Last summer, I said I would use my Cannon Wave paddles (two piece and four piece) in the winter and try to break or shatter their carbon/fibre shafts by putting them through their paces in sub-freezing temperatures. Well, I failed!
On several occasions, when temps were in the low 20s F. (circa -5 C.), I was out for hours at a time in Advanced Elements inflatables (whose air chambers help insulate the paddler against the cold), accelerating quickly, turning sharply, and generally stressing the paddles as best I could. Not only did they endure all this, but they were actually warm to hold with bare hands. What a change from composite shafts that splintered in the cold.
I reported these happy results to a paddle expert at MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-Op) who said the Cannon Wave carbon/fibre shaft paddle has become a best seller and a favourite in the local kayaking community. Its powerful blade and strong shaft join with its great swing weight and outstanding value (in the low hundreds, Canadian) to put it at the forefront.
Well, this fussy reviewer is now convinced: for the four piece, a rating of 9; for the two piece a rating of 10. Add in its value, this paddle rates a well-deserved and overall 10. Catch the "Wave," say I.This review applies to the Cannon "Wave" paddles, 230 cm, carbon/fibre shafts, two-piece and four-piece, tested by both myself (6'1" 225 lbs) and my son (6'3" 185 lbs) on our Advanced Elements Expeditions with BackBones. We routinely maintained a 5-6 mph pace, did rapid stops, carved power turns, and tried our best to break these paddles. I do winter kayaking in Canada and have shattered glass and composite shafts in sub-freezing temps - which has left me a bit frosty on the subject! My aluminum shaft paddles get pretty darned cold in such conditions, and the advice to wear heavier gloves is not all that helpful. So, here are the Cannon "Wave" paddles, which, I am assured, will survive cold conditions without shattering. We'll see. In the meantime, here is a preliminary report:
1) The "swing weight" of these paddles is close to perfection. Although these are not the lightest paddles out there (Accents, for example, are as much as ten ounces lighter), in use, these "Waves" feel so light and so want to dig into the water that they are like feathers - one could swing them all day without tiring, it would seem.
2) The two-piece is ever so slightly better than the four-piece for balance, smoothness, and its tiny bit lower weight. The four-piece is my choice for traveling, though - and the two-piece is for local waters.
3) Both of these paddles really "grip" the water and move it along better than other paddles I have tried. This yields more power. I have tried to flex the blades but cannot because they are so rigid and stiff, which helps their ability to move water.
4) Although the four-piece is not quite as close to perfection as the two-piece, I have not encountered another four-piece as easy to use as this one. Even many two-piece paddles I have used (with composite, glass shafts) feel "clunky" and awkward compared to this four-piece "Wave."
5) All large-bladed paddles I have used "wobble" a bit in the water when one barely grips their shafts. This is also true of the "Waves," and I do not know if this is an inherent problem with all paddles of this design.
6) Next spring, I will update this review, after seeing how the "Wave" paddles hold up in cold temps. In hockey, carbon shafts shatter impressively, compared to aluminum or wood - let's hope that does not happen with these paddles. If they survive my (largely unintended) abuse, I'll gladly rate them higher.