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Thread: A Plethora of paddling pals

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Central Scotland

    Default A Plethora of paddling pals

    Hi All,

    Got a fair selection of paddles and it's taken me a little bit of time to figure out what I like and what I don't like. My 4 main users are shown below. Normally for both loch and canal trips as well as river touring, I take 2 paddles, one for deep water and one for shallow/backup. For a WW river trip I take two for shallow water. So bring out the paddles!!;

    left to right;

    Far left - An oiled, cherry beavertail with 'euro/ergo' grip made by my own fair hand with a lot of help from Graham Warren at Moosehead Canoes during a paddlemaking day we had a wee while ago.

    2nd from left - a Werner Rec bought at Paddle 2011 up in Perth and on it's first outing!

    2nd from right - My trusty ancient ainsworth c100, got a couple of these from the guy I got my first boat from, this one is labelled as 155cm, the other is 165 I think.

    Far right - A Redtail LBND Red with 'euro/ergo' dunno how long it is!?

    So, reviews from the left;

    Beavertail - I really like this paddle, it has a big surface area so can shift a fair whack of water, if I could change anything it would be maybe to take 50mm off the shaft length, it may be just a little too long, I find my top hand above my head sometimes but I'm not a very good judge of this type of thing. When I am concentrating and focussing on my stroke technique it seems fine but I think it's a little long, maybe because the blade is so big! Also the shaft is a little too thin, just a fraction, it's fine with gloves on but I like it a little thicker.... easy!

    I love the grip and have no problems with my wrists or rotating it if needs must. Weight and balance is really good and knifes through the water nicely too for underwater recovery. It also seems to be pretty hard wearing even though it's just oiled with linseed. This is the paddle I always take with me now, if anything happened to it I'd be distraught and would get another one immediately. Can you tell I like this paddle and not just because I made it!

    Werner rec - Ok new paddle to me, didn't like the yellow shaft, so before cutting it and epoxying the handle, I put some heatshrink on it and then another bit to protect the heatshrink from the side of the boat. I cut this to the same length as the C100 as that fella fits me perfectly. tbh I cut it a little shorter as the Werner has a slightly longer blade. This is a nice paddle, grip is OK (Werner on the left, C100 on the right)

    Weight and balance of this one is good, has quite a big face too so shifts a bit of water. Don't find it knifes back too nicely, it can be done but not as sweetly. This is going to be my backup/shallow/whitewater paddle and will come out with me most days.

    C100 - what can I say, a beater if ever there was one but it has served me very well and taken a lot of beginners abuse. I even use it to break ice and it will be pressed for those duties in the future. It is a pretty old model and so pretty heavy and the heatshrink on the shaft is now showing signs of wear but it's still very usable. Not bad balance out the water but in the water the foamy core of the blade makes it floaty which I don't really like, knifing it back is a battle but still really good for whitewater. I used it for icebreaking a couple of years ago and got a bit too zealous exposing the foam core...

    Still works and any water ingress doesn't seemed to have caused any damage. I think this guy should outlive cockroaches in the event of a nuclear war!

    Redtail - This ottertail(ish) design is a joy, super light, knifes like a dream, shaft thickness is perfect and looks great... hmmm must say something bad now...

    Oh handle is great too, more pronounced than my beavertail but still really comfortable.

    ok ok, bad things... it may be a little too light, almost has no presence and feels a little light and fragile. It's not, I've given it dogs abuse but it feels fragile. Probably horrify some by saying it could do with being a little heavier! Also the blade area is not huge so doesn't shift a lot of water.

    These 'criticisms' are not really fair, the lightness is great and it's never made me worry it's going to break and the smaller blade area makes it ideal for long trips, you can use this all day and it won't tire you out. As most of my trips are day trips this is less of a factor for me.

    Lastly the glamour shot!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    South Lakes


    I know what you mean about the Redtail's lightness. While looking around for a wooden paddle, I tried a number of different 'Redtail' offerings. The one thing that put me off them in actual use, was their lightness. Now it a kayak paddle, I strive for less weight, (except in strong wind conditions). But in a canoe paddle, I prefer a little more weight. I ended up with a 'Grey Owl Chieftain' in cherry. I've tried a great homemade beavertail in ash and though on the heavy side, was a joy to use. Weight wise the 'Chieftain' is somewhere in between. Light but with a positive feel when planted in the water.
    May the gentleness of morning, greet your silent passage through endless waters...

    May all your winds be gentle. And for ww - May it rain the night before.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008


    Excellent review.
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

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