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Reviews for Zavarel Racing Equipment Paddles


Rated: 9.86/10 Based On: 14 Reviews

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08-27-2014
Submitted by: JimSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I own three ZRE paddles, and all of them are simply amazing. One word of caution: if you paddle with one you will end up buying one; there is just no going back to a lesser paddle once you have tried a ZRE. In fact, I truly believe that it makes the most sense to buy nice paddles before buying a nice canoe. I'd rather paddle a bathtub with a ZRE than a Kevlar cruiser with a bad paddle.
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11-04-2013
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Light, strong, durable, endurance enhancing; hands down there is no better investment you can make if you like paddling than by investing in a ZRE Power Surge paddle.

I have a Power Surge Light and a Power Surge Medium and they are both in the 8-9 ounce range. If you are moving into this weight range of a paddle for the first time, you will notice an immediate ability to increase your cadence while at the same time reducing fatigue and hugely increasing stamina. Think doubling your mileage with no, or only a tiny fraction of the shoulder pain or stiffness- my experience was to go from 10-15 miles/day using a 21 oz Peter Puddicombe Bent Shaft (beautiful paddle) with shoulder pain while camping, to 20-28 miles/day with little or no discomfort sleeping on the ground- one trip for 12 days straight. And that is with little to no pre-trip training. The paddle slides in and out of the water smoothly and silently, lifting nearly zero water upon exiting. Retaining your strength and comfort allows you to paddle a cleaner stroke, with better technique and less need for concentration.

2 years of both fresh and saltwater use in rivers, the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico, through the mangroves and backcountry Everglades and the paddle never ceases to amaze. I have no affiliation with ZRE, yet I honestly and enthusiastically believe you can do no better than to start swinging a ZRE paddle.

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08-07-2013
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have 3 Zav bent-shaft paddles and they are incredible. They are light and strong and comfortable for puttering around or really hauling for extended periods for racing. Although the bent shaft is best suited for flat water speed, I use them for downriver racing which is mixed flat and class 2 and 3 whitewater.
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10-26-2012
Submitted by: MarcusSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I own 3 ZRE paddles:
-Black rec with the carbon grip (12oz)
-White Water (11oz)
-Power Surge Light (8.5 oz)

All are great paddles. I have nothing bad to say about any of them. My favorite is the Power Surge, for a couple reasons. First, its the lightest. I bought the WW and Rec first. I didnt think that 2.5-3.5 oz would make a difference but it does BIG time. You really notice it on the recovery and switching sides during high cadence paddling (like during a race or just paddling hard). I like the entry with the power surge blade. I cant exactly describe it but it feels just slightly different than ZRE's regular blade. I like it slightly more.

Also, I like that the Power Surge line offers a skinnier blade. I found I like a shorter/skinnier blade which the PS series offers. My shoulders get sore from hard paddling but a skinnier blade limits the amount of force that the paddle can generate. Some people talk about a small blade "slipping" in the water but I have never experienced that, and I'm a strong, athletic, guy in my mid 20's. I have an 8" wide one currently but when I order a new one in a couple years Ill go for a 7.75". Also, I recommend a skinny blade because if you need to go faster the correct way to increase your speed is to increase your cadence with shorter, less powerful strokes. Adding more power to a long stroke just wears you out faster.

The black rec and WW are great paddles too. If you just want a light paddle for a good price go with the Black Rec, carbon grip, factory second (10% off with minimal cosmetic blemishes). That will run you about $210 shipped for a 12oz paddle. Very worth it IMO.

The White water is another $50 for 1oz less. Probably not worth it for most people. Go for the black rec or shell out the big bucks for a light.

I've used one of the 3 for around 200 hours this summer and they show only minimal wear. They take quite a beating. Ive only seen one break. It was during a river race and the guy planted it HARD square on a submerged rock near shore. The shaft broke where the shaft meets the blade. But on the plus side ZRE sells the grip, shaft, or blade alone so you can fix your paddle for half the cost of new. I've heard (second hand) from other racers that you need to be careful with Ultra Light ZRE paddles, but that's the price you pay for a 7oz paddle!

I'm 6'1" and use a 48" in racing canoes (pro boats) or other really low boats. I use a 51" in my solo or in higher/rec/touring canoes like a MNII or aluminum boat. If you are unsure what length to get you can order an un-cut shaft and un-glued grip. Tape the grip on, then paddle with it. If its too long cut off an inch and repeat until it feels right. When you're happy glue in the handle with almost any epoxy. You can put your request in the "Commpents" section of your order or call ZRE directly to place your order. I talked with him (Bob?) when trying to decide which paddle to buy and he was very helpful.

To conclude, if you want to compete, ZRE paddles are THE way to go. Conversely, if you just paddle recreationally and want to spoil yourself the Black Rec is totally worth the money. After casually paddling with my ZRE then switching to a Wenonah Quetico paddle (a nice paddle in its own right) the Wenonah feels like a brick compared to the ZRE. As a Bonus you're supporting a small business here in the USA too!

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01-27-2012
Submitted by:
Rating: 10 of 10

     If you look at these reviews you will notice that the ratings are extremely high and none are low. There is a reason for this, Zaveral makes THE BEST paddles. The Power Serge is named after Serge Corbin, a legend as is the paddle!
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04-24-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have been using Zavarel paddles (my favorite is the light weight power surge) for the past 7 years and wouldn't change to anything else. They are light and strong with a smooth entry into and out of the water.
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07-06-2007
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I purchased a Zaveral Black Rec bentshaft paddle and love it. It is all of 14 oz. The blade and shaft are constructed of carbon, while the handle is made of plastic. The angle of the bentshaft is 12 degrees. This paddle feels featherlite and holds up well to the elements. A basic run of the mill livery paddle will seem like a two by four when compared to the Zav Black Rec. Buy a blemished factory second a save 10%, too. I rate the Black Rec as a 9, because there are lighter Zaverals.
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06-13-2006
Submitted by: TimSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     The Black Rec is wonderfully light even though it is "heavy" compared to other paddles ZRE makes. The blade doesn't just go in cleanly, it kisses the water. It is an incredible paddle. I love wood but now only for a spare paddle. I bought one for my wife, too, she deserves the best even though she ended up with me! Get yourself a Black Rec. You won't regret it.
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02-22-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I've used Zaveral paddles for over 15 years. They simply are the best. I use the lightweight paddles, and find them quite durable considering the hours and force they endure. Zaveral's middleweight paddle is a super durable paddle at an incredible light weight. I often have joked that I could shovel gravel in the front yard and still use the mid-weight paddle on the river. Although I'm sure they don't recommend this, they are about that tough. For the money, it is a GREAT paddle.
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06-05-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I recently bought my first tandem canoe and figured that I should buy good paddles. I have a bending branches bent shaft that I used with a solo and with rentals. I can't tell you how much better I like the Rec version of ZRE paddle. It is light, comfortable and tough. My daughter and I just got back from a canoe marathon.....first outing for the new boat and paddles....and the river was very low and rocky. The dealer told me that it would be more durable than a wood paddle so I did not baby it at all. Other than a few scratches, it looked pretty much like when we started.
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02-01-2005
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I tried a Zaveral for the first time in summer '03 (thanks McWood) and thought there was no way a paddle that feels like a wiffle ball bat could stand up to the paddling I do. It felt so good in my hands, though, that I soon bought a "Blem" Rec model to use on flat, deep water paddling. I found the more I used the paddle, the harder it was to put down! I also soon found that, contrary to popular belief, J-strokes and river paddling with a bent shaft are not only possible, but easily mastered with this paddle. Also this paddle, while ultra-light, does NOT have to be "Babied." When I forgot my heavy, wide paddle for the upper Buffalo last spring(class I-II and very rocky run), I went ahead and tentatively used this paddle since it had more "Bite" than the others I had with me. The more rocks I "Banged," the more impressed I was with this little paddle. After that, I no longer hesitated to use it in shallow, rocky water, and on our twisty, boney Ozark rivers. I now have two "Blem" Zaveral Rec paddles, and feel the only way to improve a Zaveral would be to lower the price! This is the first time I've rated any product a "10," but then, I've never owned a product more deserving of such a rating.
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10-16-2004
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     I am using a Zaverel Black Recreational Paddle. This is the low end of their line but is an exceptional paddle. I paddle calm waters with sand/mud bottoms so I don't worry too much about blade durability. The blade shape is very effective and I think the shoulder does aid in entry and exit as advertised. The Rec paddle has a plastic grip that is just sort of "there". It's certainly large enough but doesn't feel very interesting in the hand. The shaft gets thicker towards the bottom and to me is a little large but I have small fingers. It's a very enjoyable paddle but I will soon be getting rid of it... to buy another, lighter Zaverel!
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03-24-2003
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     Have been using a new ZAV bent shaft power surge for about a month, and it has quickly become my favorite. The paddle is quiet and the light weight allows a sustained fast cadence. I plan on ordering a back up as soon as I win the lottery - the expense is the only downside for this paddle.
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01-14-2003
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have several different types of Zaverel racing paddles and find them all excellent. I recommend getting the model of your choice in medium weight and about 8.5 inch width for most recreational paddling. Or talking to Zaveral about your specfic needs as they are very helpful.

Zaverel makes several different types of paddles. Each model can come in different weights, blade widths, and shaft lengths depending on needs, and your body size.

While the paddles are made for racing I use mine for casual paddling and find them great. They work well and are reliable with care but are much more fragile than a mohawk plastic paddle, but make up for the inconvienece with a much more plasurable paddle. If it looks like I am going to need a more heavy duty paddle that can take some abuse I bring an extra paddle along, but use this while I can. They are not for prying your way upstream or paddling in shallow water with sharp rocks.

I have let others use the Zaverals (and give a few a way as gifts) and find people have overwhelming satisfaction with them. Some people cannot imagine the nice feel of the paddle and their light weight. Even people who don't like paddling will appreciate the experience more.

The price is high (but not considering the craftsmanship) but will be more than made up for in pure pleasure. When I cannot bring my own canoe I bring my paddles and find even the worst canoes are more fun to paddle with light paddles. Zaveral will also sell blems for a slight reduction in price.

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