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Two Great Paddles...
When I’m on the water fishing in one of my Wilderness Systems fishing kayaks, the last thing I want to worry about is my paddle. I want a light, ergonomically designed, well-balanced paddle with an oversized blade.
For the past 6 years I’ve had all of this bundled in the Adventure Technology Exodus SL. To say I’m spoiled is an understatement.
During my kayak fishing seminars I always recommend that kayak fishing enthusiasts buy the highest quality and lightest paddle they can afford. Years ago I paddled with a “too heavy” paddle and it really did take some of the fun out of my kayak fishing, as well as adding fatigue and stress to my arms and shoulders. When on the water all I want to be worrying about is how to catch those smallmouth bass, not how heavy and uncomfortable my paddle is and that my arms are going to be very tired after 4 or 5 hours on the water. Many kayak anglers I talk to may buy a nice kayak, but then go cheap on the paddle. A good kayak and paddle are both extremely important to maximize your experience.
With hundreds of hours on the water with the AT Exodus Superlight (SL), and sometimes paddling long distances into wind, I don’t even think about the paddle. It just feels part of me, and that’s how it should be. The Exodus SL I use is 230 cm, but is expandable to 235 cm – a nice bonus. It weighs 28 ounces and has full carbon braided construction. The blade is oversized, adding to my ability to move water, but not so aggressive to add extra strain on my shoulders. The Ergo shaft design has a slight bend where the hands grip the paddle, and it puts my wrists and forearms in an extremely comfortable position. The shaft is not round, but somewhat oval, which I find more comfortable to grip. Another plus to the Ergo shaft and oval shape is in windy conditions when I rest the paddle on my lap while fishing, it doesn’t spin in the wind like a straight shaft paddle that’s round. Also, the balance of this paddle is perfect, with proper weight distribution from blade tip to blade tip. This is very apparent when paddling. I have handed my Exodus SL too many kayakers over the years and the looks on their faces is priceless. Almost always they comment on how light it feels compared to what they are using and are always intrigued by the Ergo shaft.
Another great paddle that I used for the first time this year, and have been very impressed with, is the AT Oracle Carbon. This paddle is 31 ounces, is constructed of woven carbon fiber and has the same Ergo shaft I prefer with the Exodus SL. The big difference is that the blade on the Oracle Carbon, which is also oversized, is more aggressive. It is shorter, but taller, allowing the paddler to push even more water.
I tend to be careful with my paddles, but some of my fellow Wilderness Systems Pro Staffers are not, especially those who fish shallow rivers. Both the Exodus SL and Oracle Carbon can handle rough use with ease.
A top fishing kayak, like any of the Wilderness System models will enhance your experience on the water. But, take it from me – use a quality lightweight paddle. You’ll be amazed at how this one essential piece of equipment will make your time on the water so much more enjoyable.
Bill Schultz is a proud member of the Wilderness Systems & Adventure Technology Pro Teams