Grip and blade on ZRE straight
Posted by: Glenn_MacGrady on Dec-16-12 7:13 PM (EST)
I've gotten some private questions on this, so let me talk about what I call the two idiosyncrasies of a ZRE straight paddle.
First, ZRE used to have symmetrical grips but now they put their asymmetrical bent shaft grip on the straight blades. I guess I lucked out because Bob Zaveral had a Barton Paddles symmetrical carbon fiber grip, which he had acquired when Bruce Barton went out of business years ago. Maybe I got the last one. It's beautiful, sexy, strokable, palm rollable, and I have it.
I know several paddlers who paddle and palm roll ZRE straights even with the asymmetrical grips, including TommyC1, Yanoer, Turtle and Harold Deal. But I would guess they all quickly flip the blade to the preferred grip position once they are finished with their orgy of palm rolling. I don't have to do that.
The second idiosyncrasy is that ZRE straight shaft blades are not centered on the shaft, unless you can find a much older model such as the one TC1 has. Now, the blade is flush with the shaft on one face, but indented from the shaft about 3/8" on the other face. This evidently is an artifact of the straightening process.
This offset blade raises the question of which face should be the power face if you are using an asymmetrical grip. After a season of use I find the face differences subtle, but I very slightly favor the indented face as the power face. The indented face aligns better for me on the catch, and it also produces very slightly less flutter. Let me quickly add, however, that flutter is not an issue with either face during real world paddling. Only during experiments where I try to create it.
In any event, if someone were to buy a ZRE straight with an asymmetrical grip, I would advise setting it up so the indented face is the power face. Actually, the best would be to buy the paddle with the grip unattached and do your own experiments.