Best Paddles and Lengths for Rafting? - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 03-24-2008   #1
 
Richmond, Virginia
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Best Paddles and Lengths for Rafting?

What do you guys think the best paddles and lengths are for rafting R2. I am trying to buy new paddles and was wondering what you guys thought. Thanks for the feedback.

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Old 03-24-2008   #2
 
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Boulder, Colorado
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Most people just use a standard carlisle customer paddle.

Out east a lot of guides go for much more expensive paddles and guide sticks. I am not so sure that it makes any difference beyond style and a personal desire to have a cooler/more stylish paddle - but I am sure that some will disagree with me. Of course if you lose a carlisle you will probably find another one fairly soon. If it is a custom $350 wood paddle you will be a sad camper.
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Old 03-25-2008   #3
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Eastern Slope, Colorado
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I used to think the same thing until I tried some of the fancy paddles. The Werner guide stick is nice and light, the bandit (the spooned canoe paddle) is sweet for rafting, but it takes some getting used to. Jimmy Snyder's "Jimistyx" are irregularly shaped and very easy on the shoulder. If you do buy a wooden guide stick, however, I highly recommend Kenny Kiley's "Blunt Family Paddles." I don't think Kenny has a wedb site set up but you could probably find him running Gore for AVA in the summer.

As for size, the standard Carlisle "custy" paddles are 60" long. Usually people chose slightly longer guide paddles 63-69".
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Old 03-25-2008   #4
 
Boulder, Colorado
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I'm with Raftus on this one. Carlisle paddles work just fine. If you're R2ing harder rivers and you need to ditch your paddle you won't mind so much if it's a Carlisle. I've used longer paddles before but I think the benefit is really only from the guide seat on boats with a lot of rocker. I wouldn't want anything longer than 60" if I'm sitting in the middle of the boat. If you're not doing anything too difficult and you're going to get into multi-days then maybe a more spendy paddle is a worthy investment.
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Old 03-25-2008   #5
 
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Chico, California
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Whether I was R2ing a difficult run or guiding class III I still use the Carlisle customer paddle, I think they are 48" or 50" not quite sure. Personally I would rather take more strokes at a good cadence than long arduous strokes with a guide stick.

Bending Branches has a canoe/raft bent shaft that is off the hook and feels really good in your hands when you are guiding. That being said it runs $200+ my buddy had one and it was a sad day when he had some major carnage and lost it for good. Stick with the $30 option unless you are independently wealthy!
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Old 03-25-2008   #6
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Eastern Slope, Colorado
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RMA is training a lot of rookies this year. Just go hang out in the middle of Lower Mish on the Poudre and you'll get a couple of red and white carlisles right away!
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Old 03-25-2008   #7
 
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Chico, California
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Ha! that is great Randaddy, actually I was up there this weekend and there was a blue and white paddle on the river left just above the rock tunnel just begging for some sucker to wade out and grab it.
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