The first San Juan touring paddle
While on expedition with his new WT-500 touring kayak, Werner Sr. noticed something wrong with the paddle he was using. Most of the paddles he had made to this date were for whitewater paddling. Using mostly forward strokes when touring, he had an idea to make a smoother, more efficient paddle.
In the summer of 1976 I helped my dad make the first San Juan blade using a vacuum technique. The blade did not look that great but the design, with its strong dihedral power face and asymmetric shape, proved superior to all prior paddles used.
Hand shaping a laminated wood shaft and using a metal ferrule, Werner Jr. would later help refine the construction technique of the blades to make a beautiful touring paddle.
Within a few years the San Juan, named after the famous San Juan Islands in the Pacific Northwest, proved itself to be a revolutionary advancement for touring kayaking.
Every paddler who tried the San Juan wanted one of their own. Within a few years Werner Jr found himself building paddles here and there until being thrust in full time paddle making in the early ‘80’s.
The San Juan proved to be the seed that grew into the Werner Paddle Company today cementing Werner Furrer Sr’s legacy in the kayaking community.
Happy New Year and Happy Paddling,
The Riversport Park and Oklahoma River have hosted many international kayak races, trade shows, and it has been designated as an Olympic and Paralympic Training Site. Brent and his team of volunteers aim to improve the health of this area for future paddlers to enjoy. Thanks for all that you and the Riversport River Protectors due to keep our waterways healthy Brent.
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We are excited to receive the Best In Class Award from Paddle TV for the Werner Ovation. The Ovation was founder Werner Sr. last project and paddle design for Werner. It is one of the lightest best paddling paddles on the market. For more information please visit
To see the paddle in action follow Paddle TV's Ken Whiting here as he explains some of the benefits of the Ovation.