Paddles have come a long way in the last few years. As much as it’s a tricky subject there’s no doubt that anything with the tag ‘performance’ is way beyond what we were using previously. In tandem Aqua Inc. are also a brand going from strength to strength. Their new range of sweepers – including the never seen before Razor Blade we’re reviewing here – is top notch. Added to which fact one of the two adjustable shafts is a three-piece, yet you wouldn’t think it when in use!
First up is the Razor Blade – as we’ve mentioned this is brand new and we were lucky to get hold of the first one shipped. Coming equipped with an oval u-cut shaft with improved grip it’s a paddle that draws heavily on dragon boat paddle design. You can see this in the very square almost shovel esque blade shape.
With a moderate rake it’s super easy to plunge into the drink without overreaching. Some paddlers will favour this as stretching out in front to full extent isn’t always the most comfortable. Through the air and the RB’s lightweight is welcome, in all but the breeziest of conditions. Wind in the mix does tend to cause it to flutter when feathering back from recovery. That said you can pull the power on instantaneously and drive your SUP forward with considerable momentum. We feel it’s a paddle best partnered with performance orientated boards where riders are looking to gain advantage on flatter water.
With its more teardrop profile Aqua Inc’s Victory blade is one those higher cadence paddlers will find favour with. You can still rake deep and pull on the power but it did seem to respond at higher rates of sweeping. Shedding water quickly riders can bring the Victory back to set positions in a flash so therefore would be great for sprints and/or anyone looking to take their SUPing into surf environments.
The Victory was attached to a standard two-piece adjustable shaft that was fairly stiff. Hats off to Aqua Inc. for including the anti-twist notch cut into the extension piece that eliminates movement. It also has a non-slip grip ensuring maximum contact will be kept with the paddle.
Aqua Inc’s Distance blade was actually the one we preferred the most. With a full profile and larger surface area paddlers will be able to shift the maximum amount of water with the most efficiency. The clue’s in the name but just to clarify the Distance blade is one that fits prolonged use and aids the covering of miles. It’s also one for the more power orientated stroker, which is the mould our testers fit.
Interestingly the Distance is the one attached to the three-piece shaft. In times past it’d be a no-no to recommend this to any paddler looking for performance. Usually, a three-piece paddle would be reserved for travelling applications only. This version, however, utilises a hexagonal inner shaft cuff that keeps the section locked together with zero movement between parts. In addition it can be glued and there’s a stud lock mechanism for added peace of mind.
Aqua Inc. has come up with the goods in terms of their paddle range with something to suit all comers. Interchangeable component parts ensure SUPers will be able to fit their desired blade to their chosen shaft. This modular technology may seem confusing at first but it will ultimately allow riders to end up with their perfect paddling partner, as long as you know what you need from your paddle. While all the models on test are first rate performers we feel the Distance blade will benefit most all-round sweepers, unless looking for specific race or sprint performance. All in though this is a great triple set of paddles that any SUPer would be happy to own.
3-part shaft with Distance Blade – Euro 269
Adjustable shaft with Victory Blade – Euro 249
Oval u-cut shaft with Razor Blade – Euro 249