The Gear Shed - Sawyer Canyon X
Available lengths: 54" 56" 58" 60" 62" 64" 66" 68" 70" or 72"
Blade dimensions: 8.5" W x 21" L
Average paddle weight: 32 oz
Laminated Ash and Doug fir with Western Red Cedar and Walnut in the blade
Oval carbon fiber and fiberglass X-Weave reinforced shaft
Carbon fiber reinforced straight blade
Full perimeter Dynel ToughEdge
Retail Price: $195.00
The Sawyer Canyon X is designed as an all-around whitewater paddle built with a 4 different kinds of wood. To top this off sawyer added carbon fiber sheeting to reinforce the paddle and a fiberglass coating. The Dynel ToughEdge rounds out the features of this paddle. Ok so as a boater my first concern is always: Does it work? Generally I enjoy the feel of this paddle and it is a huge upgrade from random river booty paddles. The variety of paddle lengths is great and the blade is good looking, well designed, and has some good bite to it. If you are looking for a good guide stick I would definitely recommend it for Commercial use. For general purpose boating especially R2ing this is a great paddle. I often compare it to the Werner Guide Stick since I have used those on many occasions. This would be the most direct competitor to the Sawyer Canyon X, however they are two different paddles with two different fundamental designs.
This paddle excels in general river running and having a head turning guide stick. It is at home in full rivers and on big water. It floats well and highly visible so it is hard to lose if you drop it. I would avoid creek boating with it in general.
How is it in the water?
If you are used to either a Werner or Carlisle stick you will find this paddle very different. The paddle blade can achieve a huge amount of purchase on the water. The paddle glides through the water well. You can feather it easily if you are surfing or J-stroking. The hand grip is also wide and well sized fitting even large hands well.
The paddle has a very different profile of flexibility than other paddles. Werners have a flex and snap property ramping up purchase at the end of the stroke. The Canyon X has less flex, but more consistent purchase throughout the stroke. Overall I would say it is equivalent in maximum power. The difference is when you only have time for a half stroke. This paddle will give you 50% power where I feel like a Werner will give you 25-30%. It is a huge boost and advantage, but that advantage comes at a higher dollar price.
How tough is it?
This paddle is pretty tough in general and has held up well to me putting it through some serious abuse. I was curious if I was I more likely to snap a wood paddle than an aluminum shaft or a fiberglass shaft? The answer I have found is that this paddle is that it is just as tough as a fiberglass shaft and definitely more so than an aluminum shaft.
My next question was “What the hell is a Dynel ToughEdge?” So I did a bit of research and Dynel is the trade name of an acrylic resin fiber woven into a fabric for marine applications and for wigs. Its key properties are high abrasion resistance and good tensile strength. The “ToughEdge” refers to the black perimeter of the paddle. Honestly it was not as tough as I was expecting when I started to smash it around on rocks. A strong misplaced paddle stroke knocked a notch out of the tip of the blade pretty quickly after I got it.
Other than that the fiberglass coating is prone to superficial scratching, but it doesn’t cause any structural damage or weakening.
Kailee mentioned that she feels the grip is a little large for her hands and prefers the Freefall XD’s grip and I tend to agree though it is less of a problem for me. For reference Kailee 5’4” and wears size small gloves, where I am 6’2” and were Large or XL gloves.
The ToughEdge is not as tough as I would have liked. I prefer the over molded Kevlar protip in the Freefall XD. The Dynel ToughEdge also doesn’t bite on rocks, so it feels very slippery when you are trying to use rocks to your advantage. This is a bit of a problem when you are creek boating and trying to use rocks to your advantage out there.
Kailee mentioned that a 60” paddle is a little short for her and she would prefer a little longer shaft to paddle with. She is a lot more comfortable paddling a 64” paddle when R2ing. The extra reach preference has been echoed by other petit paddlers I have paddled with. I’m mostly arms and legs so I am fine with a 64”. If you are still confused, please check out this handy guide to Paddle Sizing.
A lot of boaters report that the paddle “feels” heavy at first. It is a different composition so it will feel heavier, but most are around the same weight of 2 lbs.
Is it worth the cost?
If you are currently on a cheap Carlisle paddle, this is definitely worth the cost. Especially if you paddle with someone who is significantly larger than you are. This paddle will step up your R2 game significantly and allow you to make stronger strokes. If you are on a Werner guide stick and you like the way it feels, you may feel put off by this sick until you get used to it. It is just a different type of paddle with a different kind of flex. If I were guiding everyday commercially I would definitely enjoy this paddle since it can really push boats around. It has a little higher price point than the Werner. I would say overall it is definitely worth the cost.