I don’t have the most knowledge when it comes to paddles (for that contact Hopper at Hardcore Surf and Paddle or talk to Brad), but I do have a little bit. I learnt this September while paddling the Red River, that a paddle is not JUST a paddle, it is your connection to the water. For the last seven years, I have been using cheaper, larger and heavier paddles from Canadian Tire or Costco because I never thought it really mattered or had the funds to buy multiple paddles to experiment.
In September I tried a carbon fibre paddle and it was AMAZING. The weight, the flexibility, and the performance the paddle had made such a difference in my water experience. It felt like an extension of my arm rather than a heavy instrument that I had to negotiate in the water. I learnt that the shape of the blade, the size of the blade, the composition of the paddle, and appropriate length of the paddle are all attributes that go a long way in providing you with the perfect paddle - for you.
Based on my experience of paddling with a good quality carbon paddle versus the cheaper brands, I decided to invest in good quality paddles for my business. Rather than take a more economic route and order cheaper, heavier paddles for my customers, I invested in good quality paddles (name brand not to be mentioned – but there are a few good brands you can’t go wrong with). The decision was more expensive however I would rather have my customers have a great experience on the water with a tear dropped shaped paddle that allows for clean water entry, a stable catch phase and a clean exit.
Some advice I received is that you should spend more money on a good quality paddle, and less on an expensive board if you have to choose at the time of purchase. This is “generally” speaking if you are looking for an all-around recreational board. Board options are plenty and there are many great websites and you tube videos to help you make an informed decision about which board you should buy; hard board or inflatable, size, length, etc. Getting the right board depends on what you want to do – yoga, touring, racing, recreational paddling, and the primary user – height, weight, and paddle experience.
So like me, you may not be a generational paddle enthusiast with 36 paddles and 14 boards, but I can tell you with good conscience that spending the extra money on a decent paddle is well worth the investment.