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Paddling Under Duress with the ZRE Dragon XL & the Burnwater Reactor II

October 3, 2009

P1020874My paddle of choice going into the 2009 San Francisco/Treasure Island Dragon Boat Tournament was the new ZRE Dragon XL paddle.

I was a bit hesitant because I didn’t put in too many miles on the XL  because it arrived a few weeks before the SF race.  Also, I was recovering from injury so my water time was limited.

Going into the weekend, I was interested in seeing how the paddle performed in two areas – how it performed in windy conditions and how well the paddle entered while paddling under duress.  There was no doubt the XL is stiff so I wasn’t too concerned about that.

As I stated in my review of the XL, the wind wouldn’t be too much of an issue for any experienced paddler.  No problems losing the paddle in the wind – especially if you know how to efficiently recover in the wind.

As for the entries, during the men’s 1st race on Saturday, I wasn’t getting the solid entries I was expecting (or hoping for) with the XL.  I wasn’t getting massive kurplunking  sounds but I created a sound and feel that told me the entries weren’t as solid as they should be.

After that race, I was in a minor panic.  I had lent out my Kialoa Hybrid to Lori for the weekend (you can see her raising it in victory near the end (3:39) of Phil’s most recent video masterpiece) so I didn’t want to go to the Kialoa.  I had left my old Burnwater Reactor at home so the Reactor wasn’t going to be of much use.

F it.  I went over to the Burnwater tent and had a chat with Arin.  Luckily, he had a 48 Reactor II still available.  Hell, I planned to do a review on it anyways.

After a nice sheen of wax, the Reactor II was ready for the Men’s Final (we came in 2nd).  Ahhhh, the entries were SOOO nice and precise.  The Reactor II performed admirably in the Comp A Mixed Division as well.

Although not as light as the XL, the Reactor II is well balanced.  What separates Burnwaters from any of the paddles I’ve paddled is its tip and taper).  The tip and taper help create a pure and buttery entry.

Overall, I am very pleased with the new addition to the family.  I’m going to do a full-blown review of the Reactor II for readyandreach and Dragon Boat World International Magazine in the future.

(Above: Some of the TeamLARD weapons.  We don’t discriminate: Burwnater, Kialoa, and Trivium.  Notice my piece of crap red PaddleMe bag on the ground.  In SF, I replaced that with the Typhoon 8 Multi Paddle Bag – to be reviewed in the future)

5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 4, 2009 6:06 pm

    Out of all my paddles I own, I still love my burnwater reactor II hands down.

  2. chuck permalink
    October 4, 2009 6:33 pm

    I used 3 different paddles that weekend. I’m a long time Reactor owner. But I’ve noticed the blade was bubbling up. So I talked to Arin, and he agreed to work something out on Sunday. So for Satuday’s second mixed race, I paddled with an XL. Then my own Reactor for the mens races and mixed semi on Sunday. Then I finally got my hands on a Reactor 2 for the finals. (Thank god the warm up from the dock to the starting line is over 500 meters, LOL) Definitely XL is lighter, but for such short race, I really can’t feel how much difference it makes. But I do notice the Reactor I and II enters cleaner.

  3. October 6, 2009 6:56 pm

    been a long time apex user and it’s been a sturdy faithful companion getting thrown on a few flights as well. However I have a soft spot for your burnwater now 🙂 I can’t really analyze it since those two-ish minutes are a frenzied blur now!

  4. AVK permalink
    October 10, 2009 5:15 pm

    Hey thanks for the short-review on the Burnwater II. You said you used a 48″? May I ask how tall you are? Just trying to finalize whether to get a 48″ or 49″ Thanks!

    • paddlesports permalink*
      October 10, 2009 9:21 pm

      Hi AVK, I am 5’7″ and usually sit in 9 or 10.

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