Originally Posted by JHimick
Although everyone has already said it, I have to say getting your own guide stick is about the same as tattooing 'douche-bag' on your forehead. I don't care how many years you've been guiding, if you can't get it done with a custy blade then you're just a poser. Waste of money... even if you have money to waste, period. Rock the Carlisle, you'll be a better guide and respected more for it.
And don't wear a fucking flip line unless you flip boats. That's just another thing that screams 'douche-bag'.
As someone who has been a guide for a decade I can tell you that I never think douche bag when I see someone with their own guide stick. On the East coast lots of people have their own paddles. Rockies and West it is less common. I bought a 72" Carlisle guide stick my first season and finally broke it in half 8 seasons later while guiding.
A flexable shaft on a guide stick reduces wear on your shoulders - just like the differnce between Calisle Oars (aluminum non-flexible shaft) and Sawyer, Cataract or wooden oars (Composite or wooden).
Get through guide training, try a few other guides sticks out if they will let you, see if you can get in on a pro-deal, then if you want to go for it.
And yes, if you can't get it done with a custy paddle you do suck ('cause you need to be able to guide well even if you lose your paddle), but there is nothing wrong with preferring your own paddle.