Submitted: 08-01-2011 by sitka
I would give this product an 11 if I could.
I am no fanatic. I paddle with euro blades, Greenland paddles and now this one, it is a completely different animal. The main differences between this paddle and the Greenland paddle is that the end, instead of squaring or rounding off at the widest point it comes to a blunt point and that one of the faces is flat rather than symmetrical. In fact, this blade is slightly concave creating a slight wing effect to the paddle making it FAST. However, the slight concavity does not make it difficult to scull with or alter the roll as wing paddles can do.
This carbon fiber paddle is very smooth with a great hand feel. The joint between the loom and the blades had a small seam but is still smooth and won't catch the hand or the glove. The finish isn't glossy, but instead is a nice matte which pleases my aesthetic sense.
The sections slide together smoothly, but tightly and, in a pinch, won't require the bolts to hold them together. The recesses in the blades to accommodate the bolt heads are also smooth and leave the heads flush with the surface and don't catch hands or gloves. The shoulders are hard, which I wasn't excited about. I thought that they would catch during sliding maneuvers. I mentioned this to Paul, but he was quite insistent, and rightly so, that this wasn't the case. One side of the blade is similar to the design of the Greenland paddle, the other is flat to slightly concave. this feels different in extended strokes and feels a bit wider but not uncomfortably so. perhaps that is due to the flat blade leaving the palm feeling empty. This paddle is stiff, so I didn't notice any loss of power due to flex. During extended paddle maneuvers this becomes much more noticeable as I've tried other paddles (both manufactured and homemade) that flex once in an extended position.
I was reluctant to try this paddle given how different it was and I was rather busy. Paul talked me into it and I'm glad he did! While I won't call Greenland paddles slow, they also aren't speedy. The Aleutian when tried side by side with the Greenland paddle was FAST! To say that I was surprised is an understatement. I also tried some sculling and rolling and the slight concavity makes these techniques almost too easy.
I now have one of these paddles and took it out to Deception Pass's Room of Doom, one of my favorite play spots. This spot has boat swallowing whirlpools and boils and swift currents. I took this paddle and the NLP Greenland paddle and tried these paddles side by side. While the Greenland paddle performed beautifully the Aleutian paddle was able to provide that extra bit of power when I needed it.
I know that Paul states that these paddles were designed primarily to facilitate travel, but I say that these are great primary paddles and I use them as such.