Frequently Asked Questions

You and your paddle

Q: How do you measure the length of a paddle?

A: The length of a paddle is measured from the tip of the blade to the top of the handle. Each Burnwater Reactor II paddle has a sticker on the shaft with details of the length or size. So a 48" paddle will have Size 48 on the shaft.

Q: How do I determine a suitable paddle length for me?

A: The correct paddle length depends on a lot of factors. The type of boats you are in, paddling style, where you sit in the boat, type of crew, and your body type. There's no exact science to measure correct paddle length. Here are two recommended ways to measure a paddle length suitable for you.

Determining approximate paddle length - on land

This method measures how you and the paddle fit as one. All you need is a paddle and yourself.

  1. Pick a paddle with a length that would roughly suit your height.
  2. Hold the paddle as you would when paddling.
  3. Raise the paddle up high and then rest the middle of the shaft on top of your head. When you are holding the paddle, your outside hand should be 5-7cm above the blade (this depends on your personal preference, some may hold closer to the blade).
  4. If both arms form roughly 90 degree bends then the paddle is about the right length for your body. If your arm bends are greater than 90 degrees, the selected paddle length is too long. If your arm bends are less than 90 degrees then the selected paddle length is too short.

Determining approximate paddle length - when seated in a dragon boat

  1. In a fully loaded boat in your correct sitting position, let go of your top hand and extend your outside arm forward so it is parallel to the water/boat.
  2. Now flip the paddle so that the T-handle is pointing down.
  3. Now the top of the T-handle should be near or almost touching the water...that will be the length.

About carbon fibre paddles

Q: Why carbon fibre?

A: There are many reasons why carbon fibre is such a popular material to use. The first and most evident advantage is its strength to weight ratio. What this means is that we are able to build a super light weight item without sacrificing strength/flex. If we were to build a same weight paddle in wood you would have to shave off so much material that the resulting flex/strength would be unacceptable.

The second reason why carbon is so nice to use is its material consistency. It gives us performance characteristics that are nearly impossible with wood. Wood is a living and growing object. If you ever look at a piece of wood, no two pieces are alike (some have knots, density varies, some absorb more water) thus no two pieces perform in the same way. You will notice this as your wooden paddles get heavier over time and lose that crispness you felt when it was new. Carbon on the other hand is a very high tech man-made material. We predetermine the exact amount of fibres and their precise orientation in the structure during production. This allows us to control the exact weight, and believe it or not, the desired stiffness of the paddle.

The third reason is that carbon fibre is a tough material. It can handle all the dings and paddle clashes and is used in formula one cars and jet fighters...need I say more!

Q: Will carbon fibre be too stiff?

A: Yes and no. The common misconception is that carbon fibre paddles are always super stiff and very hard on the joints. What people do not realise is we can control the amount of stiffness in a paddle. We can build things that will not bend if you stood on it to something as flexible as a fishing pole or golf shaft. What we have done is incorporated feedback from the top racing teams to figure out where the sweet spot is.

Q: What is the difference between the regular handle and the carbon handle?

A: The regular handle is a solid epoxy handle weighing 55 grams. The carbon handle is a super light hollow carbon fibre handle weighing 40 grams. If light weight and high performance are important to you then the carbon handle is the way to go.

Q: Why does your carbon fibre paddle cost more than others?

A: There are factors that contribute to the cost of the paddle. The most obvious being the cost of materials. We use the same carbon fibre materials found in formula one cars and jet fighters. These materials allow us to build one of the lightest and strongest paddles in market.

Secondly, is its design and construction. We paddle and we have made it our goal to understand and provide for the needs of the paddler. The paddle is such an instrumental connection between you, the paddler, and the water that it is so important to get this aspect right. For the area where the paddler holds the shaft, we have designed a special ergonomic elliptical shaft to fit perfectly in the craddle of your hand. We could have gone with an easier way to manufacture a round tube or a squashed oval tube but it just wouldn't be the same. This is one of the key features our loyal customers love! On the other end of the shaft we managed to design a carbon fibre solution for the standard T-handle that everyone likes, but lighter and stronger.

Thirdly, there is no substitute for a paddle that feels right when paddling. A paddle designed to give you a crisp catch and the ability to transfer your power to water not to the flex of the blade, one that is light enough to give you a quick, smooth, recovery and strong enough to handle all the power you got.

Last but not least, we have also put a lot of time in research and development to create what we feel is one of the best dragon boat paddles on the market. When you consider all the features we have incorporated into the design of the paddle you are actually getting a deal!

What is IDBF 202a?

Q: What is the IDBF 202a paddle specification and why is it so important?

A: The International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) is the international governing body for the sport of dragon boat racing. They have created certain standards that ensure races and equipment are on a level playing field. This way you can be assured you can use your paddle at all IDBF sanctioned events.

Q: Why the 202a spec and is my old paddle still good?

A: The new paddle specification was drafted in 2002/2003 to standardise dragon boat paddles on an international level. That way all paddle manufacturers have to follow the same guidelines when making paddles. Check with your local dragon boat association to make sure what the accepted paddle specifications are for racing. All our paddles are manufactured to the 202a specification. The 202a decal is embedded in the paddle, so you will not have to worry about any stickers coming off and hassle free paddle inspections during regatta marshallings.

Q: What is the difference between the old spec and newer specification?

A: The main difference between the two are shape and materials. The new spec has a slightly different blade shape that more closely resembles the traditional dragon boat paddle.The newer specification also takes into consideration new materials like carbon fibre/composites.

Q: Do you offer different blade shapes?

A: Unfortunately, the blade shape is controlled by the IDBF. Every manufacturer who wants to produce a paddle that is certifiable will have the same shape.

About Paddle Bags

Q: Can you fit an outrigger paddle in the bag?

A: The large paddle bags is designed to fit an outrigger blade that is shorter than 53". The small bag can fit an outrigger blade that is shorter than 51".

Q: How do I check in the bags at the airport?

A: Both travel bags are designed to be checked in. Due to the different policies and size restrictions please check with your airline before flying. The bags are designed with traveling in mind and usually check in as one of your luggages there may or may not be an extra charge.

Q: Do airlines charge to check the bags in?

A: Most airlines do not charge extra to check the bags in. It counts as 1 of your bags, please check with your airline before flying.

Q: How secure are the bags?

A: The bags have padding to protect the blades and shaft. The bottom of the bag has a durable rubber liner.

Ordering and warranties

Q: What if I am not happy with my order or need a different size/length?

A: Please read our terms and conditions. In most cases we will do our best to resolve any issues you may have. Please do not send anything back to us without the proper RETURN MATERIAL AUTHORIZATION (RMA) number.

Q: Do you accept credit cards such as Visa/Master Card orders?

A: We accept credit cards (Visa and Mastercard), EFTPOS/direct debit payments.

Q: How long does it take to get my order?

A: Delivery times depends on where you live in Australia and New Zealand. We will ship via a courier whenever we can. We usually ship orders within 48 hours of payment. Please contact us with any shipping and ordering enquiries.

Q: Do you ship internationally?

A: We only ship within Australia and to New Zealand. Please contact our global site for distributors in other countries.

Q: Do you have any distributors or retail stores?

A: We currently only sell direct to paddlers and teams to bring the best possible prices.

Q: Can I get my order faster?

A: Yes, but the freight costs will be extra for next day/overnight delivery. We will need to know your Australian and New Zealand address and how many items to send. We usually ship orders within 48 hours of payment.

Q: There are small imperfections on the blade, will it affect the performance of the paddle?

A: All of our paddles are custom made and we try to adhere to the strictest quality standards. However some paddles may have minor/cosmetic imperfections that do not affect the strength or performance of the blade.

Q: What happens if my paddle breaks?

A: You must be extremely strong or you ran over it with a heavy object (car, person, etc.). Contact us and we will help esolve this issue. We work very hard to produce the finest products. Every product we sell is covered by a one year warranty (from date of purchase). Please refer to our terms and conditions.