now i have to buy a canoe...

Joined
Feb 13, 2014
Messages
142
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minnesota
Went shopping for odds & ends for when I do get my canoe. Bought paddles, PFD, rope, fishing net, couple fishing lures..... $400 spent and I dont even have a canoe yet. Now I gotta buy a canoe.
 
Joined
Feb 13, 2014
Messages
142
Location
minnesota
BTW. I spent $70 a piece on paddles. Bending Branches is the brand. I saw some cheap ones, about $25, but passed them up. Did I make a good decision? Or are cheap ones just as good?
 
Joined
Jan 31, 2013
Messages
260
Location
Middle of the Florida paddling paradise
Bending branches is what I use. Not the absolute best in the world but in the top 30% of paddles. Yes there is a difference. Weight is the first difference that comes to mind. Second is the shape of the blade. Third is the power face is most likely different. Then there is the shape of the handle and palm grip. Then on top of that their customer service is great. So yes you did good. The right paddles will make or break your canoe experience and you bought a good slightly above average paddle. Please do not get confused, upset, or disoriented by all the post on this board and other places about canoe paddle shape and size. You bought from a good company that makes good paddles. As time goes by you will learn more about the type you need to fit your needs and styles. Just get out on the water and carefully learn.
 
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BTW. I spent $70 a piece on paddles. Bending Branches is the brand. I saw some cheap ones, about $25, but passed them up. Did I make a good decision? Or are cheap ones just as good?

I kinda hate to say this, but $70 is a cheap paddle, meaning inexpensive compared to what you can expect to pay for top quality. BB is usually pretty good, but their paddles tend to be blade-heavy and have bulky grips. I like their Espresso ST but reworked the grip so it fit my hand better. Whether you made a good decision depends on whether you like the way the paddle handles. What model(s) did you get?

I'd agree that BB is in the top 3rd of paddles. One good thing about BB is that their paddles are well made, meaning the indexing (the oval-ness of the shaft) is square to the blade, and the quality is consistent. Stay away from Sawyer - their paddles look nice (esp. the Cedar Voyageur) but the indexing isn't square to the blade on about 90% of their paddles. And the T-grips are often not centered on the shaft. The Sawyer Kai is a nice 10* bent shaft but the blade, which is glued to the shaft, is prone to come off. If you like it, get it, but keep some epoxy on hand.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
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Raymond, ME
While you can pay $500 for a paddle, it does not paddle seven times as well as the $70 paddle.

You're doing fine. I too like the Espresso but don't beat yourself up if that isn't what you got (PS I get my mass produced paddles on sale always). I regularly trip with a Grey Owl Voyageur canoe paddle and while not the most refined, serves the purpose. I got it sub $40.

Later on if you want you can collect insane amounts of paddles like I did.
 
Joined
Sep 26, 2013
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2,444
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Colrain MA
A master with a $40 paddle can still make a canoe dance. A $200 one isn't going to help a beginner paddle a canoe straight. Time on the water is the final objective and there are a lot of Bending Branch paddles out there.
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
Messages
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It's a good paddle, you could have done much worse. I have paddled many thousands of miles, and have never spent more the $80.00 canadian on a paddle, so your's is probably nicer than most of the shovels I use.
 
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I believe that as your education grows, so will your opinions. That's just a personal observation, not a declaration. I first rented fairly cheap paddles, along with similar type canoes, and learned as I went along. I bought my first paddle while a fit of miserly compromising hit me. It was a total waste of $ 20. I then bought ones we continue to use today. They feel good for our learning hands. They didn't cost more than about $ 60 + each; I later splurged on a more expensive one for soloing. I don't know if we'll move on and up from these, as we hopefully improve and learn. It might be fair to apply a "you get what you pay for" to paddles, but I'm still learning. I'd suggest you buy what you can easily afford and keep learning. My first paddle feels like an oar to me now. This sliver of knowledge is coming from someone still somewhere well down the learning curve, but enjoying it all the same.
 
Joined
Feb 14, 2013
Messages
989
As far as I can tell, Bending Branches doesn't make any bad paddles. Feather brand certainly does - and that seems to be the bulk of the "cheap paddle" market around here. It's good that you skipped that.

It is very likely that you will acquire more paddles - but now that you have a decent baseline to compare, you'll be able to shop the used market at your leisure and with good results.
 
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I may have missed this, but after the various threads and discussions I am still curious – what make/model canoe did you eventually buy?
 
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As far as I can tell, Bending Branches doesn't make any bad paddles.

Steve, I agree with you except for one - the beavertail. The throat extends way too far up the shaft, effectively shortening the shaft length. I imagine it would be noisy.
 
Joined
Feb 14, 2013
Messages
989
Steve, I agree with you except for one - the beavertail. The throat extends way too far up the shaft, effectively shortening the shaft length. I imagine it would be noisy.

Don't know about that - but the grip is shaped and the shaft is oval, so it should at least be comfortable. The really cheap wood paddles all seem to be blocky and uncomfortable where you grip them, and the blades much too thick at the edges. Cheap aluminum-shafted paddles leak water and gain weight quickly. Avoiding those is critical.
 
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Right you are. But a Carlisle aluminum/plastic paddle is good for shoveling when the river gets shallow. The joints can easily be sealed. As for the BB beavertail, it would be easy to reshape it, but then you're left with a paddle whose blade is too long anyway.

(Now folks, before you lay on me for that remark, let's remember "to each his own." I have one separated shoulder and another one with either bursitis or arthritis and it hurts to raise my upper arm above the horizontal. A 54" paddle (22" blade) is about as long as I can comfortably paddle.)
 
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