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Submitted: 09-30-2012 by SteveK
In the fall of 2011 I read about Nimbus' line of Inuit inspired narrow paddles and decided to have them make me one of their Mistral Paddles. I e-mailed back and forth with Dave, their fabricator, about options and decided to have him make me a yellow bladed 2-piece fiberglass paddle. As these are built to order, they are not cheap, but after using the paddle I would say it's definitely worth what I paid for it.
The long narrow blade is terrific for long distance, low angle style paddling. The blade has a modest dihedral and curve on the power face and seems extremely efficient and easy to pull.The whole paddle is lightweight and comfortable to hold, with an oval cross section where you hold onto the shaft. This makes it the most comfortable paddle I have ever had the pleasure of using.
The standard Nimbus ferrule is very basic, with a stainless steel spring loaded button on the right half and three holes in the other side. So the feathering choices are limited to zero feather or plus or minus 90¢ª. I'm not wild about using feathering anyway, but this is much less sophisticated than my Werner Skagit back up paddle features. With the narrow blade the Mistral¡¯s wind resistance does not seem bad even with zero feather. On my paddle, the spring on the lock button is a bit too strong, so it is harder to take down the paddle from its assembled form to two pieces for storage and transport. The finish on the edge of the blades was also not as smooth as the faces, and Nimbus could have sanded them with finer grits before shipping the paddle to me.
Overall, the Nimbus Mistral is a wonderful paddle, and I would not hesitate to get another of them if this one was somehow lost, stolen or broken. It truly is the best kayak paddle I have ever used.