Words & photos: Tez Plavenieks
There’s still a misconception among some paddlers that SUP paddles are an ‘also add’. When actually, paddles are the be-all and end-all. Boards are needed, of course, but your paddle should have the most amount of focus. Otherwise, your overall enjoyment of stand up paddling will be impacted, not to mention the adverse effects your body will have to endure by using a sub-par type.
Good-quality carbon paddles used to be a lot more expensive. Cotswold-based McConks, however, have their 2-piece adjustable carbon paddle, tested here, that shows even quality doesn’t have to break the bank!
In the flesh, it’s a lovely product with an eye-catching finish. The double-scooped dihedral on the blade makes it look ready for business, whilst the efficient snap lock adjustment on the paddle shaft is dependable and secure.
For me, as a rider who rides above water as well as on it, having the ability to adjust my paddle is essential. What I don’t enjoy is too much flex born from an extension that changes the performance depending on how short or long you set it. The McConks carbon 2-piece paddle retains its feel at all incremental adjustments, making it a 100% performance-orientated product no matter your shaft length preference.
Putting the hammer down the paddle delivers impressive revs and can quickly be wound up to max speed. And yet, for the mellower rider, who’s not after redline speed, it’s just as happy pootling along rivers and quieter stretches of water. I’ve had a few sessions with it in SUP foil mode and can attest to its strength and quality. I’m also sure racers will find favour and use it to good effect.
The McConks 2-piece adjustable carbon paddle is a great ‘engine’ that all riders will appreciate. If you’re after tip-top performance, it delivers whilst remaining applicable for those not chasing the ultimate. In that guise, it’s just a pleasant paddle to use that won’t damage your wallet.