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Submitted: 04-03-2013 by DB
This review is an update on the Gearlab Kuroshio paddle based on my experience with it since the review I wrote last year (see review DB from 7-15-2012). I had originally ordered the paddle because I was looking for a quality two-piece Greenland paddle to back up my self-carved wooden paddle as a deck-carried spare on long trips. I have done extensive paddling with the Kuroshio since then, and it has grown on me so much that I now turn to it as my first choice more often than my wooden paddle. In fact, I am getting ready to make some modifications to my wooden paddle to emulate the very refined tip shape and shoulder contours of the Kuroshio.
After some friendly and helpful email communication with the Gearlab staff, I even ordered a second Kuroshio when I heard that they had changed their joint design to eliminate the looseness I had pointed out in my first review. The new Kuroshio wide-loom option paddle uses what appears to be a pre-machined off-the-shelf carbon paddle ferule to achieve a precise joint with minimal angular play about equivalent to other two-piece paddles in the same price range. In addition, Gearlab adds their proprietary "T-joint" gizmo, which reduces rotational looseness to zero. The result is a paddle that feels as solid as a one-piece paddle in use, but that is very easy to slide together and take apart.
Joint play and the narrow diameter and circular cross section of the loom were my two biggest complaints in my previous review. The loom shape issue turned out to be more of a matter of me getting used to a paddle that felt different than what I had grown accustomed to. Over time, I have learned to appreciate the very well-shaped shoulders of the Kuroshio, which makes indexing easy and the grip position comfortable on long distance paddles.
The Kuroshio has become the favorite paddle in my quiver because of its strikingly low swing weight, its silent and dry entry and exit from the water, and its smooth, quiet sculling action.
I am also very impressed with its durability over time. I now have both the gloss white and carbon black versions. I initially wondered about the durability of the gloss white coating on the white paddle, but have found that over time and after the typical abrasion a paddle experiences on a self-contained week-long ocean expedition, that the white coating holds up remarkably well. There are a few scuffs and dull spots near the tip of the paddle as one might expect, but the paddle still appears shiny and new for the most part.
I noticed that another reviewer had concerns about the width of the loom portion of the paddle. On its website, Gearlab publishes very precise and accurate dimensions for every aspect of its paddles. Those looking for a wider loom should consider their wide-loom or WL versions of each of their paddles.
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