For me personally, when it comes to a kayak paddle:
Why? Because Patrick from Onno is a heck of a nice guy, that does things the "old school way". As a "craftsman" he builds some nice paddles. In this day and age of "get it made cheap somewhere, hype it up, throw a corporate name on it, and make the maximum profit," it's nice to know that there are still individual artisans out there, that works with pride, and care about the people they sell their art work to...
Patrick at Onno is that kind of person...
Make no mistake about it, every paddle that Patrick has put together and sent out to me, I feel is an actual expression of him, as an artisan. If you ever worked with your hands... I mean if you have ever done some serious trade work that required sanding something and breathing fumes and dust... Or of you ever paid your bills doing, old school, blue collar work... You simply cannot help but appreciate the special kind of stuff that Patrick offers his customers/ friends.
YES, of course, when ordering a paddle you do have to patient with him. Your paddle is going to take him some time to get around to building... After all, he is only one man for heaven's sake. It's not like there is an assembly line of Patricks in a factory somewhere, punching a clock to start the day and then sitting down to lunch when the union factory noon whistle blows. Having to wait a month or two for you paddle at times, simply has to be expected, when you are waiting for one man, to hand build you "your" paddle...
But in the end, in my humble opinion, the paddles are more than worth the wait.
Because of the individualistic attention to their creation, the karma that surrounds Onno paddles seems to endear them to you. For me personally, my Onno paddles almost seem to each have their own personality and soul. Over time, for me, they have become like that ol' favorite pair of jeans, or motorcycle jacket, or that favorite old car you once owned as a kid, and actually gave a name to...
I personally own and use three different Onno paddles. If I want to do a quick ten to fifteen miles in a morning and make my shoulders feel like I went to the gym, I go with the F.A.S.T Tour... My long length, 225-235 F.A.S.T Tour... It truly is a manly man's, broad bladed beast that always challenges me... A Thor's Hammer in the paddle world if ever there was one... "Dig deeper! Rotate harder"... The paddle declares to me. As it does so, it ridicules me in a whisper, "I will break you..." Like that big nasty boxer in the Rocky movie. But, it never does. Yes, I admit, it has brought me to the brink of being so tired after 25 miles in under 6 hours, where if I had eaten lunch, that lunch would have been chum... But, no matter how tired I get, or how much current I push into at the end of the day, my F.A.S.T Tour always gets me home... Always, and never one single day of injury from it! Amazing...
I ordered a full tour signature carbon paddle based on all the great reviews and a phone call from Patrick at Onno. I was pretty disappointed with the paddle right out of the package. The blades had an unfinished look that didn't make me think they would hold up to real world use. The blades on my paddle have very thin edges and have losts of flex in them. Only the face is finished the back side is not smooth. The paddle is light weight because there is a minimum of material used in construction.
If when I start out in the morning, I am feeling an old childhood football injury flaring up and need to take it easy, I turn to my "special width, made just for me" customized, Full Tour Signature... My special curvy Full Tour...She nurtures and takes care of these old shoulders when they need to be pampered.
But my dream paddle, the one paddle that has spoiled me and that I hold as dear in my heart as that doe browned eyed, long dark haired girl, I dated in high school... That paddle would be my divine Onno Sprint Wing... Man, what a dream it is to tour paddle with my Sprint Wing. At a touring paddle pace, while pushing forward my 50ish, troll like, two hundred pounds plus body and my 60 pound plus Kaskazi Dorado ski/kayak hybrid, my Sprint Wing is simply...
I LOVE my Sprint Wing!!!!
Who am I kidding...I simply love my Onno paddles. I love their adjustability. I love their value. I love the fact that the guy that builds them for me treats me more like a friend, than a potential profit and actually gives the time to give me advice even if I don't always take it. In other words, for me, when it comes to the paddles, it's not "just about the paddle," but everything that the paddle also represents ... Like that old "journey - destination" adage you hear every now and then...
Yes, I have had a few other paddles besides my Onno's... I have had a top of the line, all carbon, four hundred dollar, foam core Werner paddle that under power, fluttered through the water more than the batting eyelashes of the cast of La Cage Aux Folles... Some people may prefer that to the solid tracking and stickiness off my Onno blades. But I don't... Please understand, I'm not trying to disrespect the Werner paddle here, but for a four hundred dollar paddle to flutter so much under any sort of power-stroke... It was a terrible disappointment. I used the paddle two times, washed it, polished it, and then resold it on Ebay at a large discount.
I also had a costly Epic mid-wing blade, in their cheaper lay-up, that still cost a small fortune... It just didn’t feel any quality in the paddle as compared to it's price... Sure, it may be a nice ski paddle, but on a wider and heavier sea kayak? Nope, not for me...
Now, I have to say that Eddyline's Sea-Swift paddle is a paddle I enjoyed using at one time.
It was a very durable and practical paddle indeed, and if you ever communicated with the owner of Eddyline, you know what an amazing gentleman he is... I give a thumbs up to their paddles.
Bending Branches, I found they make a nice dependable paddle to push a plastic sit on top around...But when you get a little more serious about paddling, the Bending Branches paddle gets sold with the plastic boat.
Ohhh, I can't forget the Fenn Wing Letterman Blade - Don't even get me started on that thing... That paddle was singularly the biggest disappointment I have had when purchasing paddling gear. I was so disappointed in that paddle that I actually have used one blade to nail in nails in my old garage wall to hang things on...
Anyway, to finish this version of a paddle buyers "War and Peace", I think I should take the time to express my limited paddling experience, so that any crazy soul that actually takes the time to read this thing can put my opinion in proper context. No, I openly admit that I can't claim to be proficient in the proper execution of all of the 82 different paddle strokes and braces because I have been paddling for the token boastful "25 years"... I have not raced kayaks, nor do I spend my time "bench racing" online in kayak & surfski forums... Which I have discovered, seems to at times, be the main requirement for one to consider themselves a paddling expert. I'm just an everyday joe kinda guy. A retired, 50ish year old, New York blue collar fella that absolutely loves to go out on a nice morning, a few times a week, 6 months a year, and spend 3 to 6 hours out of the day paddling for fitness. In the beginning of the season, I only cover 8 - 12 miles an outing; summer through fall, those trips extend to about 16 to close to 30 miles for the day.
I started paddling five years ago for the purpose of kayak fishing. Within a year, fishing was out of the equation and paddling became my new hobby & passion. I really enjoy immensely, the amazing feeling of being out on the bay waters of one of NYC outer boroughs, paddling and enjoying the scenery around me. Well not always... There is that very overweight, bald, old naked guy that likes to sunbath on an abandoned-car, riddled beach, along the side of the highway. He likes to stand up to do a hands on the hips, Superman pose, every time a boat goes by... While this may be appealing to some, to be honest, that is something I can honestly live without. To each their own...
Anyway, I have used close to a dozen different paddles over the years. I currently own three kayaks whose use I alternate according to weather conditions and time of year... I also own and on occasion, go out and fall off of a Fenn Mako XT surfski. In other words, I'm a guy that really likes to paddle his kayak, for no other reason, but for the fact that he really loves to go out and paddle a kayak...
For me personally, there is currently only one paddle company I currently use, and there is only one paddle guy I go to when I need a friend to build me a special use paddle... That guy/ friend is Patrick, and that paddle is, and always will be... An ONNO!
The seam between the blade and shaft is covered with a layer of tape that had several 1/4 inch gaps. I found myself making repairs on a new paddle by filling the gaps with epoxy. After being used about 20 times the ferrule locker failed and had to be replaced at my expense.
Bottom line is this design has proved to be too fragile for regular use and I end up choosing more durable paddles on a regular basis.Let me start by saying what a pleasure it was dealing with Pat. The knowledge and personal service are second to none.
About the paddle. I purchased his Full Touring blade in the 2 pc carbon signature lay up. The visual impression is one of craftsmanship and attention to detail. The ferrule and lever lock system ONNO uses are without a doubt the best on the market. As for how it felt, flawless! This blade is about a smooth and easy through the water as you can get. From a standstill the response was instant and the acceleration effortless. What amazed me the most was how fast I was going vs. my energy level. This paddle does a great job at converting your stroke into forward momentum. The light weight combined with the great blade design gives one the sense of being connected, physically and spiritually to the water.
I can not say enough about the quality and excellent design of my ONNO Paddle. Please support Pat and his wonderful family. Buy ONNO Paddles, you will not be disappointed.I have a FAST Tour blade in carbon signature. 205-215cm.
Pat was very responsive and helpful. Got me worried for a while. He didn't respond to emails after I sent payment thru paypal because he was busy. In the end, it took about 4wks from payment till the paddle arrived in Singapore. Paddle blade is huge. Roughly same size as a Bracsa 2 max blade.
Incredibly light. Ferrule system is AWESOME. Low profile and easy to use. Shaft has a wet sanded finish unlike other racing paddles with a smooth, slippery finish.
There is a catch at the end of the stroke. Need to overcome it by using an aggressive high angle stroke. I can feel some flexing if sprinting at full force from a stand still. A little confused as carbon is supposed to be stiff?
The Crunch:I recently purchased the ONNO Sig Full tour with the adjustable ferrule and feather (212-212). I try to support small business as a much as possible and was originally pleased with the service I had received from Pat. He called me on the phone (Canada) and gave me a few pointers for sizing and what he thought would be a suitable paddle. After an 8 week waiting period for the paddle I pretty much got fed up and called a few times and left a few emails only to find he was over worked a little and was not finished the order. - 1 point for service as all he had to do was send a quick email to let me know he would be late and that would have helped ease the anxiety of my internet purchase and let me relax some. In the end when I tracked him down he told me it was already shipped the day before and I would get it soon.
I use it for fitness paddling and it works great.
Best for those with an aggressive high angle stroke. Avoid if you're a leisure paddler who wants to do casual touring. Huge blades might tire you out quickly.
The next negative 2 points come from the paddles behaviour itself. There is a catch at the end of the forward stroke that kinda bugs me. Seems not many others have experienced the problem but when compared with some Werners, Lendals and Aquabounds that I have tried/ owned at some point in time it seems that this catch stands out a little. Could be just me (I doubt it, since many fellow paddlers mentioned the same thing).
On a more positive note. The paddle feels great and looks great. It has a beautiful ferrule system that works magic on the water when you feel like a quick switch. The thing is as light as a feather even tho I have extra lay-up on my design because I like to practice rescues, and it saves a lot on physio appts with the old biceps tendonitis.
All in all, the paddle to me was just "O.K". The lightness and feel weren't enough to out weigh the performance of the paddle for me. I kayak the North Atlantic and frequent long trips. There are better paddles out there if you don't mind spending an extra 50 bucks on them. If I had my time back I would have gone with a Lendal or the Werner (just a personal choice)I decided to buy an Onno paddle after seeing so many good reviews for this small firm on Paddling.net.
I have several paddles already, but have had problems with the metal push buttons sticking on two of them, and I can no longer take the paddles apart. Another paddle I own has a ferrule to tighten it after adjusting length and feather, but this tends to loosen while paddling.
Pat of Onno Paddles certainly lived up to his reputation for good service, and we exchanged several emails before I opted for one of his Carbon Signature paddles at US$250. The paddle arrived in Hong Kong, where I live, within only three days after I made payment by PayPal. I couldn't believe how light it is, and how beautifully crafted. I sent Pat an email thanking him, and he replied to say he had given me one of his top of the range all-carbon paddles. They should cost US$350, so he had given me a US$100 discount!
The paddle can be adjusted between 215-225 cms (my choice of lengths), and all you have to do is flip a tiny lever where the two sections join, after making the adjustment. Simple as that, and tight as can be. I've never seen this lever method before. I changed the length three times while paddling last weekend, going for speed and then relaxing supportive strokes, and it only took a few seconds. Loosen the lever, and the two halves come apart easily, which is a boon while at sea.
The paddle feels really comfortable in the hands, and I'm very pleased with it. You can't get the personal touch from the big boys. Here's to small companies like Onno and long live the Internet for giving us the chance to find them.I had opportunity to test my new carbon Onno mid-tour paddle with adjustable ferrule in a couple of boats.
The workmanship is first rate, and the paddle has a solid feel to it. Feels like it is one-piece. Hard to believe.
The carbon blades and shaft return superb control when paddling. It is the performance and light weight that really make it a 10+. The matrix ferrule, with adjustable feather and length, works great.
A note about the shape of the blade - Most kayak blades on the market are shaped somewhat like spoons in their surface area, and this allows a paddler to use a shaft length slightly shorter than what would be used to have the full blade surface in the water when paddling without much of a sacrifice in performance. Whew.
The Onno touring blades, and others, are more rectangular, well, maybe like a trapezoid, in shape, and this means that the full surface area of the blade should be submerged when paddling to experience the total benefit of the blade. That benefit is very good from the mid-tour blade, and results in almost effortless cruising paddling with the potential for power when needed.
I recommend the matrix ferrule with adjustable length, and allowing a few cm on the long side. Might buy another next year.I have a Full Tour Carbon Signature paddle. The length and Full Tour configuration were the result of discussions with Pat. After he questioned me, he made the recommendation and the results are perfect. I probably would have purchased a different length and a bent shaft paddle, but it would have been an expensive mistake.
Quality is first class, no frills. The paddle is light, has good catch, power, release and great feel. Blade size is perfect for my paddling cadence and the length is right. Pat also made a Full Tour Carbon Signature paddle for my wife and she loves it - from the first time she used it, she says it "feels like a natural extension of my (her) arms".
Very reasonably priced. If you call Pat, be patient. It's a one man shop. When he does talk to you, he will pay attention and guide you through your options. He really knows paddles.The Signature Carbon Big Boy from ONNO is truly a bargain. The shaft is smooth and well-turned, and the blades provide the right amount of bite without cavitation. I got the two-piece, and had to sand the ferrule just a bit for my liking, but other than that, this is a real finesse paddle.
Patrick (the maker) is very accomodating, and took the time to talk to me extensively (long distance) to make sure he knew my preferences. He even custom cut the blades for me at no extra charge!
This paddle is not as rugged as some, but is ultra light and wonderful on those long paddles. In addition, the shaft is plenty stiff and the blades hold their shape on a strong pull. At 22-23 oz., I am extremely pleased with the ONNO performance.
I have used many others, including my much loved Lendal Crank, and although there are stronger blade shapes, the ONNO dihedral seems to provide the best combination of pull, cavitation, and light weight. I must say that for long paddles and lightweight efficiency, I cannot think of a better value in this price range.