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      Looking at a Composite Paddle     
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07/25/2016 11:44AM   (Thread Older Than 3 Years)
All,

I recently lost my Bending Branches bent shaft paddle the other day and I am thinking about going all out and getting a Composite Paddle such as a ZRE Flatwater single blade Paddle.

Does anyone have comments about these paddles and or another brand that may be equal in weight/durability but is cheaper?

I recently paddled 30 miles/in a day with an Old Town Pack, and after 10,000 strokes with my Bending Branches I could see how saving a pound per stroke could really make a difference with my fatigue level.

PS: I do a lot of paddling in tight rivers, so I am not talking about a Double Blade Paddle, plus I can use this on tandem paddles, or if I buy a better/faster solo when I move back to MN.
Also there is different blade width's from 8.25-8.75"
Any thoughts on this. ZRE Paddles
 
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Banksiana
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07/25/2016 12:21PM  
Four years ago I bought a ZRE Power Surge Light (8.5oz) bent. Best gear purchase I've ever made. Three years ago I bought another because my brother was coming on a trip with me and I simply could not saddle him with my "light" wood paddle. They've held up well with extensive use. I take 3-6 Quetico trips/year and paddle in shield country about 10 times/ month (or more) during the season of open water. Both paddles were "blemished" though I've yet to find the fault. You will have no regrets once you use them.

Generally a narrower blade allows for a higher cadence and less stress on the paddler. I think most men with a high cadence opt of 8" width. Slight folk can go narrower.
 
Alan Gage
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07/25/2016 01:52PM  
Go for it. You'll never look back. I probably own 6 or more Zavs, both bent and straight.

Don't spend the extra money for the Power Surge. You won't notice a difference for tripping.

Do get a "factory 2nd" to save a few $$.

I've never gotten anything lighter than a "Z Medium". They're 10 ounces. No doubt lighter would be nicer but to me I'll take a little more strength since I use mine hard.

My straight blades are both "Rec" models. A little heavier but also heavier duty. I got one with the standard plastic handle and did not like it at all. Updraged to carbon. My plastic grip was smaller than the carbon one. Others have said theres are the same.

Alan
 
Banksiana
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07/25/2016 03:51PM  
I disagree with Alan- I think the surge is worth the price and is noticeable. On the trip I took last fall we rented a canoe that came with two ZRE Mediums and the difference in both feel and response was noted- the price not all that much difference.
 
mr.barley
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07/25/2016 10:06PM  
Come over to the dark side. I have two 11 ounce carbon fiber paddles and I love them.
 
yellowcanoe
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07/26/2016 03:42AM  
pick any Zav and take a spare wood paddle. After a few miles on the Zav you will think the wood paddle is a tree.
 
07/26/2016 04:34AM  
straight Zav paddling

Expensive they are, but worth it!
Z Light – Carbon Fiber Canoe Paddle
- Blade Width (inches): 8.5
- Factory Second: Yes
- Shaft Angle: 0 degree - Straight Shaft
- Length (inches): 50
$290

Also use a bent,
Z Light – Carbon Fiber Canoe Paddle
- Blade Width (inches): 8
- Factory Second: Yes
- Shaft Angle: 14 degrees
- Length (inches): 48

Both weigh 9.5 oz. Feel and seem as strong as my wood Foxworks. Make paddling all day much less tiring.

butthead
 
07/26/2016 04:37AM  

+1 on ZAV paddles.

I have had a carbon fiber bent shaft set I bought from Piragis almost 20 years ago and they are all still working well. I had a handle come off last year and I had to buy a replacement handle grip from ZAV.

You can paddle all day with these lightweight paddles with no discomfort. Use a ZAV on my Bell Magic solo trips ( along with my kayak paddle) and ZAV's when tandem tripping in my MN II.
 
Iowaypaddler
member (37)member
 
07/30/2016 12:35PM  
I would suggest you by the paddle with a longer shaft than you think you need, and the the handle not glued on to the shaft. When you get the paddle, tape the handle on and paddle it. Cut a little off of the shaft at a time until you get it to were it feels right, then glue the handle on. Over all length measurements can be misleading.
 
mastertangler
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07/30/2016 05:23PM  
Yup I would be an unhappy paddler without my Zav. I have considered getting a power surge but I am perfectly content with what I have so why drop the extra dough. If it were a first time urchase however I would be inclined to the power surge having surmised from people who have experience with both. Sounds like Alan has no small experience with Zavs and begs to differ so who knows.

A few thoughts.......when your done for the day the first thing I do is secure my paddle. They can blow away or blow to the ground where they can be stepped on. Be sure to secure it.

If you like to fish be advised that your Zav can and will go airborne when you lay it across the gunnels. My straight shaft wood paddle eases me around while fishing.
 
07/31/2016 11:49AM  
A couple years ago I got a Power Surge Extreme. A bit thicker tip and edges than the other PS models. I love it; when I do use my wood paddle, it feels like a lead weight in comparison!
 
08/01/2016 04:10PM  
Thanks all for your input, I will get a composite paddle before next year.

Heading up to interior Ak for a couple short paddles, around 50 miles total.
 
GraniteCliffs
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08/01/2016 08:37PM  
When you buy one be careful with it. I have a carbon blade and it started to split because I have a tendency to use the blade to push off a bit too much. No good way to repair it.
 
08/01/2016 08:44PM  
Nothing stopping you from adding a fiberglass patch over the split. Yea it will be heavier but ya still have a lite blade. No more difficult than a composite canoe repair.

butthead
 
08/01/2016 08:56PM  
quote GraniteCliffs: "When you buy one be careful with it. I have a carbon blade and it started to split because I have a tendency to use the blade to push off a bit too much. No good way to repair it."

Thanks for the heads up, I use mine too much to push off with also.
PS, I saw BeaV fixing his composite paddle out in the bush in one of his videos.
 
08/01/2016 10:10PM  
quote LindenTree3: "quote GraniteCliffs: "When you buy one be careful with it. I have a carbon blade and it started to split because I have a tendency to use the blade to push off a bit too much. No good way to repair it."


Thanks for the heads up, I use mine too much to push off with also.
PS, I saw BeaV fixing his composite paddle out in the bush in one of his videos."


They flex a lot; just like hockey sticks. As far as pushing off, as long as you're not slamming the blade into the lake bottom, you should be fine. I use mine to push off, and after three years (10 trips?) there is no damage other than some scuffing on the edge.
 
Cloznuff
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08/02/2016 07:47AM  
I've got some Amazon points to use and was looking at the ZRE Power Surge. They have an "XX" length listed and I learned this means uncut. Does anyone know what "uncut" means?

Thanks!
 
08/02/2016 08:09AM  
The carbon paddles take to the same type of care given to wood. Keep chipping to a min by sanding the blade edge till the chips are gone. Same repairs can be done to a composite blade as wood. Carbon fiber is easier to work with than Kevlar.

butthead
 
08/02/2016 08:22AM  
quote Cloznuff: "I've got some Amazon points to use and was looking at the ZRE Power Surge. They have an "XX" length listed and I learned this means uncut. Does anyone know what "uncut" means?


Thanks!"



Campmor is the supplier. XX is uncut and you will cut and install the grip. How long is best answered with a call to Campmor.
ZRE sells blades, shafts, and grips separately. Lengths, widths, shaft angles, can all be specified if ordered from ZRE.

butthead
 
Cloznuff
senior member (82)senior membersenior member
 
08/02/2016 08:02PM  
Fyi for those that may be looking at the ZRE Power Surge on Amazon, I emailed ZRE to find out some more on the "XX" length and almost immediately got a response from Bob Zaveral and they are supplied 55-56" long. The quick response, and the fact that I'm getting it for "free" with points, made me order one immediately. As butthead mentioned, the grip is shipped separate and epoxied on after the shaft is cut to the proper length.
 
muddyfeet
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08/07/2016 07:53AM  
To the OP:
I bought my first carbon paddle from an outfitter as an end-of-season close out. It was part of the rental fleet and about 1/2 the price of a similar new paddle. It was a wenonah blacklite (perfect grip for my hand) and I've been very happy with it. It was 'starter paddle' but I think if it ever breaks I wouldn't hesitate to invest in another: a good paddle is like your best friend!
 
08/07/2016 01:18PM  
I bought a Zav Rec paddle with the carbon grip this past Spring. I've had the boat out 4 times now and can say it was a great investment. It's a pleasure to paddle with this.
 
08/08/2016 01:04AM  
I sure would have liked a bent shaft today. Since I lost mine I'm borrowing a straight blade. I was in some Knarly stuff today. 3 foot waves on the Nenana River, AK.
Didn't seem like the straight blade responded as quickly to my needs.

Did 22 miles in 3 hours, the River was fast, it scared me.

A bent shaft composite is on the list. Pics.

 
08/08/2016 05:57AM  
Be careful out there - there's reason to be a little scared. That much water moving that fast has a lot of power.
 
08/15/2016 05:13PM  
Thanks all for your help.

I just purchased a ZRE Powersurge uncut, from campmor. $279.00
The free shipping was the kicker to go with campmor. Otherwise shipping is around 30 bucks up here. UPS does not work well in Alaska, so the USPS is the preferred way for most things to be shipped here.
 
08/15/2016 07:05PM  
quote LindenTree3: "Thanks all for your help.
I just purchased a ZRE Powersurge uncut, from campmor. $279.00
The free shipping was the kicker to go with campmor. Otherwise shipping is around 30 bucks up here. UPS does not work well in Alaska, so the USPS is the preferred way for most things to be shipped here.
"


Congrats! Did you get the carbon or the plastic grip?

 
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