During my preparation for the Hawkesbury Classic I’ve been experimenting with different paddles to try to find one I like. Thanks to Sydney Harbour Kayaks I’ve been able to try a few different types, and here I’ll review each one.
The first paddle (and the one I bought with my BD Nanook) is a fibreglass BD Orca. This beast has a big blade and pushes a serious amount of water, making it an absolute powerhouse in the right hands. Not one for small people, as it puts a pretty serious strain on the shoulders, and to be honest not really right for long distances. But as a strength training aid it is magnificent. On a recent paddle with a friend he told me I was taking long, slow, powerful strokes without much thought and was absolutely flying. Great for a big man like myself… as long as I don’t have to paddle too far.
The second paddle, and the one I’ve been training with the last few weeks, is a carbon-fibre BD Archipel. Now first of all these carbon-fibre paddles are just brilliant. It is incredibly light to use and I can see why the best paddles are all made of this material. The shape of the Archipel blade is more inline with most Euro-blades and offers a good turn of power with far less resistance than the Orca. And with its gold writing on black carbon-fibre looks, it just looks damn sexy!
The third paddle, the BD Aloonaq, is inspired by traditional Greenland paddles and has a long flat and very narrow blade. The great thing about this paddle is that it pushes far less water and therefore puts a lot less strain on the shoulders. This would be ideal for people with any joint complaints.
For my test paddle today I had three different feelings using this paddle. For the first third of the paddle I was frankly disappointed with the lack of power (compared to the previous two paddles) and the fair bit of flutter. This of course suggests a problem with the engine rather than the blade! Anyway, for the second third of the paddle, once I had formed the right rhythm and technique, I started to really enjoy its ease of use during my kayak on the Harbour. I was starting to catch a fair bit of water with the blade and could feel like I was getting alot of efficiency from it. By the third third of the paddle I was starting to get tired from the days paddling and started to REALLY appreciate how easy it is to use!
In conclusion, I liked them all for different reasons. For short paddles the BD Orca is great – a powerful brute that loves to gather speed. For general paddling the carbon-fibre BD Archipel is hard to go past. Light, powerful, and a pleasure to use. Plus you look good – haha! The BD Aloonaq would make a great spare paddle, as its narrow profile makes it easy to store on-deck and it is great to have when you are getting tired. And ideally, I’d like them all in carbon-fibre thanks! Happy paddles people – FP
Excellent round up! You are lucky to have those paddles at hand… beautiful stuff!
Well, props to @syd_harb_kayaks , they have been great letting me try different equipment. Plus did I mention they have an expresso machine?? 😛
First a coffee boat and, now, an espresso machine at your local paddle shop? You’ve got it made…
Nice review… concise and to the point. My primary paddle is a cedar greenland paddle, but I’ve started carrying an CF Aloonaq as a spare. My wife picked it up on sale last summer but didn’t care for it. I’m really starting to like it however, and I’ve even started using it for longer paddles instead of the GP.
You know Chris, it would be interesting for me to test the cf Aloonaq against the cf Archipel and see if it makes a difference to my overall feel on the two. As I stated, I really didn’t like the Aloonaq at first, but by the end of the day I was starting to really enjoy it. Interesting that you also use it as a spare but are starting to use it more. Oh, and btw, that wooden yak of yours is a work of art! Love it! 🙂
There other option, which I haven’t tried yet, is the Delphina. It seems to split the difference between the Archipel and the Aloonaq. If you can find one it might be worth a try…
Sydney Harbour Kayaks have the cb Delphina too, although I haven’t tried it. I think that the Archipel is going to be the one for me though. 🙂