Hackensack River Canoe & Kayak Club

Canoe Paddle: Nashwaak Cruiser


Wandering through the aisles at PaddleSport a couple of years ago, I  instinctively gravitated to the paddle booths.

You see,  I am obsessed with wooden canoe paddles! I have a few – I think as many as a dozen or more (I don't count anymore). Just as with canoes and kayaks, there is no perfect paddle. Different types of paddles for different water conditions…
Getting back to my story... As I perused the paddle booths, my eyes suddenly came upon this wonderfully crafted, sleek and spectacular paddle. A Nashwaak Cruiser! This paddle is made of solid Black Cherry with an accent inlay of Rosewood in the pear grip. The paddle blade is classified as an otter-tail or Maliseet teardrop – long (25”) and narrow (5”). And... ah, yes, that wonderful flex…. not in the shaft, but in the blade. This is accomplished with a very thin blade, with a thickening towards the tip. Very unusual, but effective. The flexible blade "gives" with each entry into the water. That's shock absorption -- you'll feel less sore after a day on the water, particularly if you have any problems with your wrists, elbows, shoulders or back.  Second, at the end of control strokes, as your J-stroke or draw takes hold, a flexible blade gives you a recoil! A little kick at the end of your stroke, a little stored energy that comes back just when you need it.
It’s great on deep, open water. Using this paddle is a pleasure. Quiet, efficient and comfortable to use hour after hour, mile after mile - and it looks great, a real handsome paddle. Would I use it in a shallow, rocky river? Hell no! Probably would shatter the blade to bits in no time - but that’s not where it’s intended to be used. It’s a long distance touring water stick, not a whitewater paddle.
The Nashwaak Cruiser, built in Canada, is available in either solid Black Cherry or solid Ash with paddle length ranges from 54” to 64” in 2” increments. The paddles are not exactly cheap – retail price is $124.95 for the Cherry and $99.95 for the Ash. I paid $72 for my Cherry paddle at PaddleSport three years ago.  You can even order 3 different blade flex ranges – less flex, medium flex and more flex.  Neat, huh!
All in all, I highly recommend this paddle. It’s a beauty…

Contributed by HRCKC member Martin W.