on a trip to chicago in 2010 i picked up a custom version of a turtle paddle. in their terminology, it's a stylus blade with the shaft of the whip-poor-will. if that sounds somewhat cryptic: it's a smallish ottertail with a narrow tip, combined with a shaft that gets thinner and flatter towards the grip.

why did this appeal to me? i was looking for something that i could use as an all-day tripping paddle, that would allow me to easily maintain a decent pace (not racing, just good going) over many hours, without yanking out my shoulders. kind of like using a high cadence when cycling longer distances.



and that's exactly what this paddle does: the long, narrow blade helps maintain a relatively high stroke rate without putting on excessive load with each stroke.
the flex of the flattened out shaft also puts less stress on the body.

i also like that the northwoods style grip lets you use different hand positions, thereby effectively using the shaft at various lengths, and preventing fatigue by switching every now and then.



it also lends itself to a variety of solo correction and steering strokes: the blade is really easy to twist and turn in the water and simply a joy to use. it actually feels like it never wants to leave the water!

this lets you forgive the not especially light weight - 870gr. but as linked strokes are so easy and fun to do with this one, you don't actually need to do too much lifting.



it's made from a nice piece of wood, a perfect cut for a paddle and also has very beautiful markings.
it is well finished but the edges are not as thin as on some others. that makes it less vulnerable and it still paddles quietly due to the way they are angled. the wood is left a bit thicker at the tip to make it stronger where you would strike obstacles at the bottom.
while thinner blades may have their benefits this is a good compromise for me as it makes it more sturdy for tripping.

while you may want a heftier blade and stiffer paddle in a strong headwind other other situations where you want to put a lot of power into the water, this has become my favourite paddle for long days of gentle cruising on open water.