Submitted: 06-23-2008 by kocho
I have an AT Xception SL in what I think may be the oversize OS model, one generation before the current model. Why "may be OS" because it looks bigger than the current non-OS and I have similar or may be a little smaller than the current OS model.
I am 6'4" and paddle the 220cm model, which I think is just about right if not a little too long for me in a 24 or 22" ocean kayak. With this paddle I suddenly could go 30% farther in the same time and with much less effort compared to the heavier and more powerful 220 cm Powerflex paddle I was using before.
In a summary, for me the *unique* ergonomic handle, the clean water entry/exit, and the light weight were all factors that added-up to make me chose this over a Lendal paddle (Kinetic Touring or Nordkapp). Keep in mind this is personal preference for longer paddling sessions for some the Lendal might be better I liked it a lot as well and I could use that as well without complaints!
Ive briefly demoed a bunch of other paddles the top end Bending Branches, Werner Corryvrecken, and some other paddles (Cannon, Powerflex) and this AT paddle seems to be in its total performance the best fit for my 2-3 hour active paddling sessions. I like the shaft so much that my white water paddle is now also an AT4 paddle.
What I like.
- Very nice angle on the handle bends excellent oval shape for a comfortable grip. The inner bent section is long and allows repositioning of the hands within a good range so I can move my hands in and out and still be on the bend. The transition b/w straight and bent pieces is smooth and does not intrude in the grip - almost unnoticeable. The outer bend is actually not as much a bend but it brings the paddle shaft back to straight this I find extremely nice in hard paddling with my hands way wide, I grip towards the end of the outer bend or even outside of it and the paddle behaves like a straight shaft there with some other models (Lendal or Werner for instance) their outside bends are sharp and angled in such a way that they angle away from the paddler making the grip in this area uncomfortable and thus locking you to use only the inner grip area.
- Light and low swing weight.
- Very clean entry and exit from the water. Cleaner compared to Lendal Kinetic S or Nordkapp blades that I had a chance to compare to.
- Low flutter
- Very buoyant helps with keeping balance at reentries or for rolling and during normal paddling too.
- Nice flex during forward stroke, not too much not too little.
- Plenty of power comparable to Lendal Kinetic S, less than Lendal Nordkapp
Not so good:
- Fixed 60 degree angle only. Works well for me, but adjustable ferule would have been nice to have. Some models in the line-up have it, so it is not really an issue just keep in mind when choosing one.
- Expensive new these things are a lot of $$$, but so are the other top paddles
- The shaft joint is loose on mine, but I got it used and I am not sure how much abuse it has seen from its previous owners. Chances are they did not care much for it as it had lots of chipped areas from hitting stones and had a 4 crack on one blade (which I seem to have successfully repaired with epoxy).
- The shaft can be a little thicker my fingers are on the long side and would like that (should be fine for the average hand though).
- As with all carbon blades, this one is not the best tool for hitting rocks with all your might not a paddle issue, just compared to plastic paddles this one is more brittle