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Top Photo: The bail-out, an integral part of the paddle surfing experience.
A multi-flip/flop story: Loved the molded, bulb grip that came on my first paddle (Pohaku 2 piece). I swore that I'd never use any other type of handle- the thing just fit. Unfortunately, I snapped that paddle in six months. As a replacement, I bought another C4 paddle (Thanks Emerald City!)- this time with a one piece shaft and the same style of grip. The one piece was stronger and the paddle worked well- I thought I was satisfied.
Until I started paddling with a Kialoa Shaka Pu'u. This paddle features a very aggressive T-style grip. I'd never used a T grip before I bought this paddle and I was a little leery of how it'd work out. That paddle blew my mind! The thing fit my hand and the arms off the T-grip nestled across the palm of my hand gave me lots of leverage over the blade. I was loving it- until it snapped after three months of use.
Back to the C4- after paddling for three months with a T, the bulb felt big and overly rounded in my hands. Eventually, I got over it and it worked fine. But I needed a back up paddle- so I went with a paddle I'd heard good things about. I bought a Quickblade- the only brand that I haven't seen snap. The paddle came with the padded T-Grip, which predictably, felt strange all over again- but I've since gotten use to it. The padded grip is worth the extra money- believe me, you'll like it. This paddle is my latest fixation.
Moral of the story: You can get used to anything- best bet is to find a paddle that will last. I haven't snapped my one piece C4 yet and it's been almost a year. However, I've come to prefer the fly weight lightness and T-grip of the QuickBlade. The plush T-grip is something you've got to try too- it may become a requirement for me. At least until I flip/flop back to something else.
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