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In the past I have used the "kit" paddles that came with my Sea Eagle 330, a higher end paddle my friend owned (the manufacturer eludes both him and myself), and my Pacific T-1. In any comparisons, my T-1 wins hands down. Between the stylish looks, well thought out design, quality construction, and durability I can't imagine getting another paddle.
The first thing that impressed me with this paddle is that instead of a 4-piece design it is only 3. The backing on the blades not only looks cool to me, but gives the blade more durability (to me) as well as piece of mind that it can hold up to anything I can throw at it. I like the blade sections being sealed, and the flushed connector buttons saved some wear on my hands.
Any contact with Pacific was personalized, friendly, and their shipping speed cannot be beat. Both paddles I ordered only took two days to go from the manufacturer to my house in Iowa. While I've only been paddling for not quite a year now, I would recommend any paddle from Pacific to anyone looking for a light weight, durable, well designed, and affordable paddle.
I fish out of a SOT in the back country, bays and shallow flats. I encounter oyster bars, rocks, trees & some nasty pilings. Aside from light weight, I need a paddle that's tough and that I'm not afraid to ding. Well, this paddle fills the bill all the way around.
I have traded off paddles with my cousin when she was in the market for a new paddle. She much preferred my T-1 to a $300 Werner she had been testing. The only paddle she could find that she liked more than my T-1 was the $500 paddle she eventually bought. Now she's happy and so am I because I get my T-1 back for ME to use!
I ordered mine feathered with extra holes on both ends so I can adjust it from 245 down to a little over 230, and with directions from Steve, I also drilled extra ones so I can set it straight when I feel the need, but still have the adjustable length.
Overall, I really like this paddle. It's solid, very light and tough as nails. If you're looking for high style (like my cousin was for her touring kayak), then spend $400-$500 on a fancy high-tech paddle. If you're wanting to save hundreds of dollars & have a paddle that will do the same things, but that you don't have to baby, then buy a Pacific Designs. I'm very happy with my purchase. At some point in the future, if I have lots of unsued cash around (not likely), I may buy a high-tech paddle, but I'll always keep my T-1 around for the tough times.
The Good - The paddle is fairly light and with synthetic cork handlebar tape, it is comfortable to use. It is three pieces, so it can be tucked away easily.
The Not So Good - It isn't very strong, so you need to be careful with it. The lock buttons can be lost easily - they are not captured in the paddle shaft very well...this could really be a problem. The blade shape is not too sophisticated and it is nearly impossible to paddle cleanly with this paddle - you will be pulling air under with most strokes and making a bunch of noise. The paddle doesn't have much catch, so aggressive paddling gets really sloppy and wastes a lot of energy. It isn't good enough to accept its weaknesses, nor strong enough for going where it get rough.
Steve tries hard to please with this paddle, but I just don't think it is worth it.
It is very tight (no wobble) and durable. The blade material is hard to scratch or damage unlike most paddles, and the blades are solid on the shaft. After a year it looks like new.
This paddle is a great value no matter how you slice it and anyone who spends more money on a paddle is doing it for appearances. The more I use it the more I like it. Give it a chance!
I can't recommend the paddle highly enough. I gave it a nine, because I notice slight wobble when I accelerate rapidly in a largish boat. The light weight is wonderful. If you're one of those folks who have concerns about the weight of your paddle and aren't going into whitewater as a destination of your paddling, get a Pacific Designs paddle. You'll be glad you did.
Run, do not walk to your nearest telephone or PC and place your order, you will not be sorry. I do not have any affiliation, I live in Massachusetts and found Pacific Designs through www.paddling.net.
I had been using a wooden double paddle prior to buying the Pacific Designs paddles.
For anyone checking out Steve's stuff, I will report as this paddle bounces down rivers, and tours with my friends. I can tell you that my 50 lb, 8 year old daughter was able to keep up on her first kayak trip (EVER) and she was in a little pond kayak.
120,000+ people can't be wrong!
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