Hackensack River Canoe & Kayak Club

Canoe Paddle: Grey Owl C-1 Whitewater

Every time I hand someone this 32 ounce paddle they say the same thing, “It’s blade heavy.” But let’s start at the top and work our way down.
The oiled-walnut mushroom-shaped T-grip is without doubt the most pleasing grip I’ve ever handled. Such a perfect hand filling shape and a refreshing feeling after handling varnished wood or plastic handles for so many years. Nothing compares to oiled wood. The only detraction is that the lower outer edges are a bit pointy. I prefer a more rounded shape.
The wooden oval shaft is very stiff, not offering any flexibility. The lower portion is protected by a fiberglass sleeve. Although this extra protection is nice, it makes an already thick shaft even thicker. I have an older model without the sleeve and prefer it that way.
The wooden blade is protected by 6 ounce fiberglass cloth and urethane edging completely around the entire edge almost up to the shaft.
This feature, which prompted me to purchase this paddle, makes the paddle ideal for any paddling where impacts or abrasion from stumps, shallow water or rocks are a concern. Although good protection for whitewater paddling, it will not withstand heavy abuse. I have seen the edges on four other paddles of this model destroyed by accidental rock hits and shallow water scraping.
The blade, tapered from the center to the edges so as not to have a “shaft bulge”, glides smoothly through the water with no flutter during underwater recovery.
As I said at the beginning, all this armor plating on the blade makes for a blade-heavy paddle. The fiberglass sleeve on the lower shaft only adds to this. Preferring a more balanced paddle, and seeing friends’ paddles succumb to the rocks, I’ve relegated mine to backup duty.

Contributed by HRCKC member George S.