Skip to content

Champion’s Prototype Full Carbon Dragon Boat Paddle

January 26, 2010

Last weekend, TK brought out a prototype of Champion’s full carbon blade for LARD to try out.

That’s the Champion blade on the far left.  The first thing I noticed was the raised line that extends down the blade from the shaft.  It kind of reminds me of the Apex paddles.  The Kialoa Hybrid “line” tapers more as it gets closer to the middle of the blade face.  I’m not sure if this makes too much of a difference performance-wise but it is something that I noticed visually.

The grip on the paddle was a palm-style grip.  It’s made of some sort of hard plastic (how’s that for technical?).  I didn’t get any information from Champion but I’d guess that you’ll have a choice of grip.  Me personally, I’m not a huge fan of the large palm-style grip but there are many out there that love it.

One of the first things I look at on every paddle is the tip and taper.

The tip on this bad-boy is pretty sharp (good).  It’s sharper than the Burnwater Reactor II.  However, the Champion doesn’t taper quite like the Reactor II.  The Champion’s tip has more taper than the ZRE Dragon XL and the Kialoa Hybrid.

Just looking at the tip and taper of the Champion, I expected better entries with this blade than the ZRE but not as good as the Burnwater.  My onwater session with the Champion confirmed my expectation.  As for entries, I felt that the entries were pretty solid – not quite as pleasing as a solid entry with the Reactor II but better than the Dragon XL and just a smidge better than the Kialoa Hybrid.

In the water, the paddle felt stiff – just the way I like it.  There was no discernible flex at any point of the paddling stroke.  Overall, the feel was solid.  Not magical, but solid.  The other paddlers that paddled the blade had no complaints – perhaps some of them can add there comments below.

As for weight, I can’t give you a very precise comparison as all the dragon boat paddles I own are 48″ (with the exception of the Grey Owl).  The Champion we tested is 49”.   Also, I have a good build-up of wax on my paddle shafts adding a bit of weight to them.  I am WAY too lazy to scrape all that wax off.

That being said, the 49″ Champion weighs in at 476 grams, my Reactor II weighs in at 390 grams, and the ZRE Dragon XL weighs in at 316 grams.  The Kialoa Hybrid (made of carbon and wood) weighs in at 554 grams.  My wooden Grey Owl (47.5″) weighs at a big fat 645 grams.

As for workmanship, I’d give it a grade of “B”.  Here’s a side view of the shaft that reveals the seam.  Not quite as clean carbon work as the Reactor II.

As this was a prototype paddle, IF this paddle goes into production, it is likely that there will be some changes to the paddle.  I do not believe it is certified yet with the IDBF 202a spec and I have my doubts it can get certified with the current blade tip.

Is this paddle the new end all be all?  For me, no.  However, assuming that the production model is about the same as this protoype, I think Champion can sell quite a few of these IF they price it right.  If they sell this paddle at a price point that is considerably lower than the top of the line Burnwater and ZRE blades, they’ll sell these things like hotcakes.  If they are similarly priced, I’d recommend Burnwater, then Kialoa, then ZRE. If I had to choose between Trivium and the Champion, I’d likely give the nod to Trivium.

That’s it for now.  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Advertisements
3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 26, 2010 9:02 pm

    Hey Scott, thank you very much for taking the time to write this review. I will try to get this to Champion.

  2. chuck permalink
    January 26, 2010 9:25 pm

    Hey! My Kialoa paddle made it on to RnR. I’m so proud now. LOL

    I paddled a bit with the Champion paddle in the back of the boat, so kind of hard to get a really good feel of the paddle with all the dirty water. But it felt solid. I have nothing negative to say.

  3. Ed Sun permalink
    August 1, 2011 5:57 pm

    I have been using one for 2 months and have found it to be a very good paddle. It has changed quite a bit since Scott’s review. The Apex style raised line is gone. And it looks more like a BurnWater than anything else now. A 49′ BW weights 350 grams. And a Champion of the same length is 280, a whopping 70 grams lighter. For some people, it might be too light. But not for me. The blade is clean and sharp. The curved T grip is comfortable and easy to get used to. Pros: light, sharp blade for clean entry, 1/2 the price of its competitors. Cons: looks generic, lacks catchy logos, artwork. Unknown: durability. Heck, with this price, if I break one, I’ll just buy another, and still be cheaper than 1 BW.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  • RSS What’s Scott Doing Now?

  • teamLARD Twitter Feed

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 18 other followers

  • %d bloggers like this: