A kayak paddle’s ferrule system is one of its most important components. We offer two ferrule systems for our paddles here at Bending Branches: the snap-button and our (new for 2023) Versa-Lok.
Angler Classic in Tidal Blue (photo courtesy of Reggie Chapa)
What’s a Ferrule?
If you’re new to kayaking you’re probably asking: “What in the world is a ferrule?”
The ferrule is the component that joins the two halves of a kayak paddle together into one piece.
As you might imagine, the ferrule needs to be reliable, durable and easy to use. It needs to fit well so the two halves of your paddle don’t wobble. A snug-fitting and reliable ferrule means more efficient strokes and confidence your paddle will perform well for many years.
The Snap-Button Ferrule
The snap-button ferrule is the one we’re most familiar with. The end of one half of the paddle has three holes in it, the end of the other half has a button that depresses in and fits in one of the holes.
The paddle snaps together with either a 0º angle (both blades are facing the same way) or a 60º angle (one blade is cockeyed from the other). This allows for a bit of paddle feathering.
For more on that, read: Kayak Paddle Feathering: What is It and Why does it Matter?
A snap-button ferrule is the simplest and least expensive ferrule option. It’ll continue to work well as long as you keep your paddle free of debris and grit, and don’t allow rust to build up on the metal parts.
The Angler Drift has the snap-button ferrule (photo courtesy of Reggie Chapa)
The Versa-Lok Ferrule
Bending Branches’ other ferrule option is the Versa-Lok. Several of our mid-to-high end kayak paddles offer this option for about $25 more than its snap-button counterpart.
The Versa-Lok ferrule has several advantages over the snap-button ferrule:
- It has a 15-cm adjustable length—great if you have more than one kayak with different widths, if more than one person will use the paddle, or if you’ll use it in a fishing kayak with an adjustable-height seat.
- It has only nylon, plastic and stainless-steel components, which means there’s no possibility of corrosion in salt water conditions.
- It offers infinite feathering angles—when you’re in windy conditions, the more you can refine your paddle feathering, the more efficient your paddling will be.
What Our Pro-Staffers Have to Say
Two kayak anglers from our Pro-Staff team offer their comments for you:
National Pro-Staffer Tyler Thiede, owner of Small Craft Outfitters LLC, says: “I have/use both types. Here’s why:
“I use snap ferrule on my wider fishing kayaks. I keep the seat in the high position on these wider kayaks and don't have a need for adjustment so the snap is perfect/consistent.
“My main kayak is narrower and faster. I use the adjustable-length ferrule in the shortest size (240cm) for distance paddling. The shorter length provides strokes tighter to the boat, which makes it track straighter. I extend it to 250-255cm for a wider stroke while fishing to help me turn faster.”
Regional Ambassador Courtney Bennett also uses both. She says:
“I recently purchased a new kayak that was considerably wider than my previous kayak models. My new kayak, a whoppingly stable 37.5" wide called for a longer paddle than I had originally thought. Most of my paddles are 240 cm, but for my kayak, I definitely needed a 250 cm paddle to make my trips on the water more enjoyable.
“Luckily, I had purchased a Bending Branches adjustable-ferrule paddle. I was able to go from my standard 240 cm to a 250 cm. I have taken my adjustable ferrule paddle on trips with me where I found myself in a rental kayak. I'm prepared for anything!
“I also love my snap ferrule paddle! I had been looking at the Angler Navigator paddle for a long time and I had admired it for several months. I finally took the plunge and purchased the Angler Navigator in a 250 cm snap ferrule. It's a perfect companion for my Diablo Amigo kayak.”
Courtney Bennett with her snap-button Angler Navigator
Choose the Right Ferrule Option for You
All our kayak paddles—both fishing and recreational—come with a snap-button option. Six of them also come with the Versa-Lok option:
- Angler Classic Versa-Lok: The best-selling kayak fishing paddle on the market. The blades are constructed of a nylon and fiberglass blend, with a fiberglass shaft.
- Angler Ace Versa-Lok: This paddle offers a terrific value with carbon-reinforced nylon blades and a lightweight carbon shaft.
- Angler Navigator Versa-Lok: Old-school wood beauty in a beefed-up paddle partnered with a 100% carbon shaft for the modern angler.
- Angler Pro Versa-Lok: Our award-winning Angler Pro Fiberglass paddle with gorgeous fiberglass blades and a super-light 100% carbon shaft. Available in three eye-catching color options.
- Angler Pro Carbon Versa-Lok: Our lightest kayak fishing paddle, the gold standard for serious anglers.
- Navigator Versa-Lok: Our best, most beautiful kayak touring paddle, a combination of the newest technology and handcrafted loveliness. Basswood and red alder blades are combined with a T-700 carbon shaft.