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Submitted: 08-04-2011 by FixedGearFlyer
I'm returning to sea kayaking after a few years away and needed to restock my paddle quiver. I used to paddle with a 210cm carbon Lendal Nordkapp modified crank shaft one-piece as my primary paddle and the same thing in a two piece for my spare. As a result, I'm used to a high-angle, aggressive, fast cadence forward stroke. I'm on a bit of a budget, so I ordered the fiberglass blades with a carbon straight shaft. I also decided to purchase a slightly smaller blade than the Nordkapp equivalent (which would be the Corryveken or Ikelos) since I'm not as well conditioned as I was 5 years ago and, let's face it, I'm 5 years older.
Even with the fiberglass blades, the paddle is significantly lighter than the Nordkapp. Honestly, I never thought that the weight of the Nordkapp was a problem, nor did my paddling suffer from it. If anything, the extra heft gave me confidence in it's durability and reliability. So far, the Shuna has also proven durable, though I haven't abused it anywhere near as much as I did my Lendal.
The carbon shaft has just enough flex to be comfortable but not so much that it feels noodley or inefficient. The ovaling on both the left and right sides is subtle, but sufficient, and it's nice to have the feather indication on my non-control side for offside rolling. I miss the crank shaft and may upgrade next season, but the straight shaft hasn't posed any issues.
The blade is well made. It enters the water smoothly with a fairly clean entry. The pronounced spine on the backside does pull some air down with it, but it's not excessive. If I keep a loose grip on the shaft, I do notice some blade flutter when I'm paddling forcefully, so I've slightly increased my grip and tend to use a faster cadence rather than a more powerful stroke with this paddle. The blade has enough surface area for good acceleration and high cruising speeds, but if I sprint, paddle through surf, or do intervals, I can tell that there's less grip. That said, it's still a powerful paddle and is extremely comfortable for long distances at regular paddling speeds. I usually cruise around 4 to 4.25 miles per hour for full day paddles and the Shuna accommodates this well if I use a high cadence rather than a powerful stroke.
When rolling and bracing, the blade is perfectly sufficient. I have no issues with it's movement through the water when performing support or maneuvering strokes, and it links strokes smoothly.
Overall, I'm very happy with it's performance and quality.
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