

    There is of course a balance between having a large blade pulling a lot of water, providing plenty of pressure and a small blade area with a high cadence shifting smaller volumes with each stroke. Racers use these smaller blades, whitewater paddlers usually use larger blades but at some point, these will become either too small or too large. There must be a science there somewhere.

  11. #11
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    The We no nah comes uncut so you cut it to the desired length and then stick the grip on. Two observations (1) Measure at least twice and cut once. (2) Make sure you stick the grip on the correct way around otherwise you will be in for a large amount of wrist ache!!

    Blott

  12. #12
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    Interesting. I very much enjoyed looking through your collection. I love the whiskey jacks beaver tail, i have been trying to draw that shape out to make one for ages just can't get it right.

    Great insight to various paddles.


    Thanks

    Alan

  13. #13
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    Think I am going to need to try one first at 54" and see if it fits before I go chopping a 160 paddle up and finding it's too short.......is there no formula available which suggest the right length or is it just down to personal preference?
    Regards Woody123

    Quote Originally Posted by Blott View Post
    The We no nah comes uncut so you cut it to the desired length and then stick the grip on. Two observations (1) Measure at least twice and cut once. (2) Make sure you stick the grip on the correct way around otherwise you will be in for a large amount of wrist ache!!

    Blott
    Now all the gear but still no idea.

  14. #14
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    I don't think Wenonah makes paddles. Bell never did..they subbed to Grey Owl and slapped the Bell decal on.

    Looks like a ZRE to me with the Wenonah decal.

    http://www.zre.com/
    "Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing." WS-prophecy about internet postings.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by yellowcanoe View Post
    I don't think Wenonah makes paddles. Bell never did..they subbed to Grey Owl and slapped the Bell decal on.

    Looks like a ZRE to me with the Wenonah decal.

    http://www.zre.com/
    Reckon thats bang on!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by packman View Post
    and on the Whiskeyjack Goodsky and the We no nah bentshaft i absolutely agree.......after trying many many paddles i have whittled my collection down to these two.
    Woody123 you will find that your Prism will respond very well to the We no nah ,in fact as if they were matched to one another.
    The carbon paddle is all you need but now and then i love to C stroke along with the Goodsky and it is just brawwillie
    Ordered one Monday and paid extra for next day delivery.....Brookbank say that their supplier sent a straight one....and it should be here tomorrow (wednesday)....also got a Mitchel double bend carbon blade and wooden shaft but only 50".....the wenonah should arrive uncut...we'll wait and see.
    Mark
    Now all the gear but still no idea.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blott View Post
    Paddle No 6 Mitchell Surreal

    Cost at the time about 2 years ago 200 but a bit cheaper now.

    My first introduction into composite. Light and strong and well made. A fantastic paddle to use and has loads of power. A bit of flutter but a real weed cutter with its knife blade on the recovery stroke. Has a thick shaft so you will need big hands for this. Surreal by name and nature. A good all day paddle and the blade is fantastically strong although looking fragile. Some may not like the combination of wood and composite. The laminated shaft does rub/wear slightly and needs the occasional rub down with wire wool and Danish oil. Try one. It will be a Marmite paddle; you will either love it or hate it!



    Well that's my collection. I have found that decent paddles do help and the use of composites has to be considered. Work out how many paddle strokes you do each minute, hour and paddling day. Then think about halving the weight you lift on each stroke. A huge difference.

    I do a fair bit of pry stroking off the gunnels so do wear the paddle shafts but a quick rub down with some fine wire wool and then finished with Danish oil restores all back to how it should be. I use all my paddles but they are things of beauty so hang them in the hall of my home for all to admire. Best bit of advice....buy the best you can afford and you will notice the difference.

    Blott
    Thanks for the review, it is always good to hear how kit compares. I really fancy getting a mitchell surreal some day. They certainly look like a great option for a lightweight paddle. They must be good because people don't seem to sell them on i've never seen one come up in classifieds or on ebay. The full carbon We no nah also sounds like a good performer, but i think i prefer the idea of a wood/composite mix over pure composite (at least as a first foray into lightweight composites).

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