Read reviews for the Loon Canoe Paddle by Bending Branches as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!
On a trip last September, I accidentally left my whitewater paddle behind and the only straight shaft paddle I could find in the shop of a local outfitter was a Loon. During our expedition, we encountered a variety of conditions as expected. In the rapids and tidal falls I was forced to pull out the Loon to provide the leaning, bracing and drawing needed in rough water. These areas would be mostly classified as Class 2 whitewater. There were also a few tidal falls that are hard to classify. They consist of large tongues of water pouring through headlands with powerful eddies, boils and big waves.
After this experience, my impression of the Loon is that it is a good paddle for the price. It is well made, comfortable and light weight. On the other hand, I had two concerns. One was that it might break at any moment and the other was that the blade face was too small for the bracing and power strokes needed in whitewater. On the plus side, we survived the trip intact and the boat still looks like new even though the Loon was not designed for these conditions.
My one objection to this paddle for its intended purpose is that the grip is designed for use in only one direction. In rough water, one needs to use both sides of the blade either for bracing or for a power stroke, and to me the one-sided palm grip always seems to be facing the wrong way while doing this. I understand that in calm conditions this may not be a problem for most people, but even for casual use I prefer a paddle that can be used easily in wind and waves if necessary.
In summary, I agree with the other reviewers that this paddle is a good value for the price. The fact that my wife and I survived a week using it in conditions it wasn't designed for indicates that is a good paddle. I would just prefer a symmetrical palm grip.