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Thread: Ainsworth river vs play vs c100 paddles

  1. #1

    Default Ainsworth river vs play vs c100 paddles

    Hi,

    I'm looking to get a paddle for white(ish) water. It'll be grade 2-3, done in a prospector. I've got a nice deep water blade, but so far all my moving water paddling has been done with plastic TNP centre paddles and I'd like to do a budget upgrade.

    I see that c100 or Shlagel Duralen paddles (approx 60) get a lot of recommendations, as do Natahalas, Bandits, VEs and Mitchells (approx 160+), but no mention of the Ainsworth River or Play paddles.

    They are spooned and come in at the same price as the c100 (with the same options for adding a carbon shaft for more cash). Has anyone used them (or seen any other paddles worth looking at for under 100?). Is it worth getting a shaped blade for trad open boating? I certainly noticed the difference in a kayak moving from cheap, flat plastic paddles to a nice set of Werners but not sure if that holds true in canoes.

    Thanks,


    Tim

  2. #2
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    I've been using c100 with a glass shaft for years and they are great. Some people don't like the blades as they are really buoyant. But I like them. Not sure if they still do a glass fibre shaft, so I suppose carbon is an option. I don't like alloy shafts, there's no give in them.

    Just realised I have a couple of "river" Ainsworth paddles too. Nice and light, got a good "catch". But I'm a bit concerned when using them in whitewater, as you really need to be aware which face is the drive face. So ordinary c100's are easier.

    One drawback with the Nantahala is that the blade can wear to a razor sharp edge. (Not good if you use it to reach out to someone in a rescue).
    Last edited by Big Al.; 24th-March-2019 at 11:41 PM.
    Big Al.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
    ~Cree Indian Proverb

  3. #3
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    I have no experience of the paddles in question, but almost exclusively use spooned blades. But then I don't use any of the fiddley twiddley strokes, so only have to look once when starting out to see which is the drive face. I know that some have asymmetric T grips which give another clue.

    I wouldn't want to change, although I'm not sure quite why.

  4. #4
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    Just noticed this is your first post.
    Welcome to the forum.
    Big Al.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
    ~Cree Indian Proverb

  5. #5
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    Hello and welcome!

    I've borrowed the spooned version of the Ainsworth River, believe it was a carbon shaft, but poly blade. I thought they were actually rather good. For proper whitewater, if that's your intention, a spooned blade works well. As mentioned, less of an all rounder, but I used to refer to a different one as my "spoon of power", and it got deployed when it got really windy too. If you could stretch to the carbon shaft version with the poly blade, I'd go for it; the Ainsworth alloy shaft is a bit like a scaffolding pole in my opinion!

    I'm one of those who dislikes the stiffness of the standard C-100 shaft and combined with the buoyant blade, I really don't like mine, and its now reserved pretty much only for ice breaking!. I prefer the Schlagel to those.
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

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  6. #6

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    Thanks for the welcome and the input folks.

    Anyone know of somewhere that might demo them, or anyone who's got a used one going cheap? I'm Lakes based but heading over to the north east at the weekend.

    Tim

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    I favour the C100 for moving water, but I rounded off the rather sharp corners at the tip - less catchy and smoother in use. The rubbery plastic is easy to reshape with ordinary woodworking tools.

  8. #8
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    It is going to depend a lot on your own paddle style/techniques.
    Of the 3 Ainsworth's I have only used C100, and I first encountered it in the early 1990s. It does the job.

    There still seems to be a problem with the photos for the Play paddle on the website - I take it they are actually like the photo for the alloy shaft poly carbonate version?

    C100 is basic but perfectly useable and I sometimes carry one as a spare (I made it a 2-piece). The blade area is 'normal' at 820cm^2 and it has a squarish tip so power comes on directly in the stroke. The only limit is the 'flat' blade, which is actually not flat but bulges slightly in the centre so that it is not as efficient at gripping the water as not bulging blades, but if you perform your knifing J or C strokes in a way that you alternate between the face and back of the blade on consecutive strokes, this is probably the blade you would choose. But, as you progress on WW you are probably going to find that you don't use these kind of strokes very often, or at least that you modify them so you aren't flipping the grip over in your hand and risking losing contact with it when you need it most. If/when you change your paddling style to one where you never let go with the top hand on WW, the 'flat' blade will no longer make sense.

    The River blade I don't entirely understand. I would consider it a small blade at 800cm^2 (note that many people less strong than me might desire this) but they had also made it teardrop shaped so you get a more progressive power delivery on the catch. My instinct is that they have made a small blade weaker by doing this, but it is also curved and by keeping the spine/shaft on the back of the blade it avoids the bulge on the face that you get with the 'flat' blade, although it may have a small amount of dihedral (for stability). Curving the blade helps with power delivery during the catch because it means the tip enters more vertically than for a flat blade which may compensate for the teardrop profile and smaller area, but I suspect this blade is going to feel a little soft compared to a C100. Personally I would want a softer blade on the flat and more powerful feeling blade on WW which is why I don't understand the positioning of the river blade in the range - BUT I haven't tried it.

    The Play blade is more like the kind of blade I use on WW. Large area at 840cm^2, square tip for instant power in the catch, curved to maximise tip power on the catch. Only thing I am not too keen on is the dihedral which is there for stability but actually like the flat blade with its bulge, is reducing the efficiency. It is hard to tell from the photos but it does look similar in shape to the VE (but without the aircore on the back), which was my go to blade until about a year ago. Some of the OC1 guys found the all carbon VE quite hard on their shoulders because it is stiff (shaft and blade) and powerful, so they prefer the glass version - I would imagine the Play is going have similar traits so don't just pick carbon for light weight, try both carbon and glass and see which feels better to you.

    These days I mainly paddle C1 in slalom and WWR boats and use a GPower C1 paddle with about 820cm^2, square tip (with metal edge for protection), curved but no dihedral, very light and stiff all carbon, prior to getting it I used a carbon VE. I do however tend to use the same kind of paddle for everything, I have used that paddle in OC1 as well as the C1's, although I would probably feel protective of it and grab one of my VEs if there was a risk of damaging it. I have used it messing about on lochs in my Apche 16, and whilst I took a variety of paddles with me on a 3 day Spey trip a few years ago, I pretty quickly reverted to just using a VE all the time then.

    But a lot of it is about style/techniques.
    There is a traditional approach to canoeing on easy WW where you keep the boat moving slowly, use fancy strokes, reverse set and so on where you might prefer a flat blade.
    Or there is a more modern approach that works for harder WW, based on kayak and OC1 approaches, where you keep your speed up and attack the rapid forwards where your knifing stroke is more likely to be a goon stroke (called power-pry in OC1) into a bow draw than a delicate C stroke.
    Neither technique is 'wrong' and you might well switch between them for different rivers or rapids - always be open to trying different things.
    At a more microscopic level, over a 200m sprint in my WWR C1 (on flat water) I can use somewhere between 3 and 5 subtly different forward paddling techniques - that is 3-5 slightly different J strokes, and none of them require a flat blade to work

    How hard can it be?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TornadoTim View Post
    Thanks for the welcome and the input folks.

    Anyone know of somewhere that might demo them, or anyone who's got a used one going cheap? I'm Lakes based but heading over to the north east at the weekend.

    Tim
    I am as yet undecided whether or not to enter Wark slalom this weekend (sore knee, non paddling jobs to catch up), if I do I will be in C1 and I could try to remember to send you a PM if you were able to head up there to try something a little bit like a Play paddle (I could put VE and C100 in as well as my Gpower).

    Ooh, they have an open class (i.e. don't need to be ranked), you could enter it in your canoe (any size and shape of boat permitted up to and including div 2), people do very occasionally!
    Last edited by JimW; 27th-March-2019 at 10:39 AM.

    How hard can it be?

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    Jim, once again thanks. I now have a better understanding of why I like my paddles (and why I don't like some others). Previously I would have just had to say it was because of the "feel", now I have some clues as to why, and all your stuff, as always, makes great sense. For my part I am about to try a shorter 40 year old paddle to go with my something like that old Hahn C1 (and to touch on other discussion in the past, it would appear that for a fee, Millbrook would make me a new boat!!) and also, as I know you are into "waste not", I started looking for a spray deck so that I might gently seal launch when appropriate. They are quite expensive, and way tougher than I need. And then another problem arose. As I have no obvious signs of a waist, or rib cage, both my BAs have crotch traps, which means really that the deck would have to encompass the BA as well. I thought of Gino Watkins and his foray into Greenland kayaking and to his learning to roll, and the greenland cag/deck (Sealskin of course.)

    I have a cheepo Decathlon cag, huge enough to go over my BAs, for emergency use in a sudden down pour, and the hem was just big enough to go over the cockpit rim. So I bought another, in a colour was which tones with the Hahn, and with a slightly larger bottom hem, with which I am currently experimenting on with elastic tension before rendering it useless for its design by cutting off the hood and sleeves. Peak deck (not withstanding that they don't make one of the right shape), at least 70. Decathlon, 7.oo plus some bungee from the scran box.

    I'll let you know how it goes. Test needed for fixing the release strap, but may be my trusty Sticker Awl will come into its own again.

    Peter
    Impcanoe

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    Brilliant Peter!
    Clearly what you really need is a PeakUK Racer ST or a Hiko Jackpot - Cag/deck/BA all in one solution, but I don't think they come in your size or budget!
    The idea is that the BA is integrated into the cag deck and some of the buoyancy is moved into the spraydeck to allow the BA to be thinner for dodging around poles in slalom. I am not good enough to need one!
    Alternatively Reed make Tuliq's (what you are making) in aquatherm, but their price is actually not far from the race combi's!

    How hard can it be?

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    Do the mods to the deck/BA not hep to keep the paddler /swimmer heads down?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Impcanoe View Post
    Do the mods to the deck/BA not hep to keep the paddler /swimmer heads down?
    Apparently there is nothing completely new, and when something similar was tried years ago, this was one of the findings.
    These are intended for top level racers who rarely if ever need to leave their boats other than directly onto the bank so it should not be a concern, except of course that a couple of years on second hand ones are filtering down to less experienced paddlers. The first paddler in my club seen wearing one was a div 4 paddler in the Under 10 age group... I am quite sure that when swimming actively inversion is not a problem and being aided to lay flat on the water whilst swimming defensively in shallow water could be useful.

    How hard can it be?

  14. #14

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    Wow, that is a lot of detail, thanks!

    I think I'm likely to be ok with needing to keep using the same drive face, but it would be good to test it.

    Surface area wise, I doubt I need a massive blade as I'm quite slight (ie a bit weedy) and anything more than the 740cm^2 of the TNP paddle I've been using should be an improvement.

    Jim: This weekend I'm joining Ken Hughes as a group member for some folk who are on their Advanced Canoe Leader assessment, so I don't know exactly where and when I'll be paddling, but likely somewhere near Barnard Castle. If I can meet you somewhere to have a go with your paddles, that'd be great but I appreciate its a bit of a long shot.

    Tim

  15. #15

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    Someone's offering a Kober X Dream kayak paddle cheap, which I'm considering getting and swapping one of the blades for a T grip. I'll post a pic if I can figure out how.

    Tim

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    Really back to your subject after Jim and my hijack

    Today I paddled the Hahn up the Sunbury stream and back, using my adjustable paddle, with a flat plastic blade, following advice I have received from a real expert on here that I might need a shorter paddle to be happy cross bowing in my old slalom boat.

    The jury is still out on the cross bowing.The whole setup was not as "pleasant" as my normal. Blade flat and smaller (don't know by how much.)shaft stiffer (and cold) BUT

    about 50 years ago there was a sport theory called "the inner game", to which I subscribe as applied to canoes, skis, kayaks, etc. Distilled into a few words from a whole book, the idea is that the human brain is clever enough to deal with what ever you throw at it, if you distract it from worrying about what it is required to do. (example if you played a game of tennis, and then came indoors to play table tennis, you wouldn't start missing the table tennis ball by about half a metre. ) So to paddling. Today my paddle was about 10 cm shorter than my usual one, but I didn't fail to cover the blade (brain distracted by shallows , strainers, and trying to paddle up stream.) It was only when I drifted off into considering "how I felt" that any problems occurred.

    Make of that what you can.

    You will find yourself in fabulous scenery, on your course, but try to pick up as much as you can, not only what your leader says to you, but what he says to the others, whether his demos of what the others are doing matches what you see, if so you can be fairly sure he will be right about you. In particular listen for any pearls from Ken.

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    I'm joining Ken Hughes as a group member for some folk who are on their Advanced Canoe Leader assessment
    I'm sure you'll find a good selection of paddles to borrow and try in that group. They'll all have at least two, probably three.

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    Hi Tim

    A bit late to the discussion here, but welcome and here's my tuppence worth. You mention you've previously upgraded your kayak paddle to a Werner and noticed a big difference from other cheaper types. In answer to your question on whether difference in holds true in canoe paddles, the answer is, absolutely!

    For the record, I am no expert on white water paddle selection, however, I have tried the C100 next to my own Werner Nantahala and I prefer mine. If you already like their products I think you would be wise to try the Nantahala along with all of the others, you may feel the extra is justified.

    Cheers

    Mark
    "I'd far rather be happy than right any day"..........Slartibartfast

    http://apachecanoes.com

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    Ken's course will most likely be on the Tees rather than the Tyne, I think we will be too far apart (still not decided to go, going to try my C1 later and see how my knee is, and keep watching the levels) - I know Ken has a fondness for the Endless river Phantom, but I'm sure if you mention that you are looking to upgrade your paddle he can bring a selection of different types you could try, and as Chris says, the candidates are likely to have different types between them too. It would be a good exercise for them to try to work out your paddling style and try to fit you with an appropriate paddle!

    How hard can it be?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TornadoTim View Post
    Someone's offering a Kober X Dream kayak paddle cheap, which I'm considering getting and swapping one of the blades for a T grip. I'll post a pic if I can figure out how.

    Tim
    My first reaction was - Noooo! a kayak paddle blade will be too small for a canoe!

    Then I looked at Kober's website and can only see X-dream SF as a canoe paddle - if someone has make a kayak paddle using x-dream blades it is no wonder they are selling it cheap, they would be too big for kayaking! Also converting back to a canoe paddle would be easy. On the other hand, if it is a kayak paddle that is not on the website, refer to my initial reaction!

    How hard can it be?

  21. #21

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    Cheers for all the thoughts guys.

    Impcanoe, everyone loves a random detour so no worries.

    Jim, turns out that the assessment has been cancelled now anyway (so I'm sacking off paddling and going climbing instead), but the intent's appreciated.

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