About Celtic Paddles

Lendal Paddle's history began in the 1960’s when a young Alistair Wilson started paddling competitively. As a result, he began designing and building his own racing paddles – out of wood. After competing in the 1964 and 1968 Olympics, Alistair and his wife Marianne Tucker, also a two-time Olympian, established a company: Lendal, named after his family’s vacation cottage in Lendalfoot, Scotland. During the early years, Alistair and Marianne developed many firsts for the paddlesports industry, like fiberglass and composite shafts, including indexing and Lendal’s unique modified crank shaft. With their extensive competitive racing history, the Wilson/Tucker Lendal brought us their remarkably powerful spoon-shaped blades that remain wildly effective today in the Celtic Kinetic series. Many of us remember the Powermaster, Nordkapp and Archipelago blades. Lucky for our wrists and shoulders, most of us have moved well past the too-long shaft lengths popular a few decades ago. We all still appreciate Alistair’s locking and durable Paddlok™ joint, ridding us of loose fitting two-piece paddles.

In Y 2006 Lendal and all its Wilson/Tucker designed manufacturing machinery was sold and moved to Johnson Outdoors and set up at Johnson’s Old Town, Maine USA factory. In just a few years, Johnson Outdoors' interest in building composite kayaks and paddles with complex, modern materials and processes waned. Johnson reached out to Nigel Dennis and his Sea Kayaking UK business. SKUK purchased all of Lendal, its trademarks, all designs, product, machinery, rights and interests… and the whole package moved back across the Atlantic to Holyhead, Anglesey, North Wales to the same factory where Nigel Dennis builds his NDK Kayaks.

Nigel demonstrating a low brace.

During this return to its British roots, Nigel, as SKUK, attempted to enter into a clamshell paddle construction agreement with a Rochester, NY couple, Cathy and Duffy. They were to develop a clamshell-type paddle for Lendal, while Nigel et al would continue to develop and manufacture Lendal’s premium pressed blades as originally developed by Alistair and Marianne. After a spell of attempting to work together, any hope of a formal partnership failed to work out. Despite SKUK’s total and sole 100% ownership of Lendal, this conflict caused SKUK to put aside having a clamshell paddle. SKUK, through its Lendal ownership, continued to make and market press-bladed Lendal paddles. Duffy and Cathy chose to continue developing their clamshell, but unfortunately branded their upstart new paddle business, Lendal NA, trading on the name and rights belonging to SKUK. Without resolving this misuse of the Lendal name, Nigel Dennis and SKUK decided to rename, rebranding their Lendal Paddle line as Celtic Paddles - as it remains today: Alistair and Marianne’s original Lendal designs being made and distributed as Celtic Paddles. Oh well… British versus USA ways of doing business… So Celtic Paddles of Holyhead, North Wales continues onward, developing and improving the designs, manufacturing, materials and worldwide distribution of its Lendal-based Celtic Paddles.


 

Made in Wales, Paddled the World Over

Celtic Paddles are part of Sea Kayaking UK (SKUK), home of Nigel Dennis Kayaks. Celtic Paddle blades are made in house at the SKUK factory in Holyhead, Anglesey, Wales.

Celtic Paddles are the original Lendal Paddles, as designed by Alastair and Marianne Wilson.

Nigel inspects paddle blanks at the factory