Shit that works week: Werner Shuna


A lot of gear upgrading is malarkey, born of boredom or fashion or envy or lust or some other vaguely protestant shortcoming. Buying new stuff is fun, usually harmless in that postmodern capitalist headinthesand way, and sometimes even justified, but most often little substantive reward is gained. That jacket was probably not quite as warm or waterproof as the new one, but would have lasted another couple years. The old bike tires worked almost as well as the new. That old pack carried just fine if you were actually in shape.

Thankfully, there are areas where this is simply not the case, and one can invest in richly made tools and toys which both function so much better and give immense aesthetic pleasure. It is good to live in a world, suffused in money that it is, in which such things are still possible. Where buying a given item will legitimately spur you to get better at a given activity.


A Werner paddle will make you a better paddler. Even the four piece jobs, which are essential when buying an all purpose packrafting paddle, have an astonishingly imperceptible degree of flex, and transfer human power straight to the water with astonishing directness. They give you no excuses, either, both a blessing and a curse. Paddle one in hard-for-you water and you’ll realize plainly that the missed lines and blown boofs are your fault, and your fault alone. Better paddle more and get better, which will give you a great excuse to use your rad new paddle.

When I acquired my 210cm Shuna, Werner was not yet regularly making their whitewater paddles, which feature burlier blades and blade/shaft connections, in four piece models. Thanks to packrafters, they do now, but were I buying again I’d still get the lighter Shuna. The blade is very dinged up, but only cosmetically, which is impressive given the last three years of abuse. I appreciate the lighter swing and packed weight of the “touring” Shuna. If you bought your Alpacka with a bunch of extras bent on getting gnar, the similarly sized Sherpa would be a good choice.

A Werner packraft paddle is shit that works, shit that will get you worked, and shit that will get you to work harder and better.

7 responses to “Shit that works week: Werner Shuna”

  1. What do you think of Lendal paddles? Are they up to par with Werner or no?

    1. Never seen one in person. Great rep amongst sea kayakers, not sure about toughness for rocks.

  2. Dave, internet stranger here.

    I bought an Explorer 42 on the christmas sale as my first packraft to as you say enable more activities rather than be a slightly better jacket. I was undecided on the paddle at the time and may have lost my shot at the 10% off bundle on the paddle but wanted to make sure I got a good one to begin with rather than wasting a series of upgrades.

    Question 1: I am 6’4″ (taller than you I think) do you still recommend the 210cm Shuna or should I bump up the length or increase blade size to the corryvreckan (a 4-piece of which may be a special order item)? Looking at class 3 and below, buffalo river AR later this spring as first big trip short class 3 during high-water. Flatwater and class 2 at most before that to practice.

    1. Welcome RB.

      I wouldn’t recommend increasing blade size unless you’re already a strong paddler. I don’t think most people (myself included) have the strength/endurance to use a Corryvrecken in a packraft.

      Length is a tougher one. (I’m 5’11”, for reference.) My sense is 210cm will probably be fine, unless you have really long torso. 210 seems to have become the standard compromise length, and I know tall folks like you who use 200s for whitewater without an issue.

      1. Thanks, 210cm Shuna it is. Despite being taller I really doubt I am a stronger paddler than you are.

  3. […] favorite piece ever?  Darn close, certainly.  In the first year, as wear marks accumulated on the blade edges, I assumed the […]

  4. […] in this tarp, with the wall end fortunately facing dead west.  That end was propped up by my Shuna, with the ridgeline supported by a single MSR Cyclone, and the corners by MSR Groundhogs.  These […]

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