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Best Paddles for Distance flat water

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Created by maxmoore 28 days ago, 15 Nov 2019
maxmoore
8 posts
15 Nov 2019 1:44AM
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Hi

Can anybody share their opinion on the best paddles for distance racing from 16km to 70km races on flat water ( uk based )

I currently use a trifecta AC 96 , demoed the 86 and felt it lacked the power I like. The 96 is fine but it's been suggested that a smaller blade and lighter paddle may suit me better?

I am 6ft and 75 kg with a low cadence about 40/45 spm , more power than speed I suppose.

Been looking at the BP Hydro and blackfish VIENTO but not sure as hard to demo any. Did try the Quickblade uv88 and shaft was far to stiff , killed my shoulders, also tried the starboard Lima which I found again lacked something , didn't like it but think it was the 2018 model. Any suggestions would be great !

DaveSandan
VIC, 847 posts
15 Nov 2019 6:56AM
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I use the Ke Nalu Mana 90 great feel in the water and very light.

JEG
VIC, 1364 posts
15 Nov 2019 8:47AM
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imo any of those paddle below 82sq will be be nice.

colas
3526 posts
15 Nov 2019 2:41PM
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If you are in the UK I would suggest the Gong Pro 8", 450g for a 185cm one, and 170 GBP for a top quality 100% carbon paddle.
www.gong-galaxy.com/en/product/gong-paddle-carbon-pro-8/

Its shaft has for me just enough flex to be paddling hours without strain on the joints (it has a round shaft to provide more flex than an oval one), and the blade shape is very fluid so you do not waste energy with fancy gimmicks on the blade that create turbulences when pushing/pulling it into the water.

8" (100 sqin) can be better than 7" if you like power and paddle with a low frequency.
Although 7" will be lighter, and you may get used to it if you just learn to perfect your catch to anchor a bit more the blade before applying power... so both options are valid. I reckon most people of your weight prefer the 7", though.

This model was originally made only for surfing, with another model available for racing, but people found out they ended up using the surfing model in flat water too, so the race model was discontinued.

Disclaimer: I am a Gong ambassador.

pumpjockey02
260 posts
16 Nov 2019 2:32AM
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Can I suggest a quiver if you are racing that many km and training. I have four paddles, a JP surf full carbon it has like a square blade,
super light, a booth starboard composite fixed blade, my favourite, twice as heavy as the JP but more feel. Another carbon with slighter wider blade. Also I am about to get another fixed blade carbon with a similar profile to the booth.
Mixing up the paddles I find helps with muscle fatique and over use on one specific muscle placement. If your paddling those km's I would suggest three fixed shaft carbon/composite to full carbon paddles with slightly different blades.

Like Colas points out training this many km you need to be aware of muscle over use and try and find a paddle that suits your size, weight and body shape. Im 6ft too and large in the upper body. The booth is not super light but just feels better over longer distances. its also nicely priced.

maxmoore
8 posts
16 Nov 2019 2:39PM
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Thanks for the advice so far , still considering what to buy! I am definitely looking towards a smaller blade. Just dont want to get it the decision wrong! Thinking maybe a just went to large a blade with the uv-88 or if it was the stiffness of the shaft? Either way if was hard on the shoulders. Anyone on here tried the blackfish VIENTO?

I have been looking at the other paddles mentioned on here , just not sure !

colas
3526 posts
16 Nov 2019 3:04PM
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Select to expand quote
maxmoore said..
Thinking maybe a just went to large a blade with the uv-88 or if it was the stiffness of the shaft?


In my experience, the stiffness of the shaft is critical. I have used huge 10" wide heavy paddles without much trouble but another one with a stiffer shaft was destroying my arms and shoulders even with a much smaller blade.

maxmoore
8 posts
17 Nov 2019 1:34AM
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colas said..

maxmoore said..
Thinking maybe a just went to large a blade with the uv-88 or if it was the stiffness of the shaft?



In my experience, the stiffness of the shaft is critical. I have used huge 10" wide heavy paddles without much trouble but another one with a stiffer shaft was destroying my arms and shoulders even with a much smaller blade.


Cool well my instinct was the shaft was too stiff so can pretty much discount the qb uv then .... so just to find the right paddle now decided I shall try go 82sq or below as previously suggested. Although a big drop from the 96sq paddle I am used to. I actually really like the qb shaft used on tri ( tapered oval) just find it slippery when wet though , which is what drew my to the qb uv in the first place , just stupidly didn't realise how much stiffer it was until I started training with it !

stubear
30 posts
17 Nov 2019 7:08AM
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Hey guys, I've got a BP 88 with a stiff shaft - I'm 85kg and 6'4". I find this paddle is brilliant, a little on the stiff side but at 6'4" the medium shaft would have had too much flex. That being said, I paddle around 10kms a couple of times a week, for enjoyment and fitness, and I don't find it hurts my shoulders etc. It has great grab and hold through the water - no fluttering. I love it! Perhaps the size down and medium blade for yourself, or at least the 88 and medium blade.

DavidJohn
VIC, 16168 posts
18 Nov 2019 6:47AM
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stubear said..
Hey guys, I've got a BP 88 with a stiff shaft - I'm 85kg and 6'4". I find this paddle is brilliant, a little on the stiff side but at 6'4" the medium shaft would have had too much flex.

What's a BP?

colas
3526 posts
18 Nov 2019 2:37PM
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Black Project blackprojectsup.com/sup-paddles/hydro-sup-race-paddle/

maxmoore
8 posts
26 Nov 2019 4:55AM
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So I managed to test some of the paddles mentioned. Narrowed it down to 2 in the end. The Trifecta 86 again ! And the new blackfish Viento and i have decided to go for the viento.

I am no expert but it just felt good in that it was very light and although way smaller than my trifecta 96 I was just as fast with it averaging the same speed on a calm river. My cadence was pretty much the same as well so doesn't make much sense but there you go.

It has kind of the same outline as the trifecta ie high aspect but a more pronounced diahardral and pockets either side ( if that makes sense?) Maybe just gimmicks , anyway blade catches well and feels bigger than it is and catches earlier than my tri. Found it better going up wind for some reason and would say I had to concentrate on my technique more , as in making sure blade was buried each time or did make some untidy splash. Still I am hoping after more use I will improve on the techique and cadence of my stroke.

The shaft only comes in a round shape which is my only gripe but more grippy texture than my trifecta oval tapered , although I still much prefer the QB shaft .

Overall very happy though and cost me ?300 for a full carbon as opposed to ?440 Stirling for the trifecta 86 full carbon

I recommend the paddle anyway and believe lincoln Dewes is sponsored by blackfish and uses the same paddle .If that means anything to anyone ??

Area10
1432 posts
29 Nov 2019 8:58AM
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colas said..
If you are in the UK I would suggest the Gong Pro 8", 450g for a 185cm one, and 170 GBP for a top quality 100% carbon paddle.
www.gong-galaxy.com/en/product/gong-paddle-carbon-pro-8/

Its shaft has for me just enough flex to be paddling hours without strain on the joints (it has a round shaft to provide more flex than an oval one), and the blade shape is very fluid so you do not waste energy with fancy gimmicks on the blade that create turbulences when pushing/pulling it into the water.

8" (100 sqin) can be better than 7" if you like power and paddle with a low frequency.
Although 7" will be lighter, and you may get used to it if you just learn to perfect your catch to anchor a bit more the blade before applying power... so both options are valid. I reckon most people of your weight prefer the 7", though.

This model was originally made only for surfing, with another model available for racing, but people found out they ended up using the surfing model in flat water too, so the race model was discontinued.

Disclaimer: I am a Gong ambassador.


I have the Gong Carbon pro 7" and it is a remarkably good paddle for the cost. I do use it for flat water, but it's greatest strength is however downwinding. For reasons I don't fully understand - and probably not does anyone else - it manages to get you into bumps that other paddles (even the most expensive ones available) cannot, and does it without tiring you.

The handle is great too, kinda small like the QB v-drive etc. It helps the "flickability" in surf.

It's a shame that it doesn't come with an oval shaft. Indeed, I wouldn't mind if the shaft was a tiny bit narrower. And it is so light that I worry about durability. But for the money, it's a complete bargain. It might be the best performance-to-cost ratio paddle in the world IMO.

JEG
VIC, 1364 posts
29 Nov 2019 11:23AM
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thanks for the feedback colas & Area10
its about 356.358AUD at the moment plus shipping and I guess that's something to think about because currently at that price there are a few paddle options here in Australia.

paul.j
QLD, 2899 posts
29 Nov 2019 11:39AM
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Yeah if in Aus then some great paddles at nearly half the price of some others.

We have had our main paddle now for nearly two years and just can not see a reason to change it as it works so well.

I use it for all my racing and surfing and love it!!

www.oneoceansportsaustralia.com/shop/carbon-kevlar-paddle-elite

JEG
VIC, 1364 posts
29 Nov 2019 12:59PM
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paul.j said..
Yeah if in Aus then some great paddles at nearly half the price of some others.

We have had our main paddle now for nearly two years and just can not see a reason to change it as it works so well.

I use it for all my racing and surfing and love it!!

www.oneoceansportsaustralia.com/shop/carbon-kevlar-paddle-elite


also like that other paddle the XT - SUP & FOIL PADDLE

when you coming to Victoria paul.j it would be nice test out those goodies the 14ft, sup foil and paddles?

colas
3526 posts
29 Nov 2019 3:14PM
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Area10 said..
It's a shame that it doesn't come with an oval shaft. Indeed, I wouldn't mind if the shaft was a tiny bit narrower. And it is so light that I worry about durability.




Yes, I too was a bit disappointed by the round shaft, after using a lot the Kialoa paddles and early Gong models with an oval shaft, fearing that it would be less precise to control the blade, but you get quite used to it. And this round shaft seems to what can provide the needed flex to avoid being tired.

The durability is achieved by the feedback of users over the years: this model has been available for 6 years now, and although the blade design was so perfect that it did not need to evolve (something quite rare in the Gong production models :-) )(*), and killed most other models in the line, the weight has been progressively adjusted to reach a very good durability: it is now 15% heavier than 6 years ago (350g => 400g) , and I have not broken any of the 400g ones. (and I have broken quite a number of paddles)

But is it worth it shipping one around the globe? I would think that there are now plenty of excellent paddles available locally in OZ.

(*) well the handle was refined quite a bit over the years

Area10
1432 posts
29 Nov 2019 4:41PM
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Yes, the shipping probably kills the deal, but if you are very serious about downwinding, it might still be worth it, because it is noticeably better IMO than eg. the QB trifecta, v-drive, Black Project Surge, Kialoa paddles, and a bunch of others from Red Paddle, Starboard etc that I have.

It's funny, because Patrice won't have designed it with downwinding in mind, I'm sure (they don't have boards in their range that are specifically aimed at downwinding), so it's probably just a lucky coincidence. And I'm still not entirely sure why it works so well. My theory is that it is something to do with the combination of the low blade angle and degree of convexity. Quick catch, quick release, and a forgiving shaft for all those stop-start downwinding moments. But whatever it is, it gives a noticeable advantage, and if I was competing at DW I'd want that advantage. I'm particularly wondering whether it might be because of the way the blade exits the water - as you will know, the stroke for DW can be slightly different than for any other subdiscipline and if you don't get the blade out quickly and cleanly then you can lose a lot of momentum. But this is just a theory of mine. The truth is that I just don't know. But other people who have tried the paddle for DW have noticed its advantage too.

crazy, really: I'm using this paddle in preference to others I have that were literally over TWICE the price, for downwinding. It's pretty good for flat water too, although perhaps not quite as smooth as something like the Trifecta. and although the handle is a good all-round design, I strongly prefer t-handles for surf, which rules it out as the perfect surf paddle for me (although I have yet to discover the perfect surf paddle). So IMO it's a very good paddle for surf and flat water, on a par with other paddles that are much more expensive, but not necessarily the very best. But for downwinding it is something very special indeed, and it is a bit of a mystery as to why.
The other thing is that the English description of the paddle on the Gong website is hilarious. It is obviously a poor translation from the French, and it makes little sense. He might as well have explained that it works so well because it has a flux capacitor :)

colas
3526 posts
29 Nov 2019 5:57PM
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On the oval shaft, this is what Patrice said:

Regarding ovoid shafts: I love the grip. But I don't like their stiffness that is difficult to remediate to. It quickly becomes physical and painful in the long run. By reducing the diameter and tweaking the direction of the fibers we manage to work around this problem but it still remains.
So an oval shaft is a technical choice that I do not make currently.

Area10: I guess what you experienced is that, if you have a paddle blade hydrodynamic enough to enter and leave the water with minimal disturbance, it will work efficiently in all uses...

And yes, Patrice writing style in French can be a little emphatic at times, and it can read quite strange in English if translated literally :-)

Area10
1432 posts
29 Nov 2019 7:59PM
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Thanks for that, Colas. But the tapered oval shaft that Quickblade uses manages not to be too stiff. So it can be done. But, of course, at a price, and that's probably going to be a problem for a company like Gong.

Anyhow, it's a bloody good paddle, at an amazing price (if you are in Europe). And anyone who tries it downwinding will get a surprise.

As for the reason for that, here is what Gong says about it :)

"The Blade shape is quick, at rowing accelerartion and for surfing she cuts into the water perfectly due to her pointed convexed extrado. While paddling, the outline of the blade tip is powerful. The intrado is flat and slightly V'd which minimilizes water catch but the blade rocker is very kicked at the tip which in turn makes up for it".

The phrase "pointed convexed extrado" has taken over from the phrase "flux capacitor" for me, when wanting to to convey the meaning: "and then some magic happens" :)

But magic does happen, nevertheless, when downwinding. It "minimalizes" drag :)



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"Best Paddles for Distance flat water" started by maxmoore