OK, I've realized that it is a little hard to enjoy my new canoe without paddles. Tell me oh masses what to buy. I've looked at the BB ones so far and like the Sun Shadow or the Expedition for my primary paddle and perhaps a Beavertail for a back-up. I'm getting a Twig for the kid. I also need some recommendations from the ladies out there for a good choice for my lady.
We've always used straight shafts, so I have no idea about bent. I'm guessing I'll be happy with straight shafts, but I am interested in any useful input that I'm not aware of that may sway me to bent.
$100 is pretty much the price range I'm looking at.
You should definitely look at Grey Owl paddles before you make your purchase--they're more difficult to find than the Bending Branches, but certainly worth it (compared to the BB paddles I tried, it was lighter, better balanced, had a more comfortable grip). I bought the 12 degree bent shaft "Touring" model three years ago and can't recommend it highly enough. Check out the Grey Owl website to find a dealer and go for a test paddle if at all possible. I think I paid $112 and it remains my single best canoeing/camping equipment purchase to date.
You are in an area where personal preference along with experience dictates to what one prefers. For example, in the stern when wind is an issue or the paddling is not for hours I prefer my BB Sun Shadow straight shaft. I feel I can make course corrections more quickly. It is also the paddle I prefer to use when landing around rocks.
When no wind or current issues are present, I prefer my 12 degree Whiskeyjack paddle, it is quite lite and I paddle faster with less effort. I also never want it to see a rock, up close and personal, it is to pretty. So I often bring two and justify it as the one not being used is the spare.
My bow partner only uses her Whiskeyjack 12 degree, and don't try to take it for a closer look - ouch.
"Yesterday is the past, Tomorrow is the future, Today is a GIFT, that is why it is called the present".
Bannock...that's what I told him last night in the chat room. Told him how to get to Rutabaga and walk to the back wall and touch and feel and PRICE every paddle there. I think paddles are more objective than subjective.
Well Doc. I just did get back from "fondling" all the paddles at Rutabaga. Picked up a BB Expresso Plus for me, a Whiskeyjack Good Sky for the wife, and a BB Twig for the kid. You were right, the one did speak to us. Unbelievable how light the Whiskeyjack is--the wife loves it.
Funny, I'm in the opposite situation. Got paddles (a plethora of them) and no canoe.
This is what I got and my feelings on them
BB Sunshadow straight shaft- great generic paddle, great looking and easy to find at stores)
Mitchell Surreal straight shaft- carbon/wood hybrid, expensive, very light, wouldn't have spent full price ($200+, lucky to find it on sale)
XY Paddle Company Atikokan, Ontario- I have 3 XY paddles, 2 custom bent shafts, and a monster beavertail. XY makes great paddles using beautiful craftsmanship. Spencer Meany (owner) knows his stuff, give him a call and he will be able to tell you what you need (the Juniper wood in his paddles is beautiful)
Best of luck choosing a paddle!
PS I have heard great things about the Grey Owl paddles PrettyPaddle had mentioned.