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Since paddle choice is based on a combo of the boat, the paddler, and the paddling style, I'll start out with the facts: I'm 6 feet tall and have a pretty average length torso, thus, I have a pretty average amount of upper body sticking out of my kayak. I paddle a Necky Chatham 16, which is a pretty quick and responsive sea kayak set up for play and short tours. My boat is 22 inches wide at the cockpit (relatively narrow), and my paddle style is pretty low and mellow- usually more of a low-angle paddler. Even with the combo of my height and the narrowness of my boat, I've gotten used to paddles that are a bit above the recommended size and have used mostly 240cm low angle paddles.
We'll start this off with the Bottom Line:
Despite being advertised as a High-Angle paddle, the Surge is suited more to a low angle paddler's needs. Regardless, the Surge is a high quality, light weight addition to your kayaking experience. Whether it be an evening paddle or a multi-day tour, this paddle gets the job done and does it well.
Now for the Surge indepth...
While this paddle is Aqua-Bound's high angle paddle with their widest blade, the blade is not much wider or longer than other brand's low angle paddles. The measurements for the blade are 6.8in wide and 19in long (17.27cm x 48.26cm), about an inch wider and two inches shorter than Aqua-Bound's Swell Paddle, their low angle piece.
The Surge is super lightweight for its class (not comparing to full carbon paddles), and for a touring paddle, weight is an essential thought. Reining in at a mere 29oz (822 grams), the Surge helps to combat fatigue. Think about how many times you pick up your paddle on any given day on the water. With its low numbers, the Surge is a pleasure to hold, lift, push, pull, and repeat for as long as your tour allows.
The fiberglass blades are light, glide well through the water with no flutter, and have outstanding color. I got the Bright Green, which I would call neon or fluorescent yellow, but this isn't a primary art class, and we?re not discussing the color wheel. The off set of blades from the paddle shaft is interesting. At first I didn't know what to think, but in the water, there is no noticeable difference. It seems as if the offset may add to the strength of the joint between the blade and the shaft- although not sure on the science behind that one. One possible drawback in the blades is the lack of reinforcement or extra layers of fiberglass at the tips; this definitely shaves off milligrams and nothing of note has happened in my month of use, but after a bit more time in play, I would not be surprised if the ends of the blades begin show their wear.
The shaft of the Surge is simple and lightweight. The sturdiness or strength of the shaft never came into question. The two piece design allows you to break it down to stuff it in your boat or the trunk, and the shaft snaps together with the tried and true stainless steel push button and spring in one of three positions- straight, left, or right feather. I have not had any problems, but the push button system has a tendency to get stuck with salt water use, so be sure to stay on top of rinsing your paddle (along with all your gear) after paddling in the salty seas. The shaft is round at the ends and in the center but at the hand placement it is slightly oval-ized. The overall diameter of the shaft is about 3cm, and changing to about 2mm less at the grip, the Surge fit my typically sized hands well, but the difference in the shaft is only slightly noticeable. The drip rings that come with the paddle do a great job (once adjusted) of keeping the water off my skirt and off my hands. The best thing about the drip rings is that they stay put- some tend to slide, but not these guys. With a checkerboard type pattern, I?d guess it has to do with the carbon weave, the shaft of the surge paddle not only stands out from others in my quiver but it also provides an interesting texture for the grip: smooth front to back, but ribbed from side to side; perfect for feathered paddlers.
Bottom Line: Despite being advertised as a High-Angle paddle, the Surge is suited more to a low angle paddler's needs. Regardless, the Surge is a high quality, light weight addition to your kayaking experience. Whether it be an evening paddle or a multi-day tour, this paddle gets the job done and does it well.
This paddle is awesome and so much of an improvement over what I had. The weight difference is substantially different as well as the performance in the Surge Carbon Fiber. I should have done this last year or even from the beginning. I went with a 240CM paddle due to the width of my fishing kayak. If you have an opportunity to test one...you find a better paddle for weight and performance.
After I gripped the paddle I was VERY pleasantly surprised by two facts. First, the shaft of the paddle is a bit smaller than usual, making it incredibly easy to grip. This is a very comfortable paddle to hold and doesn't strain the hands. Secondly, the shaft is slightly ovoid. This actually makes it incredibly comfortable and lets you know exactly how the paddle is oriented in your hand. After taking the Surge out on a 14 mile paddle, I appreciated the careful design and construction of the shaft even more.
The Surge is hands-down the most comfortable paddle that I've used. I did some short and long sprints along the way and there is absolutely no flex in the blade; I dug as deep as I could but didn't detect the slightest flutter. Overall, this is an outstanding paddle, especially for a more high-angle touring stroke.
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