VE Paddles approached us this winter for feedback on their new range of stand up paddles they are currently developing. Our initial review of their wave orientated fibreglass version is featured here.
‘Glass fibre’ we hear you cry? Common thinking dictates carbon is best for high end paddles and we were certainly in agreement before we tried this baby. VE’s offering also (unusually) lacks blade rake angle.
Dr Stu Morris, VE owner and head designer, has spent a huge amount of time designing and developing high tech kayaks and paddles, competing and coaching Team GB’s kayak team, studying the biomechanics and performance of paddle sport as well as obtaining a PhD in the process – oh and did we tell you he was the Olympic Boat Designer for the GB Slalom Team? When he told us his reasoning for not adding rake who were we to argue?
Fresh out the box VE’s superb adjustment system was revealed – pulled straight from their kayak paddle range. A secure lockable lever allows for incremental fine tuning of shaft length – this was great as we could set up the exact length to suit our needs. The ‘T grip’ was a joy to hold and worked extremely well; other grip options such as a palm grip will also be available.
On the water there’s a good deal of flex in the shaft – something at odds with our own personal SUP paddles. Stu told us this was purposely done as the blade shape is so powerful. The softer shaft delivers a more forgiving experience without loss of efficiency.
The absence of rake certainly didn’t detract from each session. In fact it made it arguably more fulfilling! Being able to plant the blade slap bang in the power zone, (without the board being ‘lifted’ at the start of the stroke as with a raked blade), meant redlining was instant. Drawing the paddle through the water, even beyond hip alignment (as we’re taught not to do at the start of our SUP careers), was also rewarding. There’s no loss of forward propulsion as the blade is always in-line with the shaft. The lack of rake also allows the blade to be used as a perfect rudder with pressure being equalised on both sides providing effortless fast directional changes.
VE’s superior power delivery ensures small SUPs are cranked up to full throttle from standing. Catching waves is effortless. During top turns riders don’t need to reach forwards as with raked paddles – belting lips and cutties are super powerful, the paddler only having to focus on squirting spray. VE’s soft flexing shaft also snaps back after strokes giving an added boost of zoom!
VE’s glass fibre SUP paddle shows that different thinking shouldn’t be shied away from –there’s still a long way to go with SUP kit development. If you’re after a full throttle wave weapon that helps accomplish shredding turns and aggressive riding this is the paddle for you. Try it, you might like it…we did!
Price: £189 (Glass SUP blade on a one piece straight shaft)
Info: VE custom make all their paddles to order and will be offering a range of different SUP blade shapes, both carbon and glass, along with a variety of shaft and T grip options in 1, 2 and 3 piece lengths. In short means this means you can have exactly the right set up for your wants and needs.
You can see a vid of the VE proto being used below –