It’s intriguing to test kit from fledgling SUP brands and see how it stands up (pun intended). McConks SUP are currently finalising their product range but were looking for feedback on their existing prototypes. As always SUPM is chuffed to be given this task. We recently had the opportunity to test drive McConks’ new iSUP sled (see early 2016 summer issue for full review) and the brand’s three piece full carbon paddle, published here.
As a three piece we thought the best way to get a grip (more punnage!) was actually travel with it – in this case we headed to a favourite winter haunt of ours, Lanzarote (see travelling with SUP kit article in July 2016 print issue).
McConks’ carbon three piece paddle came neatly packed inside a padded day-glow orange bag which provides ample protection. Split down into individual components it fitted neatly into our main luggage bag and was forgotten about until arrival – a big tick in the box.
Locking the McConks paddle together is a simple job. The middle shaft section fits snugly into the blade end and secures via an efficient lever lock system. The top section slides into place and offers an incremental adjustment system with snap shut arm. Both mechanisms are extremely secure and never once budged during use – even after breaking down into individual parts on multiple occasions.
Pic: Caroline Rigby
The blade itself isn’t the narrowest we’ve used but it’s not the fattest either (41cm). As a general gauge it delivers medium cadence so should suit most travelling SUPers. Blade rake is 12.5* and therefore not too extreme. (During the last few months SUPM staff have been using paddles with less rake so this suited us). A subtle dihedral runs mid-blade face which helps alleviate paddle flutter. Technique should still be a top priority, however, as it’s a sweeper that prefers correct placement – tickling the water won’t cut the mustard.
A nice feature with the McConks three piece carbon paddle is the ability to use as a two piece. It’s therefore suitable for nipper rippers – another plus for the budget conscious. Lastly the grip is an ergonomically shaped palm style holder that’s pretty comfortable.
We used the McConks blade in a number of environments – wave and flat water. An early intermediate SUPer in the group also put the MConks to great use proving that a decent quality sweeper does indeed help progression.
Power delivery errs towards the performance end of the spectrum. It’s a great wave weapon and provides enough thrust for boosting riders into waves – small or large. And it proved extremely dependable when leaning into a liquid face or engaging cut backs and lip hits. Back on flat water and the McConks’ lightweight is welcome when touring – efficient forward thrust benefiting all sweepers.
Pic Caroline Rigby
We liked McConks’ three piece carbon paddle – it proved the perfect companion during our overseas trip. Offering varying levels of versatile performance the McConks worked well in both surf and across flat water. Our caps doff towards both adjustment systems used – neither slipped and both proved dependable for the duration of our stay. Super lightweight and versatile it packed down neatly into our main luggage bag and with supplied padded bag we can see it being the main weapon in many SUPers’ travelling arsenal. It’d also work well as your stand-alone sweeper.