Which paddle for the world longest river race?

MR340 Gear (toys)

An average of 350 boats starting at the bumpy confluence of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers. The buildings of Kanas City in the background.

Too late to worry:

"Had I chosen the correct gear?" 

The jittery exciting pre-start of the MR340 and around all around you see the widest selection of paddles and boats than one could imagine: of the paddles-creatively carved angled wooden paddles, feather light carbon fiber paddles and study but heavy aluminum & plastic paddles from the big box stores. Even a few venturous souls with narrow Greenland style paddles.

Everyone looked so confident, and so the nagging question: "Had I chosen the correct gear?" 

Note: after completing three of these paddle adventures, I recognize the "Confident demeanors" arise from the fact that most paddlers had practiced and were confident they would complete the race. The statistics of failure was for the 'other paddles'

So what type of paddle to torture body for 340 miles? Or as I prefer to think of it: 18-20 hours of strokes day and night for four four days?

Well of course the bottom line of what's in your wallet may determine the type of paddle-your better half may balk at the expense of a high tech blade however in my opinion it would be foolish not in invest in an expensive carbon fiber blade. Find one as light as possible.(what is the grammar rule for when using the word light or lite?)

I have completed three MR340 races coming in to the finish line at around 78 hours (near last place) but feeling fairly refreshed. 

Being at the back of the pack each time I was able to watch those who were struggling to the finish line. And often those paddlers were wielding a blade as heavy as a Viking battle axe (or at least that is how it felt to them after paddling across the state of Missouri.)

It may sound like common sense to obtain a light blade however many paddlers on the muddy Missouri fail to do so.


My shoulders get tired swinging my ultra light Werner or my Epic wing blade but the folks swinging heavy blades from Walmart or Dicks? Blisters and pain. --Of course if your are trained to use those beasts...... Go for it.

Carbon fiber benefits:

Besides being light

Feather (Twist) the blade

Ergonomic shaped shaft

Shorten or lengthen to fit you body for maximum efficiency 


And the price? The outrageous ridiculous price? The cost of the carbon fiber blades are divorce fighting words, in another time you could have sold your sole cheaper.

Horrifying expensive & worth every penny



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