I’m not one for trends; I sometimes even go out of my way to do the opposite of whatever is in style. When people started increasing blade size, I was skeptical. When people started cutting their paddles longer, I was skeptical. Then the trend shifted, everyone started cutting paddles shorter, and looking for the smallest blade with the most catch… skeptical. I just kept paddling with the paddle I had, at the size it was, at the length it was. I had no reason to change anything… until…
Enter the Naish Kanalo Race LE.
I was in Carolina Paddleboard Co. when Chad our local Naish Rep said, “Hey, try this paddle.” All my friends were buying it. At close to 95in2, the blade size was a bit larger than I was accustomed to. I was skeptical; but I tried it.
I’m so happy that I tried this paddle! I even ended up getting one, cut to the perfect length, and I paddle with it every day.
Let’s back up and review how I arrived at my decision to get a new paddle.
At first, on a very short paddle, I didn’t notice a huge difference. I thought the “Ergo-grip Tahitian T-handle” was a little large. I thought the shaft was a little small. I had a little flutter in the water, and it wasn’t a hard catch. More extensive research was needed; I kept the paddle longer (despite phone calls asking me to bring it back) and took it out for a real spin. After paddling the graveyard loop for about 11 miles I switched back to my old paddle, and WOAAHH!! I did not like my old paddle anymore. It had a very hard catch that I could feel in my shoulders. The Naish paddle had a much softer catch, and then really produced a lot of push in the power phase of the forward stroke. I didn’t get any cavitation around the blade, indicative of slippage. No issues taking it out of the water at my feet, popped right out easily with very little noise. The recovery was faster because it is so light (the lightest on the market, in fact).
I like the ergo-T-handle now that I’ve been using it, I don’t get T-rex hands on longer paddles anymore (you know, where they’re stuck in a grip position). The shaft is a round-to-oval carbon fiber shaft and it is not too stiff. It provides just the right amount of flex, which almost seems to add some spring to your stroke where you need it. After that initial trial, I do not have any problems with flutter, thanks to the dihedral blade, but be aware there is a learning curve coming from paddles that have a more pronounced dihedral (you may also flutter at first because you may not be used to the blade shape). I don’t notice the blade size at all, and my shoulder pain that I used to exacerbate is almost completely gone. This may have something to do with the more elongated shape of the blade, too. The shape also enables me to keep the blade closer to the board for a more efficient forward stroke. The blade angle is closer to 7 degrees, instead of the usual 10-12. Although this reduces the initial feel of the catch and makes it more important to take the paddle out at your feet, you can really feel the impact on the power phase of your stroke.
Bottom line: when I paddle with this paddle it feels light and effortless, easy on the body, and fast in the water. Heavenly.