Best Value Paddle? (ie Talk me out of a Werner) - Mountain Buzz

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Old 09-12-2016   #1
Northern, Virginia
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 8
Best Value Paddle? (ie Talk me out of a Werner)

I currently paddle an AT4 carbon bent shaft that is too small. (191 when I should run rivers with a 197.) I'm a Class 3 paddler with ambitions of being better.

While there's got to be a reason I see so many Werners on the river, I'm curious about other brands that you don't hear so much about that might be good value.

*Accent Paddles - don't hear much about them.

*Aquabound Shred (both carbon and fiberglass) I have a feeling they are underrated, but I can't get past the "entry level" stigma. has some on sale now. I don't mind spending a little more than what an Aquabound costs, but I like the idea of paying $160 for a paddle that does 95% of what a $250 paddle does (if that's the case.)

*Does anyone still have any left over Core Paddles for sale? I listened to a podcast with the founder, and of course he made the paddles seem like the greatest thing ever. Googling isn't turning up anything.

*did AT fix their durability issue with the Hercules/Geronimo paddles? I've read cryptic comments online that they didn't, but don't know if that's just their bad rep that is lingering.

*Any Euro brands that I should look at?

*What else I should look at?

Sorry for all the questions. Maybe this will generate some discussion.


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Old 09-12-2016   #2
Fort Collins
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 135 can get that $250 werner paddle for less than that $160 paddle and it will do 100% of what the new werner will do for ???% of the new werners lifespan.

At least it worked for me, but I am still somewhere in that ???% of the new werners life, 5 years later.
"If I'm not there, it means I'm dead...or late!" General W.R. Monger
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Old 09-12-2016   #3
KSC's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
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Every couple of years I try to talk myself out of a Werner and every time I end up buying the same damn Powerhouse I've been buying for years. Except that one time I bought a Geronimo, and then a month a later, after it broke, I bought another Powerhouse.
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Old 09-12-2016   #4
Cphilli's Avatar
Copper Mountain, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
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Posts: 288
There is a reason everyone on the river is using a Werner. No more discussion needed.

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Old 09-12-2016   #5
Northern, Virginia
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 8
Originally Posted by co_bjread View Post can get that $250 werner paddle for less than that $160 paddle and it will do 100% of what the new werner will do for ???% of the new werners lifespan.

At least it worked for me, but I am still somewhere in that ???% of the new werners life, 5 years later.

That's my preferred way of purchasing gear but haven't had any luck finding a paddle so far.
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Old 09-13-2016   #6
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NOCO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 593
Other brands?

H2O paddles - made in Canada, hard to find in the US. Founded about 10-12 years ago by the same guy who started Core paddles, and before that WaterStick paddles. He has real innovative ideas for paddles, though quality (shaft leakage) always seems to be the big question. The rubberized grips on the paddles are great and the blades are bomber. I think they're a bit overpriced, and shipping from the factory in Canada to the US isn't cheap. H2O Paddles | Whitewater Paddles

Seven2/Soul Waterman paddles - Seven2 paddles came out in the late 90's and were very innovative though quality was a big question and they went out of business in early 2000's. Soul Waterman recently re-introduced a Seven2 like paddle that looks intriguing, though it seems to be consistently out of stock on their website: Rapier Kayak Paddle – Soul Waterman

TyWarp - interesting German paddles, I've seen them over the years. Picked up a new one from Craigslist recently for my son and I used it on two runs. It's a decent paddle but doesn't offer anything better than/real different from Werner/AT. TyWarp

Even though Werner is considered the gold standard in paddles, I wish they'd be more innovative, especially with the grips on the paddles.
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Old 09-13-2016   #7
hullflyer's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 187
I've paddled both ATs and Werners. AT's pistol grip feels great in the hand however break more frequently than the Werners (IMO)
I like the Werner bend better as it is ergonomically more correct and does not hurt my elbow as much as the AT does. I have classic tendonitis from paddling too many days in a row and too many years overall has given me Golfer's elbow.
Probably the biggest reason you only see a few brands in U.S. is distribution. Europeans are crazy about paddling and have many more options.
Lightning, most similar to Werner.

Kober Paddle _ from Germany great quality _ also harder to find
Whitewater Paddles | Products | EN
Prijon : geared toward the recreational crowd but have a high end paddle. Prijon GmbH - Rosenheim - Kayaks. Paddles. Clothing. Accessories | Godzilla Carbon (WW)
Rough Stuff_ arguably the toughest paddle blade I have come across .I built one up myself with a kit many years ago.
More that I cannot remember; watch the Adidas Sickline Homerace and you'll see lots of brands and super crankshafts you never see here.

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Old 09-13-2016   #8
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
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I like werner because they are great paddles and they are readily available in the US. If I break or lose one, I know I can replace with the same brand immediately. I like bent shaft for ergonomics and keeping tendonitis at bay.

I personally value consistency of brand over the years vs. trying new paddles out. Been paddling a werner carbon shogun for years and love it.

I've seen a handful of folks experiment with paddles, and most seem to come back to werner due to durability or availability.

Most of the time I paddle, seems like 75%-100% of the paddles in the shuttle rig are werners. Powerhouse seems to be most popular. Lower budget kayakers seem to favor a straight shaft powerhouse. If you have the extra cash, the carbon bent shafts are really nice. Main thing I like about the shogun is the blades don't wear down over time, thus reducing the area of the power face, and the power of your stoke.
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Old 09-13-2016   #9
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Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
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I paddle a Werner Powerhouse, it's one of the Werners in the shuttle rig Ian mentioned above.

I'll just chime in to say that Aquabound paddles are not underrated. When I started creeking I paddled Carbon ABs until I broke two in quick succession; one I managed to break across my chest when landing a waterfall without tucking my paddle. Never would have happened with a Werner.

And I've always steered away from the "but but AT has a great warranty" argument -- A warranty doesn't help you when your paddle breaks just above a major rapid or when you're down in a canyon and you and your buddy both forgot your spares.
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Old 09-13-2016   #10
SW, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 123
I have had several AT paddles. I much prefer the feel of the AT over any other.

I did however break an AT2, and bought a Werner Foam Core paddle, which is nice, but when AT replaced my paddle with a "Superduty - Unbreakable" paddle, I went back to that AT. I still have both, but only use the AT. And I DO respect their Customer Service/Warrantee.
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