"Up-Ah-Creek"

Paddles & More

"Up-Ah-Creek" Paddles

"Don't Be Without One"


How to determine the paddle length for you.

 The way we measure for a proper fitting canoe paddle is as follows:

  • Use a yardstick and place the starting end in your palm with your handover the end.
  • Bring the yardstick over your head like the above illustration.
  • Grasp the yardstick with the other hand so that both elbows create a 90 degree angle.
  • While holding firm with your hand down the yard stick, remove your hand from the start of the yardstick and look at the measurement on the outside of your grip (near your pinkie)
  • This will be the measurement for the length of your grip and shaft of the paddle. 
  • Double check the measurement to be sure.
  • Record the measurement.

Paddle Styles

Beaver Tail   The Beaver Tail is a very traditional flat water paddle design. The largest portion of blade is located at the base. This make it a little noisy as it enters the water. When most people thinks of a canoe paddle, they picture this classic design.

Otter Tail     The Otter Tail paddle is a classic versatile and lightweight paddle.  It is the ideal deep-water touring paddle for extended trips. In addition to its noiselessness, the long blade gradually enters the water.

The above is an Otter Tail paddle carved from spalted maple. The blade was glassed over for extra strength.

The above is a modified Otter Tail with a flat tip. It was carved from Box-Elder and decorated with Litchberg Fractile burning (High Voltage burning).

Willow Leaf     This style of paddle has a very elongated, narrow "willow leaf" style blade. It's used as an paddle for deep water paddling and for seaworthy canoes. This paddle is quiet in the water due to its extended reach into deeper water.

Voyageur     The voyageur style paddle (right) can be identified by a long, straight sided blade with a square tip and maximum width at the top of the blade. These paddles were popular during the Fur Trade Era in North America from 1530 until the late 1700's. These paddles were used at a rapid stroke rate to propel larger birch bark canoes loaded with pelts for the trading posts. 

Greenland Kayak  Paddle      A Greenland paddle was used by the Inuit paddlers of Greenland. It predates the European blade shape by thousands of years and is characterized by a long slim blade (typically around 3 1/4 - 3 1/2 inches wide) and a shorter loom (or shaft). This type of paddle uses a sweeping style of stroke as opposed to a high elbow approach used with spoon blade paddles. Greenland Paddles relies on more core muscle engagement with less emphasis in the shoulder muscles. In fact the entire length of the paddle can be used as a paddle!

Greenland Storm Paddle       The Storm paddle was used by the Eskimo in very rough and windy conditions, using the sliding stroke, In modern touring use, the Storm is an excellent spare, fitting on the rear deck. It is an outstanding paddle for surf play and rolling. A Storm Paddle is a shorter version of the traditional paddle. The Loom is shortened to accomidate roughly one hand while the other hand holds onto the blade of the paddle. A sliding stroke is used with a Storm Paddle. The shorter profile also reduces the effect the wind has on the kayak. The smaller paddle above is a Storm Paddle.

Eku (Japanese Dragon Boat Paddle)     The Eku is a traditional Japanese boat paddle that is use in a sculling manner (moved in a figure eight) to propel a boat and they are used to paddle the large Dragon Boats. It is also used in martial arts as an indigenous weapon. Many martial arts weapons were common everyday tools that were adapted to use as a weapon. This link will show you an Eku Form.

  • Length: 6'
  • Width: 3 1/2"
  • Shaft: octagonal 

Wood Choices

We use native wood species to create our wonderful paddles. These include: Cherry, Maple, Red Oak, Butternut, Walnut, Cedar, Poplar, Pine, Spruce, Hemlock, and Figured Hardwoods. Exotic woods tend to be expensive and can be difficult to work with. Always check for availability.

Wood Finishes (Oil, Varnish, Epoxy, Fiberglass)

Care and Maintenance of your paddle.

Winnebago Paddles offers thee helpful tips for maintaining your canoe and kayak paddles

Let's face it, so long as your paddle is anywhere other than hanging on a wall, it's going to pick up some wear.
Luckily, most scratches, nicks, or scuffs on a paddle are surface level. So take a deep breath; all is well and your paddle will survive! Here are some tips on how to care for your paddles so they can once again look like the day they arrived to you: 

For our gloss finished paddles:
One of the good things about a gloss finish is that we build up a pretty tough protective layer using epoxy resin and hardener. To top it off, we add to the finishing shell by layering multiple coats of spar varnish once the epoxy cures. However, it is not bullet proof! Be respectful but accidents do happen.

Self care tips...

  1. Lightly sand any areas with observable marks until the blade has a smooth and uniformly dull appearance.
  2. Apply your favorite marine grade spar varnish or polyurethane according to the manufacturer recommendations.
  3. Apply a total of 2-3 (or more!) coats, sanding lightly between coats.

TIP: Got some car wax laying around? Adding a coat of wax on top of your varnish and buffing it off after a few minutes will give your paddle the ultimate shine!

For our natural oiled paddles:
As alluded to above, the epoxy absorbs into the wood to protect from within, as well as hardening on the exterior of the wood to protect from the elements. Unfortunately, that shiny shell it produces doesn't work well for paddlers wanting a more natural appearance for their paddle. Subsequently, a natural finish cannot provide as much protection as our gloss finish. All is well though and you're not receiving something that will explode the moment it touches the water!
Natural finished paddles are finished using a combination of boiled linseed oil (or tung oil), satin spar varnish, and mineral spirits. Each of these components serves a different purpose. While the linseed oil penetrates the wood and creates the natural oily wood appearance, the varnish adds the needed protective layer to the exterior of the paddle. What about the mineral spirits, you ask? That's just to help balance the other two and for easier application.To restore your paddle, do as recommended above: sand, apply, repeat. A safe bet for your homemade oil/varnish mixture is to stick to about 1/3 of each substance. If you're looking for more protection, add more varnish. If it's more natural beauty you're after, add more penetrating oil. Thinner application? Add more mineral spirits.