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Loon Canoe Paddle

by Bending Branches

With its clean and simple lines, the Loon canoe paddle is a great lightweight recreational wood canoe paddle. It has a comfortable palm grip and a five-laminate blade handcrafted of basswood and maple in Osceola, Wisconsin. For additional protection and durability, the Loon’s blade tip is edged with Bending Branches’ proprietary Rockgard® protection. This paddle’s shaft is made of solid, ovalized basswood so it’s durable but not excessive in weight. The Loon has a classic palm grip so it’s comfortable and easy to hold.


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Reviews

We normally carry three kinds of propulsive devices during our trips in…

Submitted by: on

We normally carry three kinds of propulsive devices during our trips in midcoast Maine. These include bent shaft paddles for long, open stretches of water, a pole for going up and down shallow streams and straight shaft paddles for big waves and whitewater.

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.

This is a great paddle for the price. Straight shaft design with…

Submitted by: on

This is a great paddle for the price. Straight shaft design with rock guard and is solid wood throughout. Comfortable grip and the blade size gives good power. I have used one of these on some rough rocky waters and the rock guard works very well the straight shaft allows for strokes that aren't very effective with a bent shaft paddle. This is a sleeper in the bending branches lineup.

I had always paddled with cheap paddles until I read an article…

Submitted by: on

I had always paddled with cheap paddles until I read an article that argued the idea "why would you paddle a $1000 canoe with a $10 paddle. This made me stop and think that the author may know what he is talking about. The local outfitter doesn't have a big selection so I picked out one of the cheaper of the "good" paddles. The Loon was $42 dollars and the shortest they had was a 54. From the first paddle stroke I knew I made the right choice. I was astounded at the difference. My wife couldn't believe how fast we were going so I passed it up to her to try out. Her reaction was the same as mine. I will definitely be sending more of my money to Bending Branches and will be looking seriously at their more expensive paddles.