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Thread: Looking for advice on carbon fiber paddles.

  1. #1
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    Default Looking for advice on carbon fiber paddles.

    I am thinking of buying a carbon fiber canoe paddle and also a cf kayak paddle. Both will be used on lakes and calm water rivers only by me and 1 friend.
    For loaning out I have wooden and plastic paddles, for whitewater I rent the canoe with paddles.
    The canoe paddle will probably be a bent shaft but perhaps not.
    These won't be used for 10 hour paddles in the US/CN boundary waters, mostly a few hours at a time on quiet water.

    As for carbon fiber I like the light weight, don't care for the heavy price.

    I'm looking for advice from those who have experience with different brands and prices of carbon fiber paddles to help me make a selection.

    Thanks, Chris.
    Last edited by C.Collins; 04-12-2019 at 11:07 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Looking for advice on carbon fiber paddles.

    Paddles are a very personal choice - the best method I've met is to try as many different ones as you can lay your hands on.

    Clubs are good for this approach.


    P.S. There are very light paddles which are poorly balanced - this can be tedious.
    Last edited by P.I. Stazzer-Newt; 04-12-2019 at 02:45 PM.
    Creationists aren't mad - they're possessed of demons.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Looking for advice on carbon fiber paddles.

    Not the answer you are looking for. Given the relatively light use in quiet waters I would not spend the money on carbon fiber. There are wood paddles almost as light for less money and can be easily cared for.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Looking for advice on carbon fiber paddles.

    mine are 25 years old. 'Black Bart' model by Barton. not made anymore, the Cadillac of carbon paddles at the time. Zav's paddles broke a lot back then, don't know how the are now, but his blade design was never pleasing to my eye.

    stiff carbon paddles will cause shoulders to ache. a very common complaint. I haven't used the carbon paddles much in the last few years because of that.
    Get some good wood bent shafts is my suggestion. Paint them black like my buddy did.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Looking for advice on carbon fiber paddles.

    A good wooden bent shaft is nearly as light as a carbon one, so I've never seen a need for one. I have a couple 52" wooden Camp bent shafts that I used to use for marathon racing which are awfully hard to beat (shown at right).

    paddles.jpg

    My carbon kayak paddle is a Werner Camano. It is excellent, was expensive, and hardly gets any use any more. After I built a couple Greenland-style paddles from $8 Home Depot cedar 2x4s I really never had any desire to go back to euro-style paddles for anything other than shallow water or whitewater paddling.

    Mariner4a.jpg

    paddles-002.jpg

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Looking for advice on carbon fiber paddles.

    I like paddles that can be used on edge, with flow across the blade. Carbon fiber shovels don't do this well.

    A paddle may be light, but the real labour comes from moving the water. A big shovel will move lots fo water, so its weight isn't really that important.

    Like Todd, I prefer Greenland paddles and long, high aspect ratio beaver tail canoe paddles

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Looking for advice on carbon fiber paddles.

    Thanks you all for the advice. You have me rethinking what I'll purchase.
    I think I'll go to the Midwest Mountaineering spring expo in Minneapolis in a few weeks to see whats available. Sadly I missed Canoecopia in Madison last month.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Looking for advice on carbon fiber paddles.

    Got the same combo as Todd, a quiver of Greenland paddles in western red, alaskan yellow and maine spruce, and some nice light bent shaft wooden canoe paddles. If you contact your local marathon canoe racing group you may find some pre carbon wooden bent shafts gathering dust.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Looking for advice on carbon fiber paddles.

    Quote Originally Posted by C.Collins View Post
    I am thinking of buying a carbon fiber canoe paddle and also a cf kayak paddle. Both will be used on lakes and calm water rivers only by me and 1 friend.
    For loaning out I have wooden and plastic paddles, for whitewater I rent the canoe with paddles.
    The canoe paddle will probably be a bent shaft but perhaps not.
    These won't be used for 10 hour paddles in the US/CN boundary waters, mostly a few hours at a time on quiet water.

    As for carbon fiber I like the light weight, don't care for the heavy price.

    I'm looking for advice from those who have experience with different brands and prices of carbon fiber paddles to help me make a selection.

    Thanks, Chris.
    I wouldnít pick a paddle because itís carbon but how the shape worked in the water then maybe itís carbon or whatever. For kayak paddles Epic Mid tour or Relaxed tour are good. Werner construction is good but their ferrules are occasionally funky and the Camano blade shape isnít to my preference.

    low Price, light weight and durability. You donít get all three. If you want a 24oz carbon kayak paddle you will spend money.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Looking for advice on carbon fiber paddles.

    Thanks, good advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    I wouldn’t pick a paddle because it’s carbon but how the shape worked in the water then maybe it’s carbon or whatever. For kayak paddles Epic Mid tour or Relaxed tour are good. Werner construction is good but their ferrules are occasionally funky and the Camano blade shape isn’t to my preference.

    low Price, light weight and durability. You don’t get all three. If you want a 24oz carbon kayak paddle you will spend money.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Looking for advice on carbon fiber paddles.

    Quote Originally Posted by robm View Post
    I like paddles that can be used on edge, with flow across the blade. Carbon fiber shovels don't do this well.

    A paddle may be light, but the real labour comes from moving the water. A big shovel will move lots fo water, so its weight isn't really that important.

    Like Todd, I prefer Greenland paddles and long, high aspect ratio beaver tail canoe paddles
    Paddles with lots of spoon to them don’t scull well and aren’t that nice for rolling, doesn’t matter the material. Lightning paddles, no longer made, and Epic touring blades are more user friendly for the characteristic you describe although nothing like a Greenland paddle.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Looking for advice on carbon fiber paddles.

    My wife's 57" spruce Penobscot style paddle from Shaw & Tenney weighs 19.7 ounces -- just a bit more than some carbon fiber paddles.

    It is very nicely balanced, and more than strong enough for use on lakes and quiet river waters. The area near and where the shaft meets the blade feels vastly better in hand than any synthetic paddle I have ever held -- and that's where one of your hands will spend a fair amount of time while paddling. I find that a bent-shaft lacks the versatility of a straight shaft for ordinary paddling -- a bent shaft can provide an edge when racing. It find it awkward feeling, and is actually awkward for many of the strokes used in general paddling -- it's not so handy for a quick back paddle, or for a draw or pry -- strokes that are handy even when not in white water -- for example, on a narrow winding stream or when approaching a dock.

    Shaw & Tenney paddles are beautifully crafted -- and can be had in a variety of woods, but if light weight (with considerable strength) is a prime factor, it is hard to beat spruce. They are not bargain-basement paddles, but are worth every dollar.

    ss IMG_0001.jpg

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Looking for advice on carbon fiber paddles.

    Thanks, I'll go to the website and look right now.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Looking for advice on carbon fiber paddles.

    I've mentioned this before, but it is worth noting again that there are some wooden paddles currently being made by small producers which you will see at shows which contain some really elegant piecing, inlays or laminating, usually with hardwoods. Unfortunately, a surprising number of them look incredible, but aren't really very good paddles. Their balance is terrible, and that generally means they are way too blade-heavy because that fancy blade wasn't thinned out well enough. When you grab a paddle at the throat area, just above the blade and hold it loosely with just that hand, it should seek a pretty level, horizontal attitude all by itself. Paddles with bad balance are blade-heavy and want to remain vertical. Since it is going to need to come up to a horizontal angle at some time as part of just about every stroke, it either does it by itself (balances) or you have to lift it (blade-heavy). One which balances well is easier on you and its mass will be more centered, giving you a feeling of having better control of it.

    The same holds true for the hardwood (usually maple or ash) one piece traditional paddles. In order to achieve good balance, those long hardwood blades have to be thinned out much more than the same shape made from spruce would need to be. The best looking traditional paddles that I am aware of these days are these ash paddles on the website of the Bark Canoe Store. About the last thing on the planet I need is another canoe paddle or two, but I have a couple of these on my wish list.



    http://www.barkcanoe.com/accessories.htm

    I have a superb maple paddle that has to be nearly a century old or more which this is very similar. The carefully profiled and ovaled shaft, thinned blade and slight bulb at the tip for durability are very rare these days, but if you want a really great traditional paddle from hardwood, this is how you do it. Mine is only about four ounces heavier than a similar spruce paddle and has a very lively spring to it. The grip is actually eight-sided with the corners eased, which tapers out to just about round at the bottom of the grip. Moving downward, the shaft becomes oval (indicates the blade's angle without needing to look) and the upper portion of the blade has a slight ridge running downward and tapering out. The thin lower section of the bade ends with a small bulb at the bottom. I bought it off of a guy for $25 back in the '70s and it quickly became one of my favorites.

    ATTACH=CONFIG]35598[/ATTACH]
    Attached Images Attached Images

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Looking for advice on carbon fiber paddles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Bradshaw View Post
    The best looking traditional paddles that I am aware of these days are these ash paddles on the website of the Bark Canoe Store. About the last thing on the planet I need is another canoe paddle or two, but I have a couple of these on my wish list.



    http://www.barkcanoe.com/accessories.htm



    ATTACH=CONFIG]35598[/ATTACH]
    I called out there today and the gentleman was nice on the phone but he didn't know what his paddles weigh and didn't offer to find out. I told him the weight was not critical but it was important for me to know before I bought one. He then said a modern laminated paddle might be better for me if I wasn't looking for some thing had to look traditional but he doesn't sell modern laminated ones. His price is good, $69.95 and if he knew the weight and it was reasonable I probably would have bought one.

    Nice guy, just sort of an odd approach to paddle sales.
    I'll keep looking.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Looking for advice on carbon fiber paddles.

    I told him the weight was not critical but it was important for me to know before I bought one.
    The weight is what it is, but if you are looking for a traditional hardwood paddle you aren't going to find a better made one or a lighter one. You could likely save a few ounces on a traditional paddle from spruce (Shaw and Tenney, Old Town, etc.) though it will usually come with a certain amount of loss of durability as well and be a bit bulkier. I think I own eight Shaw and Tenneys (all spruce, for the fur trade canoe ) and six Old Towns (four spruce, two ash). They're all good paddles, but not as nicely sculpted and carefully thinned as the Bark Store's paddle.

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