Did you ever want to design your own paddle and get it made ? Well, soon you may be able to.
We are glad to spill the beans about a new paddle manufacturer soon to launch onto the paddling scene. Many of us were very sad to see the sudden demise of the family run Lightning Paddles a few years back and have eagerly awaited for a replacement...not just in body, but in also mind. Saltwood may just be that replacement.
Werner are at the top of the game. They make a fine carbon paddle without doubt, but should there not be an alternative in terms of design, construction, quality and thought.. after all, paddling is a very personal 'mind space'. Mitchell make some fine whitewater paddles, but are a little heavy and lacking a good sea blade.
"Every man paddle his own canoe" said Captain Fred Marryat.
Do we really need strange chaps in white coats writing 'paddle' prescriptions for us ?
Up until about 8 years ago Richard Davis and Mike Robinson made wood strip kayaks at their 'Carretta Kayaks' company. Since that time they have both continued to be deeply immersed in the world of wood and composite materials. Aside from an accomplished woodworker, Mike Robinson does warranty work for various kayak companies includingNigel Dennis Kayaks . He is constantly modifying and repairing a steady stream of canoes and kayaks, and just about anything else constructed of wood, carbon, fiberglass and Kevlar. Richard Davis has been living on the west coast and studying in depth modern composite matrix systems...at least that's what he told us. Apart from their skills on the factory floor, the two of them are also very well accomplished sea and whitewater paddlers, instrumental in the creation and evolution of the Southeast paddling community and industry. Mike told us they are still working out a few ideas in several areas of the paddles components, but the basic construction techniques were down.
"We hope to be able to offer a service where paddlers can send us their blade design and we'll make it." said Mike about future projects at Saltwood.
The paddles we have been demoing at SC&K are all one piece wooden shafts with carbon blades.
The lightweight shafts have an offset index board for each hand and the blades have a foam core back. They are warm to the touch and pleasing to the hands (both hands have a reference grip). They catch, they flex, they release with a pleasurable and simple effectiveness.... Greenland paddles for Euro paddlers !
Saltwood will be launching 1 piece straight and bent wooden shaft sea kayak paddles, along with a whitewater paddle and surf kayak paddle in the Spring.
Stay tuned for more details and info about Saltwood coming soon.
2010 is about to get interesting.