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Bracing and rolling are straightforward. The paddle does its job fluently with no extra attention required. There is a fair bit of flex, which I like and that makes the Novorca feel more like wooden paddle than, say, a NL or Superior CF paddle.
I had a Northern Lights CF paddle: gave it away; ditto but for selling my Superior...
Put simply, the Novorca is akin to a carbon fiber Lumpy sans Bill's highly personalized carving. In my mind, the two paddles are like having two dogs--inseparable, but each with their own charm.
My experience with Novarca customer service has been great. Ron and Dannette are quality people trying to run a business that is technically very demanding. They've just revamped their paddle making process including QC, which best as I can tell is the reason for the slowdown that folks mention. I've found them to be easy and delightful to communicate with. I was patient with them and they were patient and friendly with me: no problems.
And did I say that the paddle is fabulous...
My own recent experience was quite positive. I ordered my paddle in March and received it a few days ago, 3-4 weeks after the initial projected ship date. Communicating with Ron was a bit frustrating, and I at times had to place a couple of calls (email worked even less well) to get a response. When we did talk, he spent a lot of time with me, answering questions and explaining processes. I'd been paddling my own hand-built 84" paddles, but he suggested I try the new 86" paddles - and it was the right decision.
My billing issues were the opposite of Alan's. Ron was going to bill my credit card one-half of the total cost at the time I placed the order. When shipping time came, we discovered that he hadn't. No problem.I think the basic issue is that Ron has been swamped with orders in the last year. He's completely revamped his production processes, but the customer service interface needs to be more efficient.
The paddle itself is great. The packing it came in was bombproof, and the paddle was so pretty that I gasped a bit when I pulled it out of the box. The blade edges are a little sharp compared to my wood paddles. That probably makes for better hydrodynamics, but a bit of tenderness when in extended positions. I prefer the feel of wood on my hands, at least at this point, but the Novorca actually sits better in my hands. I did about 12 miles two days ago, alternating the old and the new, but when I did 20 miles yesterday, it with the Novorca blade for all but 10 minutes. It's a great paddle.
I rarely bother to give reviews, but it seems warranted to warn other customers they should not give their money up front, or to use a payment service that will automatically refund you in a couple days so you don't have to go through the hassle I just did.
Sorry to report this. I bet his paddles were good and I was looking forward to having one.
I cannot yet evaluate my new paddle's durability but it gives every appearance of toughness so far. It is unquestionably light despite the fact that I elected to order a two-piece model. The blades are thinner with finer edges than I think is possible in wood. My stroke is more efficient now. The blade enters the water more easily and sheds less when I lift it from the water.
The seam in the loom is tightened to rigidity by turning the locking button 90 degrees with an Allen wrench. This expands an internal cam within the joint.
My new Novorca CF paddle exceeds every functional goal I had for it. But it completely surprised me with a feature I hadn't anticipated; it is comfortable to hold. No, not comfortable. It is COMFORTABLE. This kind of comfort cannot be measured. It is an intangible which defies measurement. But when I first held and used my paddle, I fell in love. I am ruined for any other paddle.
Functionality is one thing and it is the only thing that concerned me when I ordered my paddle. But Novorca paddles are not only functional, they are art. Mine is beautiful. The color I chose was ivory. Ron didn't just make it ivory. He created an ivory scrimshaw effect with an engraving of a kayak hunter approaching a walrus. My paddle is perfect and Ron was superb. He patiently held my hand through conception and design and was available when I called to discuss construction and the art. Lastly, Ron Steinwall doesn't do anything half way. The packaging my paddle arrived in perfectly protected the paddle and was sturdy enough to ship crystal.
When I opened the package, I was amazed at how light the paddle was. At 23 ounces, it is 9 ounces lighter than my cedar paddle. The paddle and norsaq are a subdued red, almost a wine color. They are colorful without being gaudy.
I used the paddle for the first time on my trip. I paddled part of the west side of Vancouver Island; between San Josef Bay and the south side of the Brooks Peninsula (and back). The paddle was a delight to use due to its light weight and its feel. It has a perfect amount of friction for a bare hand. It has sharper edges than my cedar paddle, so it enters the water with less resistance.
On the second day of my trip, I paddled around the Brooks Peninsula. I was able to sail from Solander Island to Clerke Pt. I was glad to have a carbon fiber paddle because I put considerable force on it, both as an extended outrigger, and as a high angle stern rudder. I would have been worried about breakage if I had been using my cedar paddle.
Since I returned from my trip, I have had three rolling sessions with the paddle and norsaq. They have finer edges than my cedar counterparts; thus they move through the water easier. Whereas I had trouble before with Aariammillugu, now I can do three in a row. The sculling rolls are also easier; before I could not do Masikkut Aalatsineq; but now I can. The two forward finishing norsaq rolls are not reliable with my cedar norsaq, but they are with my Novorca norsaq.
In summary, I am very satisfied with my Novorca paddle and norsaq. I wish I had bought them years ago!
I made two purchases this summer: One was a small 82 inch foam core carbon fiber in gold-orange (it is visible but looks almost like wood and is a nice match for my mango Romany). This is a paddle you can see from a distance on Lake Superior. As a small woman, I found it difficult to get a very fast cadence or as much rotation with a long paddle. This beauty is strong and incredibly light ad very effective for paddling and for rolling. Ron customized it for me so that the loom and size fit me perfectly.
I also purchased a storm paddle as a spare that fits well on my deck. If I were to lose a paddle, it would be easy to reach ad fully assembled. It works nicely for a sliding stroke. This one is in a glittery green. Both paddles are light and well made. Because they are custom sized for my small size and small hands , they fit me extremely well. They are quite strong, but do not feel excessively stiff. Some people have expressed concern that they might be slippery – this has not been a problem for me. They are also gorgeous. Ron is an artist with close attention to detail and he stands behind is work.
I have paddled with other Greenland paddles. Some felt too stiff for me, others were not the right size for me – too long, did not fit my hands, etc. Ron customizes his paddles so that anyone can get the size they need. These are not only highly effective paddles, they are one of a kind works of art.
The Novorca is wonderful to paddle with. My wife wanted to hang it on the wall because it looked so beautiful, but that is not to be...
Carbon is the base element, the building block of our world and of the best paddles. They are light, they are incredibly strong, and they flex like any other natural substance. Ron's construction is not like any other paddle I know off, these are engineered master pieces using the same construction techniques used in both racing cars and planes, the custom crafted foam core providing strength and load distribution in ways unique to the Novorca paddles. Having perfected the process of construction Ron has subsequently perfected the art of coloring, allowing you choose unique, artistic colors and patterns. Whatever you desire Ron will attempt to create.
I am lucky enough to have a couple of early prototypes of other advances Ron has been working on; crafting a unique approach to multi-part paddles enabling them to be taken on a plane, using a masterful locking design which he is planning to patent. And my favorite Favorite Norsaq (rolling stick), fashioned out of carbon of course, I have 4 others, but the authentic design and finish of Ron's sets his apart.
If you want quality, craft and a functional work of art, Ron is your man, you won't go wrong, it's an investment you will be proud to paddle with. Oh and as a side note, they are fast, try paddling with one for 10 hours and you will be glad you chose such a lightweight efficient design.
The paddle is plenty stiff but yet flexes ever so slightly during powerful strokes. Having several cedar paddles this feels quite natural for me. The blades are comfortable in the hands as well as the loom. I ordered the shouldered model with rectangular cross section which feels very secure and the indexing is instant no matter what's going on. The paddle is quiet and glides through the water like butter. It's very efficient and very light. Those twenty mile trips should be even more fun. Ron's attention to detail is top notch and he is very easy to work with. He is willing to go the extra mile to make the customer happy without fuss. The paddle was also delivered earlier than expected. I added a splash of color which makes the black carbon even more attractive. Ron seems willing to make each paddle unique without extra charge.
Every where I go my paddle gets compliments and now we have placed another order for my wife. If you want a functional work of art at a reasonable price give Ron Steinwall at Novorca a call. I'm very pleased with mine.
Now don't think that these are just pretty paddles because while they are beautiful they are also amazing to use. Give Ron a call and get him started on one for yourself. You will not be disappointed in any way. Amazing products. Thanks Ron!!
I had read some of the complaints about various makes of carbon GP paddles making a scratching sound on a stroke (which I understand is due to bad stroke angle?)... Not being a proficient GP person I had also noticed this at times with my wood paddle, but this carbon GP seems to make less noise than my wood one... It seems very well dampened and even when I bump my boat it has a softer thud than I expected of carbon... I had read some reviews of carbons GP's making more of a high pitched ringing bump... This one is not really too much different than my wood paddle.
I had also read about slippery finishes, but I honestly have not had an issue with this one, of course I'm not rolling with mine, but I was kinda worried about it being overly slick... It is fine.
I will admit that I did put a few wraps of dental floss on the blade to serve as drip rings... The finish is so smooth the water quickly runs down the blade, faster than my wood GP... Not a deal breaker though..
I have done more in depth comparison of my wood GP edges and found that the carbons edges are more rounded than my wood paddle (maybe that helps reduce the scratching sound from my inept paddle style). I can also say I now see what people mean when they refer to the warmth of holding wood... There is a difference in the feel of wood vs. carbon and I can see where that comes from now, but I am making my carbon GP my primary paddle.
I wish I could give in depth analysis of it's rolling abilities, comparison to many other models etc, but I can't so here are the basics.
First off his customer service and quality expectations ARE TOP NOTCH. When I first inquired about delivery he gave me a date of about 2 weeks(pretty darn fast as it is). I placed an order 1 day later. A few day before delivery he emailed to let me know he was behind schedule by a whopping 3 days and would refund my shipping fee's (Very nice and I didn't even think 3 extra days was a big deal anyway).
Just before shipping he explained there was a small cosmetic blemish on the paddle finish. A small spot in the epoxy(turned out to be something I probably never would have noticed if he hadn't told me).
He said it did not affect the paddle durability, but as a perfectionist it drove him nuts. He gave me the option of waiting an extra few days to get it perfect or reduce the price $25 and sell it to me as a blemished model.( I figured it would not bother me so I said send it)..
Got it today and it is beautiful. The blemish(he called a fisheye/small miniature dimple in the epoxy finish from possible dust speck) was nothing at all..A very small surface dimple the size of a gnat..Talk about being a perfectionist, he cares about his product.
Back the the paddle. I got the basic 87 inch model with 20 inch loom. The epoxy finish is very nice/clean and even. the paddle looks great.
On my postal scale it weighed 1 lb 12 oz. My similar shaped 87 inch laminated red cedar GP weighed at 2 lb 2 oz. The shoulders are a bit more subtle/softer angle than my wood GP( I like the softer shoulder). The blade measurements are on his website if you want them.
I read some of the Superior Carbon GP reviews(which are also good)but noted that some mentioned sharp edges(don't know if that is still an issue). I was worried all carbons might have this same issue, but my GP is not at all too sharp. Very comfortable and almost the same edge as on my wood paddle. The tips are only a small smidge sharper than my wood paddle, but still comfortable to use extended. I did a simple flex comparison and the wood paddle is a small bit softer(as to be expected) but not by a lot.
Overall, I am very happy. Very impressed with Ron's personal quality expectations for his paddles and his technically not required refunds for being 3 days late and refund for small irrelevant epoxy finish problem.
I would happily buy again or suggest him to others.
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