Canadian Canoe Routes

Question about WW paddles
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Author:  Timothyj [ January 15th, 2009, 12:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Question about WW paddles

I'm about to begin making my own WW paddle, and I just wanted get some opinions before I start.

Almost all WW paddles have that terribly uncomfortable T grip. Why is this? I understand that it gives you a bit of leverage, and you get a positive "feel" for the angle of your blade, but why can't it be a molded handle that sticks out a little wider, but is a bit more comfortable. I haven't seen any commercial ones that look like this so far.

Is it just that while in ww comfort isn't really a consideration? :D

Author:  DougB [ January 15th, 2009, 1:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about WW paddles

I'm not sure I understand the question. If you're asking would I consider a WW paddle with a mushroom style handle, the answer would be no. Not only does the T grip give blade control and leverage, but increases grip and helps prevent it from being yanked out of my hands. If you're suggesting some t grips are too small, I agree. I had the t grip on my (cr)a(p)quabound paddle removed and replaced with a larger, contoured wooden t grip that is much more comfortable.

Author:  pawistik [ January 15th, 2009, 1:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about WW paddles

It sounds like you already know the answer.

If your building your own, try out whatever grip suits your fancy, and your paddling style. If you don't like what you come up with, change it or build a new paddle. After all, customizing your paddle is a large part of the reason for building your own in the first place.


Author:  pknoerr [ January 15th, 2009, 2:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about WW paddles

Timothy, Personally, I like T-grips for greater leverage in whitewater, but I really don't find that it matters enough to suffer with something uncomfortable. I do alot of non-whitewater canoeing where I like the much greater flexibilty of grip positions capable with other non-T-grip styles too. Hell, when tripping, I run alot of whitewater with a bent carbon Zav without a T-grip in my hands, just becasue I don't want to change paddles for every little rapid. It's got lots of rapids (even a few big ones) under it's belt with no real problems.

Paddle with what you like.... not what someone tells you that you have to use.


Author:  erich [ January 15th, 2009, 5:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about WW paddles

There are standards for grips, whether its a "T", a "Guide", a "Pear" or a "Football". That doesn't mean you can't develop one of your own. Ultimately, you want a grip that's comfortable for you to hold, and provides the control you need in the conditions you paddle. A number of different "T" grips exist. I have a Mitchell that I like,
but Grey Owl's "Hammerhead" has a grip that fits me perfectly. However, I choose to paddle a Mitchell because I like the blade shape.

Author:  recped [ January 15th, 2009, 5:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about WW paddles

but Grey Owl's "Hammerhead" has a grip that fits me perfectly.

Me too and I use it in spite of the heavy weight of the paddle.


It's the brown one in the middle.

Author:  Timothyj [ January 15th, 2009, 8:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about WW paddles

Thanks for the comments guys. Since the really rigid T grip is so common, I thought that I must be missing something. I tried out one in the store and it felt terrible. I'm going to have to go to an outfitter shop and feel out that hammer head style.

Author:  pknoerr [ January 16th, 2009, 7:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about WW paddles

Yep, I have a paddle with the Hammerhead (that's the dark wood grip in the top middle on Ben's photo. I found it worked well, but I really like the grip on the top of my Silver creek, which looks more like a hot dog bun. Oddly, I really like Sawyer's football grip as well. I find most of the round dowel grips that some carbon paddles have uncomfortable for long days. Fortunately, T-grips are pretty easy to replace with something that works for you.

But, if you've ever had cramps in your hand because of a long day paddling with a grip that doesn't work, you'll be happier skipping the worry about whitewater paddle grip convention, and sticking with something you like in your hand.


Author:  ezwater [ February 22nd, 2009, 7:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about WW paddles

My hands are quite large, so the original T-grips don't work that well for me. I carve contoured grips out of whatever attractive hardwood comes to hand, and while they all have a "T" skeleton in there somewhere, they all have a ballooned area to fit the palm, and they all have a curved projection so my fingers can curve around the front of the grip without feeling cramped. As long as the grip is wide enough and has these characteristics, it is likely to be comfortable.

Author:  Gail R [ February 23rd, 2009, 10:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about WW paddles

relax your hand.
in ww paddlig a tight grip is static work which requires rest.
The handle should fit your hand so that it's not so small that you are pinching instead of gripping....the tighter the grip I think the more localized the muscles are that are used to fine tune angle?
just a uneducated observation to put out there.....
any design that allows the side of your hand to bleed down to the underside is also promoting a pinch grip
anyways, play with a grip and feel what tendons and muscles are used in the various adjustments. Feel the wrist....are you placing stress on the carp tunnel?

Author:  Battenkiller [ February 24th, 2009, 12:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about WW paddles

WW usually involves more swimming time than paddling time for me, so I couldn't give advice about the blade end, but T-shaped handles are pretty much standard on tools where any significant torque is applied or when security is important.

I'd go with the rounded top like the brown Gray Owl one. If you look across your palm you will see that it is curved on the inside. A grip with a curve along the top will fit into this hollow better than a round dowel will. As long as you can get your thumb around the bottom of the grip you should be free to shape the rest of it for comfort. Start big and whittle away with discretion. Remember... it's a lot easier to take more off later than to put it back on.

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