These three paddles all come under £100, they are light, hard wearing and kinder to my shoulders due to wood having more flex compared to other materials. Apart from fast moving white water these three paddles have covered all the environments that I paddle in.
|My height: 5ft6/168cm
|Blade surface area
|120 sq in
If you are looking to buy your first wooden paddle or if you are only going to buy one paddle, then this is the one, the work horse that does it all.
I’ve had this paddle for almost 12 months, i’ve used it a lot for coaching on sheltered water where I am maneuvering around, playing games and the water gets shallow. New instructors have been trying it out and have enjoyed how light it is compared to other materials and warm on the hands in the winter months.
I use it on the Wye when the water gets shallow or bumpy and on open water when I want a bit more power. Previously I used a heavier, beaver tail paddle whilst working on Bala lake, I didn’t realise at the time but this was the main contributor to a long winded shoulder injury due to the blade creating too much resistance in the water for me. So now, unless i’m on white water where I want more power, my preference is for a smaller blade and to up my cadence instead.
I generally take two paddles, the Voyageur and an otter tail paddle (long, thinner blade), which I use when the water gets deeper and I’m journeying.
- Can be used for everything
- Good for tandem paddling, especially for a bow paddler.
- Can be used to generate power
- Laminated wood that is varnished, so could be harder to maintain compared to an oiled paddle
- Not as satisfying for under water recovery compared to otter tails
This is my favourite paddle, I have owned one since around 2011.
The shape is known as an 'otter tail', I love how the thin, long blade feels in the water, it's really satisfying to use and can add a little finesse to your stroke.
I would say I use the guide for the majority of my paddling, apart from when it gets really shallow or when I need to generate more power, in the wind for example.
This paddle is fab for both solo and stern paddling, as it gives you a nice reach in the water when performing correction strokes. It is lovely for underwater recovary, I often use the Indian stroke when cruising along and this is perfect for it.
- Great feedback and feel in the water
- Good for under water recovary strokes
- Lovely for solo and stern use as it gives you that extra reach in the water
Longer and thinner than the Guide, this paddle I have used the least. It is a deep water otter tail. Due to it's length, it is less of an all rounder compared to the other two. I have used it for journeying on lakes and on the river Wye.
Intially, I was unsure about it, it felt very different to my other paddles and it took a little more getting used to. When I tried to use it during sessions, it felt less manoeuverable due to it's length. I also felt a greater resistance, due to the larger surface area in the water and because the blade reaches into deeper water where the pressure is higher, meaning there is a greater force exherted on the blade.
However all that said, once I got used to this, I found it was a great paddle to have in my arsenal, I have used it when I want to cover distance and found that I could cruise along at a respectable speed. Which certainly helps when you're working with tandem groups but you're paddling solo!
Due to it's length, I tend to keep the blade in the water and use under water recovary strokes. This is aided by the smaller palm grip which is lovely to use for palm rolling and the shaft is narrower also.
- Great for covering distance in deep water
- Good for underwater recovary strokes
- Smaller grip for palm rolling