Monday, 23 May 2011

Gear reviews - Epic and Lendal Paddles

The Epic mid wing

Several years ago I started to mix and match my paddles on an expedition, different paddles = different paddling styles/techniques = different muscle groups; so being able to vary paddling styles also facilitated rest for various muscle groups. 
When I started the Scandinavia expedition I took a pair of wings, the tried and well tested Lendal kinetic touring and a Greenland stick.
I have to say that I was most impressed by the wing blade, especially in calm to moderate waters, whenever it got really rough or technical I would invariably swap back to my Lendal.
The wing blade has such a positive catch that after using a wing and then changing back to any other blade type the flutter on the blade becomes more than noticeable, in fact controlling the blade through the water after using a wing really becomes a bit of a chore. 
So when Harry and I got together and started preparing for Around Ireland we decided that a wing blade would become our main source of propulsion. We tried various wing paddles out but one design which stood out head and shoulders above all others was the Epic mid wing, a really high quality product which is exceptionally light, has a very positive catch and an ultra smooth action through the water, this paddle soon became both Harry and my own, favorite paddle. 
There were only two days on the entire journey when we both changed over to our spare paddles and then it was comfortable to know that our Lendals were there, both Harry and I have paddled thousands of miles with a Lendal blade and we know its characteristics intimately. On both of these days we faced winds which were gusting in excess of 40-45 knots and we both felt that for the dynamic changes in blade angle which would be needed beneath the water, an asymmetric blade would work best. 
This combination worked very well for us and I have no doubt the partnership between asymmetric and wing shall continue to be a feature for future expeditions. 
A part of our own personal action plan for the 'Around Britain and Ireland' expedition will be to improve upon our forward paddling stroke, Harry maintains that I have the most agricultural style of paddling he's ever seen and looking at some of the video footage I am afraid I have to agree, so if there is anyone out there who happens to be heading down towards the south west, who fancies giving me a few top tips, please do get in touch, you'll find me all ears.....

Jeff & Harry

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