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I had just picked up a new Tiderace Xcite so was eager to take it out yesterday. I looked longingly at my Novorca Aleutian and then over at the NLP and decided to give it a try as it had been in my garage for several weeks unused since I bought it.
I was taken at once with the obvious differences - NLP matte vs Novorca shiny, NLP heavier than the Novorca (to be expected with a multi piece), and mostly a 3/75" wide blade on the NLP vs 3.25" on the Novorca. I was expecting a power difference between the two brands, and that is just what I found to be the case. The NLP gave me as much purchase as my Epic Wing paddle and once the power phase of the stroke started I felt the resistance. Wow. I really like it and as it was choppy out in Long Island Sound I enjoyed the extra purchase on the backs of the wind waves and swell to pop me over the next one. Sweet!
Let's just say though, it seemed as though my bad elbow was stressed more than with the Novorca - but in rough waters I would tend to lean towards the NLP for stronger braces and dynamic bow rudders. I will definitely choose the NLP when I go out to the tide races and do any surfing - but as to a point-to-point easy touring day, it would be a toss up.
The paddle is very easy to break down and put together. Very easy to pack away for travel. The paddle has a tight reassuring fit when assembled. Very solid feel. The screws on the shaft are recessed and out of the way.
The Aleut 3 Piece is really a 2-in-1 paddle. Greenland side feels very similar to a regular Greenland style paddle. Very smooth and quiet in and out of the water. Flip the paddle to the power side and it has a very unique feel to it. I call it the Greenland version of a wing paddle. The power side has a definite boost in power and speed. Very handy when you need the extra ump to bust through the chop. This is now my main touring paddle.
I am just an average roller at best. Rolling with this NLP Aleut paddle was not much different that a traditional wood greenland. The paddle just glides through the water. Has very nice lift to it on both sides. My father who had been an avid euro paddler for 12+ years was having a lot of issues with his shoulders after paddling. Never had any use for a regular Greenland paddle. He tried my Aleut during a local paddle one day. He did not give it back till about three months later; when he bought his own, after selling his beloved Onno euro. Since he has switched to the NLP Aleut paddle, his shoulders feel much better after a paddle. He has nearly cut out the pain meds he used to take with using his Euro. The Aleut is now his main paddle.
The NLP Aleutian 3-piece paddle has been just a homerun all around. The folks at Northern Light Paddle's are a pleasure to work with as well. Very customer oriented.
This carbon fiber paddle is very smooth with a great hand feel. The joint between the loom and the blades had a small seam but is still smooth and won't catch the hand or the glove. The finish isn't glossy, but instead is a nice matte which pleases my aesthetic sense.
The sections slide together smoothly, but tightly and, in a pinch, won't require the bolts to hold them together. The recesses in the blades to accommodate the bolt heads are also smooth and leave the heads flush with the surface and don't catch hands or gloves. The shoulders are hard, which I wasn't excited about. I thought that they would catch during sliding maneuvers. I mentioned this to Paul, but he was quite insistent, and rightly so, that this wasn't the case. One side of the blade is similar to the design of the Greenland paddle, the other is flat to slightly concave. this feels different in extended strokes and feels a bit wider but not uncomfortably so. perhaps that is due to the flat blade leaving the palm feeling empty. This paddle is stiff, so I didn't notice any loss of power due to flex. During extended paddle maneuvers this becomes much more noticeable as I've tried other paddles (both manufactured and homemade) that flex once in an extended position.
I was reluctant to try this paddle given how different it was and I was rather busy. Paul talked me into it and I'm glad he did! While I won't call Greenland paddles slow, they also aren't speedy. The Aleutian when tried side by side with the Greenland paddle was FAST! To say that I was surprised is an understatement. I also tried some sculling and rolling and the slight concavity makes these techniques almost too easy.
I now have one of these paddles and took it out to Deception Pass's Room of Doom, one of my favorite play spots. This spot has boat swallowing whirlpools and boils and swift currents. I took this paddle and the NLP Greenland paddle and tried these paddles side by side. While the Greenland paddle performed beautifully the Aleutian paddle was able to provide that extra bit of power when I needed it.
I know that Paul states that these paddles were designed primarily to facilitate travel, but I say that these are great primary paddles and I use them as such.
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