An outrigger single-bladed paddle is called Bugsay (Bugsai or Busai) and there are at least four types that are prominently identified with its handle design. The T-handle is the most common, second is the inverted triangle (palm grip), third is the rounded, and the most rare is the diamond. Each paddle is custom-made to an individual using Anthropomorphic unit of measurement.


A average Filipino paddle is 1.20 meters (4 feet) high, measured from the paddler’s heel up to the armpit. The shaft is an arm’s length at 0.65 meter (25 1/2 inches), leaving the remaining dimension for the blade’s height. The blade’s width is the same as hand’s span (dangkal) at 0.23 meter (9 inches), measured from the tip of the thumb up to the tip of the little finger. The width of the T-handle is the same as the palm’s breadth at 0.10 meter (4 inches). Lastly, the round perimeter of the shaft should provide the paddler a good grip, that makes the tip of the middle finger touch the palm.

I built a paddle made of surplus wooden strips from my previous boat builds. The light colored wood is Gmelina, the red stripe of the shaft is Mahohany, and the reddish brown stripe of the blade and T-handle is red Lauan. The wood are laminated and encapsulated by epoxy.