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I have used the paddle everyday (see I am retired and fish every day) since and believe it is the best addition I have made, the paddle is GREAT! Even if it only lasted a season, it is money well spent, however it is more likely to last for sometime due to the fine workmanship. You can not go wrong with this paddle.
I got the small shaft because my hands are small. With cold weather gloves it feels like a normal shaft and my hands last longer than with a normal shaft plus gloves. Long length because I paddle a loon 138 which is a very wide boat. I keep it slightly feathered because that's my natural tendency in open water.
The only complaint is that the decals for the feathering adjustment came off at the end of one season. It's possible that hard use combined with sun, rain, and encounters with sand bars might have been a little much. I emailed Werner and they sent me new decals but in the end I decided to just scratch some adjusting markers into the shaft pieces.
Aside from that, it's really holding up. I've used it hard, two or three times a month and a couple long camping trips. Rivers, creeks, and lakes only. No whitewater.
I'll replace it with the same model if I lose it or break it but I hope it lasts. I finally got it looking just the way I want. Scratched up, nicks at the edges, permanent mud stains from the Wisconsin River. It's beautiful.
I feel it is a good buy for the price. It has the same features - adjustable paddle angles, etc.) as it's more expensive brothers. My uses for it is for a back paddle and a loaner paddle for guests that use one of our boats. I feel the blade material will actually be more durable than Werner's next price point, which is over double the price!
Very good buy for the money and good for many levels of paddle experience.
In use, I find the 230cm length is great for low angle paddling and the dihedral of the blade on the Skagit makes for smooth pulling action. The perfectly round shaft is OK for gripping but I do prefer the oval cross section shaft of the Mistral.
So now I use the Skagit as my emergency spare paddle and keep it on the foredeck of my boat. I plan to get a longer 240cm Skagit for my husband to use next summer when he gets a kayak. He also likes the 230cm, but thinks it is too short for him.
I recently bought a second kayak and wanted another paddle so that my family could take out both kayaks at the same time. I was so happy with the first I bought the current model which now has an index system so you can select various feather angles set at 15 degree increments. The joint on both are tight and no flexure in the joint or the paddle shaft or blade. Both are the same length 220mm (I am 6' tall). Besides the much improved feather indexing system I didn't see any changes in material or shape which I thought were always perfect for me. The handle is slightly oval...just enough to help you maintain a good grip and know where the paddle is oriented. The color of both the blade and handle is black. This color is OK but if given a choice a non black color on the handle might be preferable as when sitting out in the hot sun the black can get fairly hot. I sometimes will put it in the water to cool it down before starting to paddle.I also thought that a brightly colored paddle blade might be useful as an emergency safety "flag". I am thankful that they resisted going to an oversize blade. The blade enters the water cleanly and pulls straight without feeling you are dragging a huge "barn door" through the water like an oversized blade does.
I give the older model a 8 and the new one a 9 based on its excellent feather index system and it would have been a 10 if they had made the whole thing bright yellow or at least the blades. But I wanted this version and features so I decided I could accept the color.
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