Paddling the Kialoa Dragon Hybrid 1.1
This past weekend, we broke out the Kialoa Dragon Hybrid 1.1 dragon boat paddle that the Shanghai team will be using when we head of to China next month.
Don’t let the “1.0” to “1.1” label trick you. This does not feel like a minor update. Although the update consists primarily of making the tip of the blade sharper, this change makes the paddle feel like a “2.0” update. It’s that different.
This past weekend I paddled with the 1.1 on a 10-man dragon boat with the team heading for Shanghai. I also paddled it on Sunday on the team’s OC2 working out and coaching Alicia. She had an older ZRE Dragon Z paddle. Other 1.1’s were sprinkled throughout the 20-man dragon boats we had going this weekend.
Comparing the 1.0 to the 1.1, there’s a difference of night and day. The entries are so much better with the 1.1. One of the best entries of any dragon boat paddles I’ve tried to date. Many of my teammates agree. Although one did not feel any difference.
I was actually going back and forth between the ZRE and the 1.1 on the OC2 and the difference between the two paddles is remarkable. Not only is the 1.1’s entry cleaner, the balance of the 1.1 during the pull and recovery phases of the stroke are noticeable. Although the 1.1 is heavier than the ZRE paddle, it felt more balanced in the air. The ZRE might be a tad stiffer during the pull phase but the advantages the 1.1. has, in my opinion, outweighs the the weight difference.
Advanced paddlers will also appreciates the details that makes the Kialoa Dragon Hybrid 1.1 so good – from the elliptical shaft and the flat top and flat leading edge of the handle. These small details allow an advanced paddler to feel the exact position of the blade in the water. Good stuff.
Is it worth upgrading from the 1.0 to 1.1? In my opinion, definitely.
I’m sure the teamLARD Kialoa group paddle order that arrives this week (thanks, Mark!) will make a lot of paddlers smile.