The Furrer kids continued to compete and be active members of the whitewater community through their youth and into their adulthood. Werner Jr, Erich, and Bruce have all worked at Werner Paddles and Bruce is the current President. Each of them have been integral parts of paddle design and innovation. In 1987 the Wenatchee paddle was released, utilizing hand vacuum formed spooned blades and a fiberglass shaft. The Ocoee was launched in 1992. Our first Werner whitewater paddle with a pressure molded blade using epoxy resin.
As we entered a new era of whitewater in the 2000’s our paddles continued to be tested in the most extreme way by some of the best paddlers in the world. We continued to innovate during this era to be the best including offering the neutral bent shaft to reduce fatigue and strain and in 2015 we launched the Odachi, an ultralight race paddle.
However, to be the best, you need to work with the best. Werner Paddles has a long history of working with athletes at the top of their game to engineer the ultimate paddles. In 1995, we took that collaboration to an Olympic level. Werner Paddles along with Scott Shipley, as a paddle design consultant, launched FeatherFast Paddles. Scott Shipley was a World Cup Slalom Champion and Olympic Athlete whose expertise was vital in the design of these slalom paddles. The goals of these paddles were to be quick, light, and strong. This continues to be our goal as we continue to design and engineer new paddles that will be the best of the best.
Descents became higher and rapid attempts became bigger. Athletes looked to us for whitewater paddles they could rely on. Dane Jackson trusted the Odachi on the first descent of the last un-run rapid of the Indus River’s Rondu Gorge in Pakistan. The Odachi was also Dane’s paddle of choice when he broke the 4-minute record on the Green Race in 2022. Nouria Newman holds the record for the highest waterfall descent by a female paddler when she successfully navigated the 100ft drop over Don Wilo’s Falls in Ecuador using one our ultimate performance paddles. Depending on the river, Nouria switches between the Double Diamond, Odachi and Strike. As athletes continue to test the limits on the water, we continue to innovate and design new models that the world’s best can rely on. Whitewater continues to be a driving force and passion of Werner Paddles, so stay tuned as great things are in our future.
Images in order of appearance: (1)Bruce Furrer about to race using a handcrafted paddle. (2)Werner Jr competing in the 1970 US Slalom National Championship in Wenatchee, Washington. (3)Excerpt from a catalog that featured the FeatherFast paddles. (4)Image Credit: Kalob Grady. (5) Dane Jackson paddling. (6) Nouria Newman, photo credit Dane Jackson. (7) Nick Troutman.