Welcome to Gillespie Paddles, builder of angled handmade wooden and hybrid Outrigger canoe -- and touring paddles.
Forge Woodie.....racing paddle with lower profile....mostly cedar
Please note: I make angled paddles, so you can assume that -- if you want a straight paddle, I can make one, but it is a special order. An angled paddle has an angle where the blade meets the shaft: that is a single angle. The double angle has an additional angle about 13" from the top of the paddle, at 7 degrees (and the lower, blade angle is 14 degrees -- overall angle approx. 12 degrees.)
This is the place to come to when you want hands-on paddlebuilding! Plus I am the one taking phone calls and answering emails. (if for some reason you email me and I don't respond, it got spammed, so try again and put '[paddle' in subject, or call). I am it -- there aren't any machines cloning blades and shafts here; it is all done with my hands -- using small machinery, like sanders and routers. I love shaping wood, and since what I am shaping has to fit into the water as well as your hands, it feels sorta like magic!
I'm a hands on builder; I don't farm out my work -- I frankly like doing it too much. Wood paddles that are made by hand have a lot to offer that cloned, composite, carbon fibre, hybrids just cannot have -- the feeling of having been made and shaped by hand.
I have been doing this a long time. I got started when I raced flatwater canoes, sortof awhile back! -- I still paddle a lot, so I am continually using my own paddles. I am the original builder of the double angle.
I also spend a lot of effort on finishing. It's not a spray on or some magic 2 part finish. It's 5 coats, dipped, of polyurethane. This is a minimum of 5 days to finish, because the stuff takes a day to cure, unless it's the middle of summer, then it's more just because of the humidity, which can only be controlled so much. The bottom line here is that the finish isn't going to wear off for a long time; and small scratches or dings aren't going to hurt the paddle. I have people send me paddles they've had for 25 years, to be refinished! (honestly, a lot of the time, they should have sent them a few years earlier!)...
The carbon fibre fad....
Some thoughts on weight, stiffness: Lightweight wood paddles aren't something the carbon fibre builders are promoting of course, but they have a lot of advantages that those builders won't ever mention -- one of the main ones being they are all somewhat different -- which is something molded paddles cannot be, other than the sticker you might apply yourself. There is no reflection of individuality, no custom aspect, nothing to distinguish your new ultra-stiff, lightweight, black, sun absorbing, easy to fracture, tough on joints stick. Of course, these are all the attributes those who make them promote -- the very things, that over the years, I understand make them even less likeable. Their durability is advertized as one of their attributes -- not if you happen to whack the blade against something that might fracture it. You see, CF isn't any tougher than fiberglass when it comes to impact resistance; its lighter and stronger, but how much strength does a blade need --after all, it's not an airplane wing. And the price? For hybrids, nearly $300? Why, if the shaft is wood? Is it the decal? The blade is the thing that costs so much, not the shaft -- so why so expensive? And if you are a parent, is this something you think is a good idea -- spending $300 on a paddle, just because it is trendy and has a nice decal, and you have been fooled into thinking it's ultradurable? If the paddle is lost -- which happens with kids...and others...is it the sticker that identifies it?
Here's another brag from the CF builder: using a formula that includes the weight difference between a wood paddle and CF paddle, now multiply that times how many strokes you take per hour, or whatever....as if you are lifting the extra ounces with only your arms! -- If you are, you are paddling wrong. If you are paddling in a way that is even close to be correct, the paddle will be in the water as much as it is out of the water, and you are removing it from the water, not so much by lifting it, as with a motion that involve moving the blade slightly above the surface of the water as your arms are mostly locked, and returning it to the water a fraction of a second later: your upper torso has done most of this 'heavy lifting'....and believe me, most outrigger paddlers are using a lot of body, so what could it possibly matter? The water will tend to push the blade out, as well, if it is wood, since wood is bouyant...I don't regard that as a huge deal, but mixed in with the extra weight lifted over an hour nonsense, it fits.
There's more....if you aren't 25 years old anymore, having an ultra stiff paddle that doesn't absorb any impact, will contribute to any aching issues you have. I personally love having some flex in my shaft!!! I know pretty well that as the shaft flexes during the beginning of the stroke, it returns to it's normal position as the stroke continues -- it's not a lot, but it sure feels better than absolute rigidity....and I'm quite certain any lost energy is mostly in the heads of those promoting the efficiency of ultra stiff CF paddles. If you are a top, super efficient, hi- spm racer -- it might make a difference. For less than that, the extra 'feel' of the shaft as it absorbs the impact of the water, is very nice.
Something else I wonder, looking at the volume of various CF blades out there: is there really a difference? Or is it just the decal? How do you know that one blade is better than the other? The attractiveness of the decal, or is it the actual blade design? Or who really knows?
You might also consider where you spend most of your time in the canoe: at races or practicing? If having a superlight, super stiff paddle makes sense in races, how about practice, where having a few more ounces and some actual flex, might be an advantage? First of all, you save your joints as the paddle absorbs more of the impact for you if it is wood, and flexible; also, it generally costs quite a bit less -- so if you really need the CF paddle, save it for the race.
Maybe if you are buying a wood paddle that is just stamped out by expensive machinery, the feel and individuality don't matter much to you. But if they do matter, neither these or the CF paddles should appeal to your sensitivities.
Midget or keiki paddles -- from 42-47" long -- bulk orders/ $72 ea. email for info: email@example.com
Ask about club and highschool discounts--- And, I do sell paddles in NZ, with club and team discounts, as well as discounts on some paddles --- the default shipping charges pertain to US and US territories, so if you order from outside country (say NZ), there is additional shipping -- generally around $20 per paddle for NZ (so $40 total).
Gillespie Carbonfibre hybrids..$220 (ask about group discounts) ... Approx 17 ounces very light, very durable--- check out the hybrid link