I wish there was an option to rate this paddle a 12/10…
I wish there was an option to rate this paddle a 12/10. That should say enough.
I've been paddling for many, many years and have used all sorts of paddles. Whether you're looking to mess around on the lake for an hour or you're gearing up for a 10 day in your favorite remote location, there is truly no better paddle. Jeff Solway called this a 'Zen Cruiser' when I spoke to him and it didn't take long to see why. Thanks to the oval shaft, seriously flared blade and a little extra meat in the grip, that last hour before making camp for the night is no longer spent agonizing over your aching paddling muscles.
I honestly can not recommend a better paddle. Mine is a solid cherry 54" and I know that with a little care and respect, it will be buried with me (no, I'm not going to will it). Tragically, Jeff isn't making paddles anymore. I was almost as heart-broken as when I'd heard that Omer Stringer passed back in '88. I saw a picture of a Nashwaak for sale in a Toronto store, but without Jeff's strange signature piece of African Hardwood laminated into the grip... I'm sure its a knock off.
I'm now beginning my third paddling season with my Cherry Nashwaak. It…
I'm now beginning my third paddling season with my Cherry Nashwaak. It has become my favorite paddle, by a wide margin. The only time I pick up a different paddle is when the water gets too shallow and I don't want to grind the end of this beautiful paddle on the bottom. It is remarkably light which when combined with its perfect balance makes it a joy for long days of paddling. In the water it is smooth and stable. Underwater recoveries have no buzz or gurgle. On edge it slides through the water like the proverbial "hot knife through butter".
It has a little less surface area than some of my other paddles. This lowers the effort per stroke, but requires a slightly higher stroke rate to maintain the same hull speed. This trade-off actually feels less fatiguing over the course of a long day of paddling. I gave similar high praise to a Ray Kettlewell Modified Otter-tail. The two paddles are very similar in their quality of workmanship and paddling dynamics. I have to give the slight edge to the Nashwaak Cruiser purely on the fact that it is perceptibly lighter weight (for the same paddle length).
This paddle is without doubt my very favorite for paddling my solo canoe. If you prefer to paddle in the "classic style", rather than the "hit and switch" style, then you owe it to yourself to seek out one of these pieces of working art. Yes, they are just as beautiful as they are functional!
I tested a 56" cherry cruiser, and a 48" cherry kid's cruiser…
I tested a 56" cherry cruiser, and a 48" cherry kid's cruiser today in my Wenonah Escapade. I brought along a "standard" beavertail paddle and a 15 degree bent shaft paddle to switch with for comparisons. After 3 rounds of switching with the full size paddles, I opted both mentally and physically for the Nashwaak for paddling efficiency and the joy of the experience. My former beavertail felt like a log in comparison to the Nashwaak, and although the bent shaft yielded more forward momentum, it also required considerably more physical effort. The Nashwaak unique grip permits multiple finger and thumb placements for control, and rotates well in the hand. The slight paddle flex resulted in the smoothest paddling ever. The Nashwaak made me feel like I was more "in tune" with the paddling experience than I had ever realized before.
The real surprise came when I tried the 48" kid's Nashwaak. This ultra lightweight turned me into a turbocharged paddler! The energy return in momentum was much greater than expected, and I would recommend this for anyone needing or wanting a low physical effort paddle with a high efficiency return. Technically, it is better suited for someone less than about 5'5" tall, but it will work for special situations.
The Nashwaak does have a captivating mystery to it, and only its experience can make that realized.
I very much like my Nashwaak Cruiser paddles. Carved of one…
I very much like my Nashwaak Cruiser paddles. Carved of one piece of wood, each is a true continuation of the old art of paddle carving using traditional beavertail design. Mine have not broken, nor do I expect them to, as I am using them on deep high mountain lakes. There is a noticeable difference when using these paddles, a "feel" in their performance that just seems right. Having the correct balance points right at the lower hand grip helps to give this effect also. I have cherry wood paddles, and they do burnish and age wonderfully with use, and the wood itself darkens over time. If you are looking for a paddle with true traditional heritage and craftsmanship, and that really does work remarkably well in the real world, these elegant paddles are well worth seeking out.
I have to concur with all of the reviews as stated, Jeff…
I have to concur with all of the reviews as stated, Jeff Solway is one of the best fellows to deal with, and is very much a man of his word, I also have a 58" cherry med-flex. Great for deep water paddling in Killarny, I was up on the Fox river in the U-P of Michigan in october-01, a tough wilderness river and broke my paddle during a hard left draw stroke, e-mailed Jeff when I got home and he said that he wouild send me a paddle as soon as he had more done and received it last week. The only draw-back for me is that there is no rockguard dip on the end of the paddle just to keep the end from getting the usual wear and tear marks,But again 4 stars for Jeff and his company,He also builds a fine Yoke also ! ! R.Orchard
I bought a Cherry second last spring...and broke it. When it broke…
I bought a Cherry second last spring...and broke it. When it broke, I was doing an eddy turn in pretty deep water. I had absolutely no trouble getting it replaced. Jeff Solway is the best. Although he didn't have a Cherry paddle handy (and I was really itchin' to get a Cruiser back into the water), he did offer a first quality Ash. This is one beautiful paddle. It's allowed me to sneak up on Bald Eagles (RIGHT beneath them), paddle quietly among waterfowl in the tidal marshes of Virginia, and it's made for some very nice long-haul paddling that wasn't tiring at all. I've had other paddles over the years, but the Nashwaak Cruiser is absolutely the best bang for your buck!
I bought the cherry model, definitly lighter, for my son. It is…
I bought the cherry model, definitly lighter, for my son. It is a pleasure to use, I was surprised at the flex, but it felt fine. It was quieter than the plastic paddles we have (the kind outfitters give you), and it felt like I wasn't working as hard to keep up with my son in the bow when i was using the Nashwaak and he was using the whitewater style. Just like they warn you, it isn't made for scraping on the bottom, so use it in deeper water. It is worth the price. Check out the web site
. It has good information and is interesting reading.
This paddle is a beautiful work of art. And it paddles great…
This paddle is a beautiful work of art. And it paddles great in deep, quiet water. Excellent for long hauls, as it doesn't seem to tire you the way wider blade paddles can. I am still learning to take full advantage of it for tight maneuvers, but that isn't what it is made for. The flex feature seems to work, and it is very quiet with no cavitation. For its intended use, you couldn't ask for better. Ask for the satin finish -- it looks better than the gloss.
Very smooth in the water, no flutter. The narrow blade provides plenty…
Very smooth in the water, no flutter. The narrow blade provides plenty of power for acceleration when needed, but this paddle really shines when you don't overpower it, and concentrate on good technique. I switched it back and forth with my old paddle over the course of a day, and the Nashwaak felt far superior by the end of the paddle.