Frequently Asked Questions

Got Questions? Get Answers
How long do these paddles last?

Wood paddles tend to be more robust than synthetic paddles. Many RivrStyx are well over 20 years old and still in use. People who go into really harsh environments prefer the deep strength of wood and also the option of getting their tips and edgings custom sized to be extra beefy. And RivrStyx can be refurbished! So a typical life of a hard used RivrStyk might include the owner refinishing it once in the off season  every year. And then in 3-5 years it’s possible the dynel tips on the  end of the blade are worn down to the wood and the glass over the blades can be pretty scarred up. At this point you can send it back into me for a refurbishing ($125/kayak paddle) and it will be as good as new with new tips, veneers, glass, and finish. RivrStyx can last decades this way~ and  they do!

What kind of maintenance is required?

A well cared for RivrStyk might get refinished once every year by the  owner. This would include sanding the paddle and painting one coat of quality polyurethane on it. Or you can send it in to me for a very nice job with no fussing for you ($30/kayak paddle). Eventually the tips will wear down to the wood and it’s time to send it in to me for a refurbishing ($125/kayak paddle). And then the paddle will be as good as new.  You can check on details about repairs here.

What happens if I ding my paddle?

If you ding the tips or edgings of the paddle don’t worry about it. If  you ding the blade real bad on a sharp rock you should determine if the wood in the blade is taking on water. You will see the wood be darker if it has taken on water.  If it is, it’s time to act. Let the paddle  dry for a couple days and then seal the ding with either a small bit of epoxy or even clear nail polish.  The same pretty much goes for a ding  in the shaft. If it is taking on water at all touch it up. Otherwise don’t worry about it. It will disappear in the next refinishing.

What’s with the Trik Style anyways?

“Trik Style” means the blade is centered on the shaft- like a canoe paddle  and therefore a trik style blade has no curved power face. This makes  for the strongest, lightest, and most uniform flexing blades possible.  I  can refer you to a longer essay on the subject here.

What about the round tips?

The round tips on most of my paddle designs serve two purposes. First they provide a soft entry of the blade into the water so it doesn’t shock your muscles and lets them have a more friendly introduction to the work load. And secondly they wear better than flatter tips.  The problem with flatter tips is that they always seem to come with little corners attached and guess what? Those little corners are the first thing to wear out- long before the rest of the tip. Having a big round tip actually spreads out the impact area and enhances its survivability.

Are these paddles kind of small?

My paddles are minimalistic by design.  Smaller blades are lighter and stronger.   So- I  am striving for the most efficient use of a minimum of blade area and  often fine tuning your torque range can be done with the paddle’s length then.  I also want the paddles to feel very smooth and provide a nice stroke rate. The smaller blade sizes accomplish that goal also. My  larger blades compare with many synthetic shapes on the market today and you can compare their sizes here.  I have a long essay on stroke theory here that discusses how being over-torqued (with too long a shaft or too big a blade) can be detrimental to your paddling and lead to shoulder,  elbow, and wrist chronic injuries.

Is wood strong?

Yes- it is flexible and robust. Wood was born to flex in the breeze. And historically speaking wood paddles tend to last a long time- often  decades. They are most often repairable. If I didn’t think it was great material I wouldn’t offer a bomber Warranty. Synthetic paddles have a fatal flaw where all their strength is in their perimeter.  If the shaft gets scratched deeply that’s a major threat to the structure because it is a stress riser and a weak point. Even a scratch as shallow as 1/20th of an inch can compromise the shaft’s strength by more than 25%-  bad odds if you’re far from home.

Warranty: RivrStyx paddles are warrantied for defects in materials or workmanship for life. If a paddle breaks because of a flaw in the wood- like a knot- or workmanship- like a glue line failure, I will repair the paddle for no charge. If the paddle is not repairable I will replace it no charge. All repairs are warrantied for life.
How do RivrStyx tips and edgings hold up?

RivrStyx tips and edgings are made from dynel and epoxy. The tips are 50 layers thick and the edgings are 15 layers thick. Heavy use will require the tips to be replaced every few years but then the paddle is as good as  new again. It’s very rare that I ever have to replace edgings. I’ve done it all of twice in more than thirty years and thousands of paddles made. So they hold up pretty well too. Here’s Repairs pricing.

Can I choose my woods?

Yes! It does affect the weight and strength so you should make informed  decisions about that. Generally- the lightest, strongest, most ding-resistent wood for the  blades is Black Willow. The most bomber blade wood is White Aspen but it can be too heavy if weight is a consideration. Feel free to consult with me about the needs of your application and we can get the optimal woods dialed in. Before 9pm~ 304-329-3310.

And you can choose from a selection of light and dark figured veneers for the tips of your paddle. Feel free to check with me on those options. And picking the wood for your T-grip on a canoe paddle is always a lot of fun.

How long does it take to get one?

It usually takes around 5 weeks, but several times a year I get real busy with kayak design and the waiting time is more like 8-10 weeks.  Repairs usually take around 2 weeks to get through the shop. Due to time constraints because of my design career I am limited to making only 50 RivrStyx in a given year. So I get pretty back ordered sometimes. You can call or e-mail me if you are thinking about ordering and I can give  you a realistic prediction on a due date.