BWCA Gear Guide
Gear for the Boundary Waters, Quetico, and Canoe Camping Locations
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Bending Branches BB Special Canoe Paddle
This bent-shaft Bending Branches BB Special wood paddle is an excellent value for the advanced recreational canoeist.
$139.95 (Click to View Price Changes and Options)
P BB 52
Reviews for Bending Branches BB Special Canoe Paddle
Member Rating: No Rating
11/29/2009 09:14AMthis paddle is an absolute tank. it is one that i am not afraid to get a little rough with, and have never been light on. its nothing special (no pun intended), but it gets the job done. a great paddle to start out with or if you dont want to spend a lot of money like me.
11/30/2009 07:16AMI ave had a BB Special for a number of years and been very happy with it. Durable, efficent, has worn well, and is a decent weight. A great paddle at a great price.
02/08/2010 12:25PMBeing one of the lower priced bent-shaft offerings, this was a good choice for this Californian who does not get to make many treks per year. While not quite as pretty as its Bending Branches competition, it is quite serviceable and will suit the practical-minded paddler.
Rating: No Rating
02/12/2010 12:47PMI like mine in the stern. A good compromise for me. I spend less than a dozen full days a year paddling and it fit my bill. Good bang for the buck.
02/14/2010 06:47AMIt's a very good paddle at a reasonable price. It's quite efficient and very rugged.
02/27/2010 02:08PMI have owned mine for 4 years. With its rockguard, reasonable weight, and ruggedness it's a good value.
03/06/2010 07:36AMGood quality paddle at an affordable price. Time tested, mother approved...probably the most popular paddle out there.
08/08/2010 03:51AMI actually bought this paddle for my wife and she loves it. We are just getting into the paddling sports and for us the paddle couldnt be better. Just recently she paddled for about 5 hours straight and said she couldnt believe how light the paddle still felt. She also likes the bent paddle because she is short (5'2") and feels like it extends her stroke without much effort. I also tried it out and felt I could get a lot of power out of it, even though it was obviously a little short for me. The grip also fits the hand very nice.
I also bought a Bending Branches Loon paddle for myself and its a fantastic paddle for the money. It is also very light and comfortable in the hand. After the same 5 hours of paddling I also thought the paddle still felt light. I cant imagine what some of the even lighter ones feel like!!
03/01/2011 09:40AMGood paddle. I'm not afraid to rough this paddle up because I always sand it in the fall after I am done in the BWCA and then I put some nice glossy finish on it in a couple layers after it dries. Good little paddle.
07/22/2011 05:41PMI've been satisfied using this paddle in my solo canoe. The weight is really not that bad and it has decent flex when pouring it on. It has a reasonable sized blade but it could be a bit thinner at the edges. All in all I'd give it a B rating...
05/29/2012 01:01PMI have two of these paddles. They are light weight and have features that I want in a bent shaft paddle. The rock guard tip is nice and helps extend the life of the paddle. I tend to be a little gingerly around mine and try not to flex it or put too much weight against it, but they definitely hold up. I found them for $80 a few years ago and was happy with the price that I paid. They look good and are comfortable in my hands.
01/31/2014 09:22PMIt looks great and feels great in your hands. Quality paddle for a good price. Love the bent shaft. I wasn't totally sold on bent v.s. straight shaft paddles until I bought one and now it is all I use.
01/20/2016 12:37PMIt is a tough paddle. I'm not a fan of the 14-degree bend of the pre-2016 version, however: I prefer 10-12 degrees. I think that Bending Branches has redesigned its paddles for 2016 and reduced the angle to 11 degrees. The paddle is not especially lightweight.
04/07/2016 08:25AMAll around excellent product, would absolutely buy again. Its lightweight but sturdy. The laminate that it comes with from the factory makes using the paddle as a cutting board more acceptable than if it was oiled, but the laminate does make the handle harder to hold on to in the rain.
02/11/2019 09:26AMI've had my BB Special for about 4 years now and the thing is pretty indestructible. It's saved my canoe from many rocks as I've thrown it out there in a desperation attempt to change course around a hard to see rock just below the surface. The guard on the end does it's job and then some. As far as paddling is concerned, it performs admirably, both in traditional strokes and J-strokes. It displaces a lot of water and I really like the "push" you feel with every stroke. It's pretty efficient. The grip is solid and comfortable as it fits easily in the palm of your hand. This is my most durable paddle.
06/25/2019 11:51PMThis was my first “decent” paddle and proved to be the gateway into spending even more on paddles. It is a big improvement on the plastic/aluminum paddles, but doesn’t have the durability that spending a bit more provides by adding fiberglass protection on the blade. It is still tough judging by how much my brother has abused it. Mine needs a good sanding and re-finishing.
05/07/2020 09:06PMFor a solid, no-frills and cost-effective but built-like-a-brick-hithouse bent shaft paddle, this has to be near the top of the list.
I own more expensive paddles, some by this same manufacturer, but most of those I worry about in rocky situations. Not this one!
It could be lighter, but if it was, well - then it would not take the licking I give it on Canadian shield lakes and rivers.