Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I'm Hooked!

     I had the privilege to attend a clinic with a seasoned product representative from Werner Paddles. I was shocked at the amount of information that I was able to take away from an hour and a half clinic. Every single contour, curve, and ridge on a Werner paddle serves a purpose. 

     The Werner backstory on the new Hooked line of paddles is a simple, yet interesting one. They went to various kayak fishing tournaments, paddle sport shows, and generally anywhere that kayak anglers gather to get feedback on what anglers really want out of their paddle. I think the final conclusion was a little bit of a surprise to them, and a bit unexpected. People didn't mention rulers on the paddle shaft or line hooks molded into the blade as necessary features needed on their paddles. The main consensus was that people wanted simply a high quality paddle to get them to the fish the fastest, and the easiest. That was it. Simple enough, no gimmicks or flash, just a high quality paddle. The best part for Werner is that they already have some of the best paddles on the market. 

     Something that I thought was very interesting was the fact that a guy will walk into a kayak shop and drop $1,500 on a high quality, name brand kayak, but will walk out with a $50 aluminum paddle. When you stop and really think about it, the kayak is pretty, comfortable to sit in, has neat features that we like as anglers, but unless it has a pedal system, all it does is float in one spot. It makes no sense to go all out on the kayak and skimp on the paddle. The paddle is essentially your motor, and we all know a good motor is what gets your kayak from point A to point B. 

     Werner has several key features, that I think set them apart from the other quality brands. First is their Smart-View Adjustable Ferrule system. This adds life to a kayak paddle that will inevitably take a beating over the course of its life. There are no collars to wear out our bulky buttons to push that can eventually halt use of a paddle long before the blades wear out. Large push buttons leave a little wiggle room in the paddle shaft that can decrease its effectiveness, but Werner's system has a tight fit that makes the paddle feel like one solid shaft. Another key feature that I find important is their blade dihedral and buoyancy. The dihedral allows for water to flow evenly off the paddle on a stroke and prevents water "confusion" that will cause a flutter of the paddle on each stroke, resulting in faster shoulder fatigue. The blade buoyancy also slows fatigue by assisting on the back end of a paddle stoke to pop out of the water. Go to Werner Paddles key features page to learn more about the science that elevates the performance of these paddles. 

     The most important part of selecting a paddle is taking into account your budget, paddling stroke, dimensions of your kayak, and swing weight. The swing weight test is a very helpful test that easily shows you how the paddle will pull through the water, and can be very helpful when deciding between multiple paddles. The very knowledgable and helpful staff at Mariner Sails of Dallas can assist you is finding your perfect paddle. On average it takes a paddler 1,000 strokes to go one mile (depending on the paddlers ability), if you add 4 ounces with a heavier paddle it's like carrying an extra 250 pounds per mile.Werner makes a paddle for every style and every budget, see which one works best for you.

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