These are the shape preferred by professional raft guides on the New, Gauley, Upper Yough, and many other rivers. They are stout but the shape is body -friendly so you can go strong all day long. They are just under 8” wide and the round tips wear better than square-tipped paddles. Most guides and rafters prefer the round tip shape because it is so much easier on the shoulders.
Raft paddles usually have a full dynel sock over the shaft to keep the shaft maintenence free.
Canoe paddles traditionally have a sock on the lower part of the shaft from just above where your hand goes down to the throat.
C-1 paddles usually get a double sock- but all concentrated in the lowest 8” of the shaft.
There is a nice choice of woods for the T-grips. I usually have a nice gold Osage Orange, Chestnut, Walnut, Curly and Burly Maple, Curly Sassafras, and Burly Cherry.
These paddles are all low maintenance with tough dynel tips and edgings and 2.5 layers of glass on each blade face.
Square Tip, Round Semi Round Tip:
The Square blade is designed for maximum catch- as needed in racing. Open canoeists like this shape as well. The corners are slightly rounded as this is the point of highest wear on square tipped paddles. The width can be custom but the common width is 7 3/4”.
Round Blade: Most raft guides opt for the round-tipped version to ease the strain on their shoulders.
Semi Round Blade: It’s a nice tip shape which offers a full strong catch aspect to your stroke- but the corners of the tips are more rounded than a square tipped paddle- making them hold up better to the rocks.
From the perspective of an open Boater:
“Jim custom makes each paddle for the user. Will even carve you a custom grip if you desire. The flex is to your taste you want stiff or soft he will do it. I can attest after 15 months with my first paddle they are not only works of art but very tough. While I only paddle up to class III/IV stuff, I love small creeks and as you know they can be tough on a stick. (I still push off of rocks despite having a woody). Having rolled off the bottom of shallow runs I know they can take it.
I have broken lots of paddles and worn out Bandits and Vikings in one season so this baby is tough.
Finally, they are very well balanced. The blades are designed to be light giving them a great swing weight.
Update – now almost 5 years on this paddle and its still going strong after a refinishing a year ago, I expect it to last 10 more years. Lots of C boaters are stuck on the curved blades, I missed it for about the first hour, after that I did not miss it. Recently I have done a couple of raft guiding trips for non boating friends, no problems with pushing a raft around.”