This paddle is a real steal for the price. I use it at least twice a week for 2-5 mile trips and I have found it to be great for those distances. I fish on my kayak whenever I go out so most of my kayaking consists of paddling from spot to spot to fish. I used to have a Werner Camano and found I liked a shorter paddle to use for high angle style paddling, which is better suited for doing bursts of paddling between spots like I do when I fish from my kayak. I also use a small 9ft drop stitch infatable kayak so I found the smaller overall size of the blades to be better for a smaller kayak. When I tried the touring style Camano paddle it was too much surface area for this smaller kayak. I have actually purchased two of these Whisper paddles now, one length of 230cm and one of 210cm. I prefer using the 230cm for longer trips where I will be covering large stretches of water such as on lakes or on long days at the river where I prefer to use more of a touring style of paddling. For shorter trips I have found to prefer actually taking one piece from the 230cm and one piece from the 210cm and making a middle sized length which is better for a high angle style of paddling. When using the 210cm size I found it to be ok and comfortable for doing short burts of paddling, but on a windy day with a lot of distance I really don't like have a paddle that is too short because I have to put a lot more focus and effort into each stroke.
This paddle is also pretty lightweight which is a real bonus for me because I do a lot of back yakking where I have my inftable in my pack along with lots of water and fishing tackle plus all of the other essentials like my PFD and miscellaneous gear. To save weight and get multiple uses out of my paddle I actually use it like a trekking pole. Most of my back yakking is through the Arizona desert where the blades are always getting banged into sharp hot rocks for hours. After using my paddles countless times as trekking poles plus putting them through lots of other trials I have found the Whisper to be extremely durable and it has never let me down yet.
So for a very affordable price you get a paddle that is very functional and vey durable. I feel this paddle is a real winner.
This is my first paddle for my first kayak. I've used rentals before but not enough for a real comparison. I looked at other manufacturer specs to compare the weights and this one is not THAT much heavier. I know ounces matter but for the price difference I had no reservations about this one. I've had it out in Lake Tahoe and White Rock Lake in Dallas, and it's performed wonderfully. It feels really solid and propels the kayak through the water. I'd definitely recommend it for a beginner and I guess weight or more feathering angles to choose from are the only reasons to move up for anyone else. The aluminum shaft did start some blisters on my hands but I used wrap and will be trying yak grips. I don't know if a different material (fiberglass, carbon fiber) would help there anyway. Bottom line for me is it works and feels really solid and rugged.
Perfectly adequate budget paddle
I bought this paddle when I bought my first kayak. I wasn't sure how important a good paddle would be so I went with this bottom of the line paddle.
Spending a little more for a carbon shaft might be nice if you're going to paddle a lot, or spending a lot more for a fully carbon paddle would be great (I have both and they are definitely big steps up from this one). But... this Bending Branches is perfectly adequate. I've used it for long day trips many times. It works the way a paddle is supposed to and I wasn't wasted with fatigue at the end of the day.
If you have a budget constraint and you need a paddle, this one works fine enough. When you outgrow it you can pass it down or keep it as a spare.
Excellent introductory paddle
I was comparing paddles for quite a while before I settled on this one. This paddle has almost identical specs (size, weight, feather) to the more expensive aqua bound paddles. The one additional feather angle (3 total) seems useful as well.
The built in drip rings work pretty okay, they do catch most of the water. I did get the extra drip rings like another reviewer recommended (only a dollar each). The "aftermarket" drip rings catch the rest of the water that makes it past the built in ones.
I didn't notice any splashing at all, I suppose it depends upon your paddling style. In fact, I felt that the paddle entered the water very cleanly and pulled through very easily.
Great paddle for price!!!
These paddles have some of the features of more expensive paddles. They have the option of being offset which helps make your paddling strike more comfortable. They are fairly lightweight. They cause less fatigue then others we tried in this price range. They are comfortable to use and are rigid. There is no flex when you use them. They are also milled so that the two pieces fit exactly. It's convenient to be able to take them apart for easier tranport. They've been great for day trips on calm water, and class one and two rivers as well as an overnight camping trip. The only con is that they do splash a little. But they are great for recreational paddlers.
Love this paddle
My friend and I love these paddles! They have a lot of the features found in those costing considerably more. The grip is comfortable and the blades can be feathered. On day-long paddles on quiet rivers and lakes, they are light enough that we don’t experience paddling fatigue. We haven’t babied them; their rigid construction has dug us out of muddy landings and pulled us through weed-clogged passages. They are a good match for our folding kayaks; everything can be stowed inside the car (or the airplane). The Whisper has been perfect for the beginners we were, and will serve us for a long time to come.
Amazing bang for your buck
I have a 230cm. and a 240cm. I use them with my Dagger Approach 10.0 and my Liquid Logic Remix xp 10. Both have a width of 28in. The 240 for me is more for a casual easy paddle and the 230 is a little more zippy for faster paddles.
I broke a tiny chunck of one of my blades throwing it accross a river to a buddy stranded from a run away paddle, but other than that, they really hold up. Best paddle you can start out with by far. Save the extra cash for a good PFD.
These paddles are a great buy for the cost. My wife and I have been using them for about two years. They work well and it is nice to be able to take them apart while traveling. I have taken them on many long and short trips. The drip rings do not work that well since they are so close to the end but I solved that problem with two additional drip rings (not expensive). The paddles are heavy in comparison to many of the others on the market but the price is reflected in the lighter paddles.
Seriously, for this price...
Okay, so this paddle isn't a five star paddle. But it can't be beat for this price. I use this thing all day long in calm water, choppy water, when I want to cover a lot of ground or when I'm just exploring a swamp.
You go there, you look at the paddles, you contemplate the differences and the price... I'd say, start with this one. And it might be a while before you think about upgrading. It's fine enough.
Fine quiet-water paddle
I use this for quiet water paddling in lakes and coastal wildlife refuges and it does just fine. Nothing fancy so I don't have to worry about messing it up on rocks, oyster beds and the like. The molded in drip rings at the base of the blade don't work particularly well, so spend a couple of bucks and get a pair of rubber drip rings. Other than that, you can't beat this paddle for the price.