Rochfort vs Werner paddles.


Hi all,

Are Rochfort whitewater paddles as good as Werners for reliablity and feel, there is very little info on the net and it would be nice to support NZ made if they are similar.


Guido's picture

I have used all sorts of paddles over the years and broke quite a few of them too. First to go was my Robson Pogo on the Routeburn, followed by a Nevis Mohaka on the Ngamuwahine. Lastly a Werner Shogun halfway down Mothers Nightmare on the Wairoa River. All of them broke clean at the shaft, and all of them got wedged between rocks with my full weight loaded on the shaft. All these paddles were used continuously for a couple of years before they got forcefully retired. I now use a double diamond carbon Werner and a straight glass Rochfort. I still pull out the Rochfort now and then as it feels lighter to paddle. But I have no pretensions that they too will break if something similar happens.

Still I have had this Rochfort for at least 5 years and it was there when my Werner gave up. Which then took 6 months to get fixed as the shaft had to come from overseas. At the end of the day, if your paddle ends up in the wrong spot it'll snap and even Werner pixie dust is not going to prevent it from happening. That said I'd happily buy these brands again!

DC's picture

Whiteh2o I have to say that is simply not a factual statement or based on any real evidence.
Except for the "you can break anything" part!
In 20 years importing selling, manufacturing and repairing thousands of paddles I can show you documented evidence that proves that Werners break as often as any other brand of paddles.
I can also prove that there are thousands more Rochfort paddles on the water in NZ than Werner which should be satisfactory to explain why you would see more broken....
Personally I owned my first Werner in 1990 and loved that paddle until 1993 when it broke it, I have over the years owned and used (mostly until broken) paddles from just about every manufacturer including Rochfort and Werner.

- I purchaced the business of Rochfort paddles in 2002 after the death of Grant Rochfort and ran the business until 2007 when I sold it again.
- I have independent test results from a NZ university during this time, testing a range of white water kayak paddles to destruction using a number of different methods...... the results would probably surprise you.
- I owned and ran Sunspots Kayaks from 1994 until 2007 I imported and sold Werner, Rochfort and many other paddle brands during this time.

Donald Calder

whiteh2o's picture

Short answer...No.
I have been paddling glass Werners for over 10 years and never broken one. You can break them, as you can break anything...but the only set I have seen break in that time where a guy got a blade pinched between rocks and his full weight loaded the shaft, went off like a gunshot, was quite impressive!. It is a bit of a mission getting blades and bits for them, Mick from the NZKS has done it in the past, but it was more hassle. Bottom line they are hard as nails and you probably wont ever need to test the warranty.
It seems that pretty much everybody I have come across that has had a set of Rochfords has broken them. It may be an exageration, but I cant think of a single person who I know who has had then that hasnt snapped part of them. They are not a bad set of blades, they feel ok, but they are just not in the same league.

DC's picture

Rochfort paddles are a very well esablished NZ made brand with solid designs and good local customer service as they has been on the market for more than 15yrs now, this is important if you should break a blade or shaft as with many imported paddles the only option is to buy a whole new paddle.... it is a good idea to check out what will happen if you break a shaft or blade on any paddle (before you buy it) as many including werner do not have all these parts available for after sales repairs in NZ and it could cost you more than the price of the paddle to return it to the factory.

I used to work in the kayak industry (for more than 20yrs) and have repaired thousands of broken paddles, and trust me they will break from all manufacturers equally the only difference is that you are able to replace half of your shaft quickly and locally (without major cost).

Something to think about - If you buy a new car with a three year warranty and then have a crash you are not going to get your car replaced under warranty, That same thing goes for paddles if you smash a paddle from any manufacturer onto rocks and smash it they will not cover it under warranty,

Donald Calder

Missy's picture

Ii purchased a rotchfort recently and I totally love it. Its really light and an all round great paddle. fully recommend it!

Xenon_Pirate's picture

if youre looking to support nz made then may i suggest obey? you probably havent heard of them, kind of the new kid on the block as far as paddles go but i know guys who do BIG creeking and the like and as far as i know none of them have broken their paddles yet. i use a fibreglass obey crank that i bought whilst i did whitewater safety stuff with the guy who makes them and it is lovely to use, i know the site isnt done yet but they are great paddles trust me.

shaggy's picture

i have rochfort crank and love the way it feels in the water with plenty of power in the blades but sadly the strenth of the shaft lets it was only a few weeks old when it broke and sent it back thinking that rochfort would replace the shaft considering thay stated in there web site at the time that there shafts where stronger because they where one peace. but it came back with a big blob of resin and matting holding the two halfs together! have also heard of many paddlers breaking there rochforts with eez. next paddle will definitly not be a rochfort