List of paddles and manufacturers:
Maker's website: http://www.triviumpaddles.com/
(these are all for the S12 dragonboat paddles) Glue connection - £150 Screw connection - £155
Adjustable length, approx 340-360grams, choice of colours and grips (sculpted grip, Ergo-T, Ergo-medium) - these can be viewed on the website. Also comes with a bag.
Trivium S12: Made by some guys in Lithuania, which could explain for the long lead times. Since most club members have trivs, it will be easy enough to test them out. The weight distribution is quite balanced on these. The whole thing has a nice glossy shine, however it does make the shaft very slippery when wet.
Regarding the screw and glue options - these come in two parts - you either glue the pieces together, or screw the joint to tighten it when the handle part is inserted at the preferred length. Personally I prefer to pay extra for the screw connection as it saves on the hassle of glueing and unglueing if you ever need to changed lengths; however there will be a bulge in the shaft which some people don't like. There are comments that the two-piece nature of the trivium lends itself to a weak point of being less structurally sound (which some paddlers have found out to their cost), however most paddlers rarely suffer an issue. Otherwise, these are rightly very popular with paddlers.
Summary: customisable colours, user-adjustable, and comes with a bag. Slippery shaft (notice all those rubber bands?). However, long ordering time - 6 months for the previous batch! Minimum wait is approx 2-3 months.
UK contact for this paddle: ?
Maker's website - http://www.zre.com/
ZRE Dragon XL - £179 (group discount on 5+ XLs) ZRE Dragon - £154 (10% group discount on 5+)
The XL weights from 270-320 grams; the Dragon is 420grams. There is a choice of a carbon palm grip, carbon T grip or wooden T grip with the Dragon. Both come with either the T or palm grip, and are fixed length (you can choose lengths between 42 and 51 inches). Buy 5 or more, and the group discount applies.
Note: the new 2012 range has been updated with a concave blade as per the recent changes in the IDBF spec, for a better hold in the water.
ZRE Dragon XL: Made in the USA by ZRE - a well known manufacturer -. Currently one of the lightest dragonboat paddles available, quite noticeably vs the triv. The weight distribution is downwards towards the blade which gives it a different feel to the other paddles. One piece - so there won't be any perceivable weaknesses in the shaft, however it does mean you need to be sure what length you want, otherwise you may end up with a paddle of the wrong size (as some girls have found). The shaft has an oval cross-section (stronger and stiffer than circular shafts), and I find the shaft surface to be grippier than the other paddles so there's less chance of it slipping mid-race.
Lead time is approx 2-3 weeks (some of the longer sizes are generally in stock so these can be collected sooner) - and Stylosports is based near Kingston, so these could be collected to save on postage costs.
Colour options are: black.
Summary: light and very stiff one piece; thinner blade skin - do note these paddles need looking after - and avoid clashing. One colour only.
Maker's website - http://www.merlingear.com/
- CD2 - £120 (10% group discount applies with 5+ paddles - £108 each)
Weights approx 420g. I've seen other teams with these, but not had any experience with them. Australian company. Supplied in the UK by Stylosports (Kingston), they have released several new paddles since the original article from 2010.
- Merlin CD3 (http://www.merlingear.com/paddles_cd3.htm ) - fixed length concave blade, and weighing approx. 390 grams - £169. One of our members have this blade so it may be possible to see this up close before making a purchasing decision.
- Merlin TD3 ( http://www.merlingear.com/paddles_td3.htm) - fixed length composite blade, approx 400 grams. Flexes slightly more than the CD3, and is available in various colours. £139.
- Merlin Ghost ( http://www.merlingear.com/paddles_ghost.htm ) - very light paddle at approx. 270 grams. Currently n/a as of writing.
Polish manufacturer, who started off constructing racing canoe blades. The founder was a coach for the Polish national ladies team. These paddles look very promising (good construction, well designed and balanced), and a plus point is that there is a UK distributor (Hydra Sports) who we can source these from. They come in several variations:
Fixed length (no joint) - £165
- Falcon carbon (400 grams)
- Falcon carbon-kevlar (430 grams)
Adjustable paddles - £175
- Falcon carbon + Q'Nect
- Falcon carbon-kevlar + Q'Nect
Note that the carbon-kevlar paddles are slightly less stiffer than the carbon-only type, and 30g heavier, but presumably stronger. These come in black, but there are a range of colour options:
- blade colouring only +£15
- whole paddle colouring +£25
Ruth of Hydrasports.co.uk has emailed me to say that there is a 2-week lead time for these, and free delivery.
Czech manufacturer who also started off making racing canoe paddles used by top Olympic racers. Their carbon-fibre dragonboat paddle (~360grams) has been described as being high quality, well balanced, and they also give you the option of having your own design (colour?) on the blade.
These are fixed length paddles, and Hydrasports.co.uk also handle RAAB - these are £179 from them.
Dutch manufacturers with products which were used successful in various international kayaking competitions. Nowadays they focus on paddle production.
They make two dragonboat paddles - both non-adjustable (sizes must be stated), and obtained via Hydrasports.co.uk :
- Dragon Pro Carbon - carbon fabric with foam core, approx. 399 grams with a T grip - £170
- Dragon Club - composite paddle weighing 595 grams, at £140. Useful as an alternative to wooden paddles.
Canadian maker; they have been appraised by various bloggers on how good their paddles are. The main downside however is that there is no UK-based supplier, so we would have to order direct from them.
These are fixed-length paddles so you'd need to work out which length you want, and they have the heavier/cheaper Durablade composite blade (as an alternative to wood), or the full carbon fibre Accelerator paddle (weighing between 370-420 grams depending on length).
Costs work out to be £160 (CAD $249) for their full carbon-fibre Accelerator, but delivery starts at CAD $129 (~£81), or CAD $289 (~£183) for 5 paddles (approx £36.50 each), so this really needs a bulk purchase for it to be worth it, or for someone to collect it from North America.
Another Canadian manufacturer - their Sundowner carbon paddle looks promising, and have received good reviews. At CAD $210 (~£133), they seem quite affordable, but they have the same downside as Apex of high oversea delivery charges.
Known UK Suppliers
(This is currently a limited list)
Stylosports - http://www.stylosports.com/ - Andy - one of the guys behind this supplier - work in London, so I was able to pick up paddles from him directly instead of incurring delivery costs.
Hydrasports - http://www.hydrasports.co.uk/ - free delivery on G'power paddles
Reviews / blogs
http://www.dragonglobe.com/ is a blog with a good source of reviews
Old comparison of paddles: http://sfldbt.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/paddle-comparisons.pdf