About Werner Paddles
The Mission Statement
It almost goes without saying that the key ingredients of a Werner paddle are Advanced Fit and Advanced Design.
From before inception, when he was designing and constructing paddles for his family of six—all different sized people performing at different levels in various conditions — Werner Sr. knew that everyone wanted the same thing: to have fun with minimal fatigue, and that starts with an Advanced Fit.
He also knew that along with a perfect fit, a great kayak paddle needs an Advanced Design. Since the first kayaking paddle handcrafted in the family garage, he has been perfecting its light swing weight, smooth strokes, and precise balance.
Today they stand behind their commitment to Advanced Fit and Advanced Design, knowing that in tandem they lead to better physical performance for longer periods of time in the water.
Types of Paddles
- Low Angle
- High Angle
- Inflatable Paddling
- Low Angle
- High Angle
- Stand-Up Paddling
- Versatile Use
- White Water
- Small Fit
- Inflatable SUPing
- River Running whitewater paddles
- Race Paddles
- Play Boating
- Crossover Paddling
- Inflatable Whitewater Paddling
- Rock Garden
- Lumpy Waters
- Touring canoe paddles
- Whitewater canoe paddles
Our History Together
We began working together the day we opened for business in 1995. There are few companies that offer the legacy and craftsmanship of Werner paddles, and we couldn’t be a prouder distributor. To me, the coolest thing about Werner paddles is their story and how it speaks to why they make arguably the best kayak paddles on the water. So, let’s go back to WWII when the story began...
The Werner Story
In 1945, as part of a fitness program in the Swiss military, a young Werner Furrer took classes in Foldboat Kayaking, and a passion for paddling was born. Three years later, however, tragedy struck and Werner almost died in an auto accident while on military patrol. But as fate (and Hollywood screenwriters) would have it, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise or, rather, in a nurse uniform. While recovering in the hospital, Werner met his life saver, Martha. “Even with serious doubts about a positive outcome,” it says on the company website, “Martha stood by him and nursed him back to health.”
Four years later, Martha and Werner sailed to Canada and married. Shortly after, they moved to New York and started a family near a mountain lake in the Adirondacks.
Both being lovers of the great outdoors, in the spring of 1955, Werner and Martha bought their first kayak, a Klepper Arius double—a perfect boat for touring with their two small boys, Werner Jr. and Erich. In a family photo on the company website, the boys are seen smiling wide in the front cockpit as mom guides them across a glassy lake. A few years later, Werner Sr. launched his first handmade kayak to accommodate his growing family’s desire to spend more time on the water. Impressively, with Martha’s help, the family would continue to build all their gear, including PFDs, spray skirts, and helmets.
By 1965, to pursue opportunities in his profession as an engineer, Werner Sr. had moved his family from New York to the Pacific Northwest where the fun really ramped up when Werner Sr. bought his first fiberglass kayak—a hybrid river runner/light touring kayak, the first of its kind! It was so spectacularly new, in fact, that it had one show-stopping flaw: no paddle. So, Werner Sr. did what any kayak-loving engineer would do: he went to the garage to design and build a paddle.
With a new fancy boat and his first handcrafted paddle in hand, Werner Sr. set off to the races where his family cheered him on—and thence began a new era in the Furrer family!
Within a few years, kayaking would become the whole family’s passion. The kids began to race, too, and Mom enjoyed testing gear performance, as well as sewing spray decks. To meet his friends and family’s growing needs (and bodies!), Werner Sr. continued to perfect his designs for optimal fit and performance for expedition kayaking to slalom racing to ocean touring. The Furrer family’s shared love of kayaking influenced how they spent their time together, their friendships, and their community.
To evidence this love, an iconic picture from a 1970 spring family vacation on the Werner website shows all four children, their parents, and a family friend on “Deep Lake,” Washington—each paddler, child and adult, with his or her own handcrafted kayak and paddle.
A few months later in July, Werner Jr. would compete in the U.S. Nationals. By this time, Werner Sr.’s quest for yielding better performance and cutting-edge designs were starting to draw attention, especially amongst Werner Jr.’s boater friends who wanted his family’s paddles. From the demand of his friends and his own need to finance his racing career, a family business was born: Werner Jr. started Werner Paddles in 1971—with the help of Dad, of course. Not only did Senior create the first handwritten brochure and encourage his son with business lessons, he was still the driving force behind the designs and innovations in construction.
By 1973, Werner Furrer designed paddles were on sale for $17.00 at “White Water Sports,” in Seattle, Washington.
By 1991, both Erich and Bruce had joined their brother and father in running Werner paddles, and in 1996, they moved the business to historic Sultan, Washington by the Skykomish river, seriously stoking out every boater at the workplace.
In 2005, Werner Jr. retired from the family business to spend more time with his wife and daughters, but the whole family still gets together to spend time on the river. On the company website, you can see a picture from 2011 of Werner Sr. with Werner Jr., Erich, Bruce, and Melinda, all getting ready to paddle in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the “Salmon La Sac” race, the competition that all four kids gleefully crushed in their youth.
Decades later, they still embody the passion, lifestyle, and commitment to quality and performance that has driven the Furrer family since it began in WWII.
Made in the USA
Besides their heartwarming family story and superior product offering, every Werner paddle is handcrafted in Sultan, Washington, brought to life by over 75 people! Their expertise and attention to detail are evident in Werner’s reputation for quality and reliability. But don’t believe me; you’ll feel the difference with every stroke on the water.
Supports Healthy Waters and Veterans
Lastly, they give back to the community. Werner started a Healthy Waters initiative, supporting various non-profit agencies, to keep the waters we play in clean and flowing free. They also support various organizations that help people get out in the water to enjoy our sport, notably U.S. veterans.
Call Outdoorplay at 800-994-4327 and one of our in-house boaters will help you pick the best gear to maximize fun and minimize fatigue.
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