I paddle a single person Old
Town Pack canoe and
absolutely love this paddle. It
really lets you get the J-stroke
going well. To appreciate this
paddle you need to use it.
There is no way to fully
describe the joy.
I'm very satisfied with this paddle. Everything advertised by BB about the Espresso I find to be true: light,strong, smooth in the strokes, handsome.
While we purchased the Bending Branches Espresso Canoe Paddles as a Christmas gift for our daughter & son-in-law, we feel the quality looks great and will make a rewarding gift they will use for many years!
The Espresso straight shaft paddle is one of the best all-around paddles that I've found. The Black Willow is quite strong, while being almost as light as Cedar; the wrap-around blade guard is effective and the fiberglass sheathing of the blade really reduces maintenance over time.
Fortunately, Bending Branches put the symmetrical grip on this paddle (unlike many of their straight shaft paddles, where they include the "oh so popular" asymmetrical grip), making the paddle much better for underwater recoveries and for linking strokes.
For a really comfortable tripping paddle, one that will handle the stresses of hard turning and one that will do most of what is required in a flatwater freestyle stick, this is a great instrument (and at a good price.)
I've used my first one for about 1000 miles of river paddling, mild whitewater, Iowa's twisty and obstructed flatwater creeks and more than a bit of lake paddling. I'll buy some more of these for friends i the near future (Friends don't let friends paddle with junk...)
If this paddle had a glass wrap up the bottom 8 inches or so of the shaft, it would be even better, but for a commercially-produced stick, it is great!
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