Which Canoe Paddle is Best for Recreational Paddlers?

4-minute read

Here at Bending Branches even our most affordable canoe paddles are handcrafted with care and made to last for years. These five wood models are ideal for recreational canoeists who want a beautiful, well-made paddle that won’t break the bank.

Bending Branches' recreational wood canoe paddles

Bending Branches’ line-up of recreational canoe paddles

Any of these paddles will serve you well for easy day trips, an hour or two on local lakes and slow-moving rivers, or for use at the family cabin. The best choice for you will be based on what’s most important to you—things like durability, price, performance, weight or looks.

Loon: Our Most Affordable Wood Canoe Paddle

Ideal for recreational flatwater paddling, the Loon’s blade is comprised of basswood and maple for 112 square inches of blade surface. It’s tipped with our Rockgard® edge protection, as all our wood paddles are.

Bending Branches Loon canoe paddle

The Loon’s shaft is solid basswood that’s slightly ovalized to fit your hand well, and it comes with the very comfortable Classic Palm Grip. It weighs just 20 ounces. 2023 US price: $99.95.

Learn more about Loon

“Highly recommended! Extremely light, very comfortable and I like the simple coloring of the basswood.” Victor K, Glendwood Springs, CO

Traveler: A Solid Choice for Flatwater Canoeing

A strong and lightweight paddle, the Traveler features a 112-square inch blade constructed of basswood and red alder, which gives it a very attractive look. Rockgard® at the blade’s tip increases its ruggedness over the years.

woman using Branches' Traveler canoe paddle on a mountain lake

The Traveler has the same solid basswood shaft as the Loon, but it’s made with our Freestyle Palm Grip for even more versatility. At 20 ounces, it’s very light yet will perform well in wind and waves. 2023 US price: $109.95.

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“No one told me how light they are! It gives these old paddling arms a fresh way of greeting the waters. Get them if you are wondering!!” Sharon O., Saint Louis MO

Beavertail: Classic Shape for Deep Water Paddling

The Beavertail features the classic long, narrow blade shape that’s ideal for deep water lakes. It’s buttery smooth and efficient with each stroke and offers easy control.

Branches' Beavertail canoe paddle resting on canoe, on a lake shore

The blade is handcrafted of basswood and red alder for 139 square inches of pull power. Of course, it’s also tipped with our tough Rockgard® edge protection. The shaft is solid basswood and it features the symmetrical Freestyle Palm Grip. This one weighs 22 ounces. 2023 US price: $119.95.

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“Classic design, lightweight, easy to handle. Makes it easy to maneuver silently in all directions, which I particularly appreciate when trying to photograph wildlife from a canoe. I wish I could use this more but my son has decided it's his favorite—I may just need to get another.” lucas9p9 (paddling.com)

Arrow: Reinforced Durability for the Recreational Canoeist

Branches’ Arrow canoe paddle is a significant step up in both craftsmanship and durability from the paddles we’ve shown you so far. Its 121-square inch blade combines three different woods: basswood, maple and red alder. The Rockgard® edging wraps around the tip and further up the blade, giving it extra protection.

canoeist using Branches' Arrow canoe paddle in a canoe

The Arrow’s shaft is ovalized like the others for a comfortable hold, and is made of 18-laminate basswood. This shaft design offers more strength and durability than solid wood shafts. It uses the Classic Palm Grip and weighs 23 ounces. 2023 US price: $139.95.

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“Love the Arrow Bending Branches paddle. My third one. Thanks for getting it to me pronto.” Robert H, Marion KS

BB Special: Our Best-Selling Bent Shaft Recreational Canoe Paddle

The BB Special is identical to the Arrow paddle except for the 11º bend where the blade meets the shaft. This bent shaft design makes every stroke effortless and efficient. The 118-square inch blade is crafted of basswood, maple and red alder. It features Rockgard® edge protection along the blade’s tip and slightly up each side.

two dogs and canoeist in a canoe, Branches' BB Special paddle blade seen

The ovalized shaft is made of durable 18-laminate basswood and comes with the very comfortable Classic Palm Grip. The paddle weighs 22 ounces—very lightweight for flatwater cruising. 2023 US price: $139.95.

Learn more about BB Special

[Please note that sizing a bend shaft paddle is different than a straight shaft paddle. Here’s all you need to know about sizing a canoe paddle.]

“If you’re in the market for a great paddle, this is the one to get. This bent paddle is extremely efficient on the water and is beautifully crafted…you won’t be disappointed.” Robert L, Harrison ME

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We hope this helps you decide which recreational canoe paddle fits your purposes and budget the best!

Maybe you’re looking for a more robust paddle you can use on longer excursions and in more demanding conditions, like multi-day wilderness trips or rocky rivers? Click here for information about our high-performance canoe paddles.

Do you have paddle questions our friendly Customer Service Team can help you with today? Contact them: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]

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