Welcome to Gillespie Paddles, builder of handmade wooden and hybrid Outrigger canoe and touring paddles.
Balsa paddles -- now available w/ team discounts-
Ask about club and highschool discounts---
Some thoughts on angles/double angles -- go to bottom of page -- and yes, I do make double angles; I make them for pretty much any design paddle on my site --
Fiberglass hybrids! -- very light, very durable--- check out the hybrid link/
I've been building Outrigger paddles and touring canoe paddles for around 30 years. I got my start making flatwater racing paddles -- about a year after angled paddles were created by Eugene Jensen. So I've gone through every phase of the angled paddle evolution.
I am mostly about wood paddles, since there is something about cutting, gluing and shaping wood that just has it all over molding glass and fiber.....it is nowhere near as icky, and smells good to boot...
I do make the paddles, personally. I just don't design them and source out the work to another larger paddlebuilder, then put my logo on it.
I've stuck with wood because that's what I love making. Wood is fantastic, a wonderful medium for making paddles! It has all the lovely stuff that carbon fibre does not have: warmth, natural beauty, natural anything, flex, strength, lots of variety in lots of different woods that all do different things in the makeup of a wood paddle! And durability? A well made wood paddle is very durable, and resilient, and repairable -- try repairing a carbon fibre paddle. And, wood costs less. A lightweight wood paddle can be made very durable also. When I make really lightweight paddles, I encase the blade in epoxied 2 ounce cloth with reinforcements wherever I think necessary. The entire blade is edged in double bandings of red maple. The tip is a laminated red maple, phenolic laminate, embedded into the powerface of the blade. I dip the paddle 4-5 times in hi-gloss polyurethane.
And you know what is trully wonderful about wood paddles (at least the ones I make), you can actually tell your's from someone else's! Try that with carbon fibre. Don't you want a little 'you' in your paddle?
I do make hybrids, and I sell all Carbon Fibre paddles, as well as paddles with kevlarand fiberglass blades that are great paddles, and some of them are quite colorful. These are also quite unique in that the blade is quite lightweight and super functional, and comes with a handmade wood shaft and grip -- and I mean handmade, not cloned by machines. So what's in your hands is made by hands!
Double angle dorkiness:
I was reading an ad in Pac.paddler by a well known paddlebuilder about a new woman's paddle; he had 'kicked out' the angle on the double bend to 16.5 degrees after watching lotsa videos on women paddling. This apparently allows the 'paddle' to stay perpendicular in the water longer...seriously? --- 16.5 degrees? Could you imagine pole vaulting with an angle at the bottom of the pole that is 16 degrees? It doesn't make any diff if the paddle is a ...double angle or a single angle if it's a guy or a girl, 16 degrees is way too much -- and what possible diff could it make what sex the paddler is? The correct way to imagine what angle a paddle should be is to imagine the paddle as a plant/anchor in the water that you are pulling yourself too. Too much angle (like over 12 degrees) doesn't give you a good plant: the blade is too angle in the water, so your plant is compromised. This probably wouldn't show up so well watching extensive videos, but it would be something that is extremely capable of being felt -- something that pretty much wrecks the first part of your stroke, which is the most important part. If the purpose of the extra angle is to allow the female to pull the paddle back further, this is just a distortion that leads to bad technique....10 -12 degrees, max....and some of the top flatwater marathoners use 8 degrees...and believe me, these guys are at the top of the technique pole.