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Whack

July 4, 2010

I pulled my ZRE XL out of its bag Friday, and found it in this condition.  Last time I paddled it was in SF last year.  For sure it didn’t happen while I was using it as I was paddling on our Black team and we don’t have timing issues to the extent of paddle clacking.

How did it happen?  I  have no idea.

I don’t have to rush out and buy a new paddle as I don’t use this paddle much but its damn expensive so I wanted to sell it this summer.  Oh well, I guess I need to change my plans… F.

For those of you interested in these types of things, the above picture was taken with the iPhone 4.  Focus point was on the crack.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. July 4, 2010 3:42 pm

    That sucks ! 😦

  2. July 4, 2010 8:41 pm

    I can fill that crack with epoxy, if it helps.
    I plan on paddle this coming Sunday, not Saturday.

  3. Gordon permalink
    July 7, 2010 3:20 pm

    That happened to my XL and with another of my team mate’s XL. Both of ours got punctured (mine 2 punctures just last weekend and only the second time it was used) after another team mate hit it during practice. I emailed ZRE asking if they sacrificed strength of the blade in order to make the paddle lighter because I have never seen this kind of damage after a hit with any of my other 4 carbon paddles. Here is ZRE’s response:

    “The XL paddle does have a lighter carbon skin on the face of the blade and is not meant to be hit with other paddles. Most teams are using them with great success, it is not a paddle for a beginner or to have paddles in your boat out of time. Paddling wise we have not seen any come back broken. Hitting paddles and damaging them in that respect is a timing issue, it also slows the boat speed down.”

    I’m not a beginner and know about timing and boat speed however experienced paddlers sometimes have a timing lapse during practice (you can’t control the paddlers in front or behind you) and paddles can hit during a race like if a boat goes off course so its unrealistic for ZRE to say the blade is not meant to be hit by other paddles and the XL probably can’t be hit by anything. Paddlers probably haven’t been complaining but simply patching it up thinking it was damaged during use so nothing they can do. ZRE needs to hear more about this kind of damage because at $280 it is expensive.

  4. paddlesports permalink*
    July 7, 2010 5:36 pm

    Hi Gordon,
    Thanks for the response. Glad I’m not the only one – I guess misery loves company. 😉

    For me, it’s simple when it comes to paddles. If a paddle is great, I’ll tell everyone on my team about it. I will let them try it out. I will write good things on this blog about the paddle. I will extol the virtues of the paddle.

    If the paddle sucks or breaks because of “timing” issues, same thing – I’ll tell everyone on my team know about it. I will write about it on this blog. I will extol the virtues of NOT buying that paddle.

    As it stands now, I won’t be buying a ZRE paddle again (I’ve owned the XL and one of their outrigger blades) nor will I recommend ZRE to other paddlers.

  5. Megan permalink
    July 8, 2010 7:10 am

    This is the danger of the mindset that lightweight equals performance. I’ve been selling paddles to consumers (non-dragon boat variety) for a long time. 9 times out of 10, the first question out of newer paddler’s mouths is, “How much does it weigh?” It’s the completely wrong way to go about choosing a piece of gear. It’s an important question, yes, but should not be the first one.

    In the world of kayak and canoeing the first question should be, “how will the design of this paddle improve my paddle stroke?” Now, in dragon boating, we’re regulated on this so we get what we get and we have to like it. That means the only thing the manufacturers can do is mess around with materials and weight. So the manufacturers walk right into the trap of lightweight equaling performance bit. I believe the questions for performance dragon boaters should be, “How well is this paddle made?” and “How does it feel in the water?”

    I’m not a composites expert but I’ve spent a fair amount of time around composites as paddles and boats in every kind of water condition possible. (Class V Rapids, North Atlantic Seas I thought were going to eat me, etc. etc.). What I know is that there is such a thing as too light. There is a line in which there is not enough integrity in the paddle to make it worth having because it’s simply not going to stand up to any kind of abuse, accidental or otherwise. And that just makes it a throw away item. A really, friggin’ expensive throw away item.

    Yes, weight is important when you are talking about the difference between a wood club paddle and a more performance based paddle. But the difference between 18 and 16 ounces is not going to make you a faster paddler. Loosing 10 pounds will make you a faster paddler, it will make your team faster, and it’s a lot cheaper.

    • paddlesports permalink*
      July 8, 2010 10:50 am

      Well said, Megan.

  6. Gordon permalink
    July 8, 2010 10:22 pm

    Yes Megan, well said. Dragon boat paddle specs haven’t changed except for weight. The IDBF finally adopted some 202a paddle changes last year. Merlin introduced a paddle with those new specs this year. I used in Vancouver and overall it performed very well.

    The CD3 is only slightly lighter (13.5-14 oz) than regular carbon paddles but is more aerodynamic (or would that be hydrodynamic). It has an aerospace thermoplastic core and woven carbon fiber. The blade tip is thinner and the shaft extends into the blade and tapers around it to create 2 concave surfaces on each side. It is a very nice design. I think the concave surface pulls water better than the current flat blades.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I have the Merlin CD2 and TD2, a Kialoa hybrid (which I like for rougher water conditions) and of course the ZRE XL.

  7. James permalink
    July 10, 2010 8:50 pm

    Hm… whats the length of it? I am need of a shorter paddle and won’t mind a discounted price 🙂

  8. paddlesports permalink*
    July 12, 2010 2:50 pm

    Instead of calling it the ZRE XL, they should call it the ZRE Egg Shell.

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