Welcome to Gillespie Paddles, builder of handmade wooden and hybrid Outrigger canoe and touring paddles.
For over 30 years, I've made wooden canoe paddles, mostly oriented around Outrigger canoe racing; I also build paddles for serious recreational and touring. I make SUP paddles out of wood and synthetics, such as carbon fiber and fiberglass. Feel free to contact me with any questions.
Surge style paddles.
New! -- check this out.....Balsa blade with carbon fibre sleeve, super lightweight wood paddle. Cedar/basswood shaft; balsa cedar blade, epoxied 2 ounce cloth, phenolic tip, double veneer maple wrap surrounds blade....17 ounces!! $235.....
I've been building Outrigger paddles and touring canoe paddles for around 30 years. I got my start making flatwater racing paddles -- about a year after angled paddles were created by Eugene Jensen. So I've gone through every phase of the angled paddle evolution.
I am mostly about wood paddles, since there is something about cutting, gluing and shaping wood that just has it all over molding glass and fiber.....it is nowhere near as icky, and smells good to boot...
I do make the paddles, personally. I just don't design them and source out the work to another larger paddlebuilder, then put my logo on it.
I've stuck with wood because that's what I love making. Wood is fantastic, a wonderful medium for making paddles! It has all the lovely stuff that carbon fibre does not have: warmth, natural beauty, natural anything, flex, strength, lots of variety in lots of different woods that all do different things in the makeup of a wood paddle! And durability? A well made wood paddle is very durable, and resilient, and repairable -- try repairing a carbon fibre paddle. And, wood costs less. A lightweight wood paddle can be made very durable also. When I make really lightweight paddles, I encase the blade in epoxied 2 ounce cloth with reinforcements wherever I think necessary. The entire blade is edged in double bandings of red maple. The tip is a laminated red maple, phenolic laminate, embedded into the powerface of the blade. I dip the paddle 4-5 times in hi-gloss polyurethane.
And you know what is trully wonderful about wood paddles (at least the ones I make), you can actually tell your's from someone else's! Try that with carbon fibre. Don't you want a little 'you' in your paddle?
I do make hybrids, and I sell all Carbon Fibre paddles, as well as paddles with kevlarand fiberglass blades that are great paddles, and some of them are quite colorful. These are also quite unique in that the blade is quite lightweight and super functional, and comes with a handmade wood shaft and grip -- and I mean handmade, not cloned by machines. So what's in your hands is made by hands!
Pro B --This paddle is about as light as you can get with all wood (and not have something that will fall apart or fracture) , until you head into the synthetic/composite stuff. Laminates of basswood, white pine, tulip and walnut make it possible to combine strength, beauty, great feel and lightness -- and most of all, super paddling feel!