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Thread: Wooden or metal paddles?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Anchorage, AK

    Default Wooden or metal paddles?

    Which would you suggest for a paddle- wood or the plastic and metal kind?

    They cost the same so it just comes down to which one would be better.

    Just a bitter Alaskan clinging to his guns and religion.....

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Default Paddles

    Alummin shaft an plastic paddle an handle last a long time, no maintance,
    {up keep ] the wodden are cheep but need up keep if you do a lot of paddleing the fiberglass over wood are great, they all work wood are cheep alummin shaft lo maintance, cold on hands, fiberglass over wood are great but cost is a problem, that is my 2 cts but don't forget every one has a different idea, good luck there is a person on this web site that rents canoes ask him what he uses "alaskacamoe" is his handle I think send him a PM he will get back to you good luck

  3. #3

    Default It depends on your use

    Are you getting something for the kids to beat around the lake, or something for serious tripping.

    Canoes paddles range in cost from about $15 upwards of $400 for carbon fiber lightweight paddles. I prefer to skip the cheap end stuff and get a decent paddle that suits my needs.

    I prefer wooden bent shaft paddles. They generally will set you back about $80 a piece depending on the brand and model. I also own a set of cheep Coleman paddles for the kids to use having splash fights.

    The wood is much more attractive, and it doesn't require much maintenance. You may need to apply a coat of varnish every few years.
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  4. #4
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Default sometimes people bring

    to Alaska their favorite paddle !
    Yes, I have had several guests over the years bring their own paddle from home with them on the airplane, just so they can use it on the lakes and rivers of alaska in a rented canoe >>>>
    The most common paddle that gets used in our rack , is the aluminum with plastic blade and T.. They are cold and some of the cheaper ones are not anodized, so where your hand grabs the throat of the paddle, your hand will soon be black from the aluminum rubbing off onto it..
    The wood paddles come in variety from $8 dollar standard paddles you can buy at the hardware store, to laminated bent shafts that can run in to the hundreds of dollars..
    wood is warm and has that organic feel to it. I like to paddle with it about as good as any paddle..
    dozens of styles of blades area available in all paddles, but those are sometimes like fishing lures.... they catch more people at the store than they do fish !!!lol
    Fiberglass are nice too, but some of those babies sink if you drop them off the side or tip over and lose your paddle.. that is never a good thing, so make sure it floats..
    carbon fiber, and other media are used too with cost being part of the exotic nature of those things....
    the most important part of picking a paddle to me,,, is,, the length of the paddle..
    sometimes, the generic paddle at the hardware store only come in 4ft, 4.5ft and 5 ft and on up with 6 inches between sizes..
    that is not really the best way to size a paddle unless you are just cranking out tons of them for the occasional user or the emergency paddle for your power boat..
    So... stand flat footed and have your mate, run a tape measure from the floor to your chin... then subtract 3 to 4 inches off that measurement and you will have a starting point of a paddle that will work in your favor for length...
    some like the paddle to almost touch the chin, but I like about 3 to 4 inches lower, as I like to switch places in the canoe with my partner and so a shorter paddle works better for the back of the canoe for me, but provides good ergonomics for the dude in the front for the motor guy.
    T handle or not???
    matter of how you like the grip.. its a personel choice no doubt,, as is all the the yak I have been spilling here... you need to find a paddle that fits you, and sometimes its like finding a good water melon..... You gotta thump a few of them before you find the right one..
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years.

  5. #5
    Member cristancanoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008


    I like my wood/fiberglass paddles since they feel "right" when paddling. The wood has a flex to it. We use bentshafts for flatwater paddling. We did break both of our lightweight ones this past summer during the race, so I am in the market for another set.

    I have a couple of werner fiberglass paddles we use for whitewater. They are very sturdy and hold up well to rocks and banging on the bottom.

    The plastic/aluminum paddles are okay. They are nearly indestructable and are inexpensive. I have a set I use for spares.

    I wanted to add that I agree with Alaskacanoe with his paddle length assessment. My regular paddle is 2 inches below my chin when standing. My racing paddles were sized while sitting in the canoe in water. This is more accurate, but becomes very specific to the boat and its load.
    Last edited by cristancanoe; 04-17-2010 at 21:05. Reason: I have terrible grammer today

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Whitehorse, Yukon


    Wood. Bring a spare. It feels alive in the hand.


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