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|Bending Branches in the Buyers' Guide:|
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The paddle is light, very good looking, and tough as nails. On a recent float, we had to break through thirty feet of ice to reach open water. The paddles handled the chore without a hitch.
I look forward to trying out a Black Pearl when my local vendors get some in. BB paddles are in the middle of the wide price range on paddles. I have found mine to be worth every penny.
The first problem is that the SHAFT ISN'T ROUND. I get that it's supposed to be a bent-shaft paddle, but the when you're going to rotate a feathered paddle back and forth in your hand a couple of thousand times during a paddle, you want the darn thing to be round, not a slightly rounded-off rectangle. It just doesn't make sense to have a non-round paddle cross-section.
Secondly, the circumference of the shaft is abnormally large, partially due to its' nearly square shape. The "Day" version of the paddle is advertised as "great for high angle, athletic paddle strokes." The size should just be sufficient to provide a little power when necessary, but the paddle blades flutter significantly, despite the fact that they're quite thick. When I was paddling hard with my NDK Explorer relatively lightly loaded I could feel the paddles flex. I'm touring, not racing, but when I want (or need) to really dig in and get the kayak moving fast, I want all that energy I'm expending transmitted to the water to move my kayak, and not getting eaten up in the paddle flexing.
On top of that, the paddle is just plain heavy, and the weight doesn't include the beefy drip rings. I'm not a big weight weenie, and my Klatwa Greenland paddle is just shy of 40 ozs, but it makes up for it in versatility.
Overall, this is a very disappointing paddle.
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