06 April 2012

Kit - The Blades

Working at Rockpool I am lucky to be able to try blades from the large demo range there : Legend, Braca, Zastera and Epic. For the last 18 months or so I have been very happy paddling my Zastera Medium Burtons; they are a really solid and steady paddle in the rough - predictable and forgiving throughout the full stroke range. I also like the narrower 28mm shaft. The Burtons are great with a lightly loaded boat (for pottering, races and records) but I was little concerned that they may have a touch too large blade load for an exped boat into wind. So I started to work my way through the variety of blades to search for the one that suited the job in hand.

The Epic range are seen as a benchmark the world over; they are nice to paddle but I prefer more of a index on the grip than you get with the oval shaft. Too many years upside down I suppose!

When I took a look at the first Braca set I was very impressed with the quality of construction, very impressed. Unfortunately the demo set were on a slightly too stiff shaft for my preferences and while I was waiting for a softer set to arrive I took a look at the Legends.

I had paddled Legends for many years previously but it had been a while ago. It was interesting to catch up with changes to the Legend range and speak to Len about the various designs. A set of Small Fusions duly arrived - very nice and slightly unusual. They are a small blade and at lower speeds and lower blade loads they almost slip a little, very smooth and gentle to paddle. But when you put the power down they suddenly lock into the water as if they have just doubled in size - unusual! Time trial work dispelled any worries of small blade slippage with some good times on the clock.  Another feature that caught my attention was how easy they were to paddle in to wind, the boat slowed a litttle but the blade load didn't seem to change greatly - none of that paddling through concrete stuff. The stainless steel tips add confidence to the durability too. All in all a very nice package (confirmed when The Boss wouldn't give them back to me!)
Len and Kate were very helpful and have even sent a new set on a custom soft shaft with the heavy exped loads in mind - yep, the Legend Small Fusion are the blades for me.

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