The Schlegel Topline paddle was probably THE paddle of the late eighties – mid nineties. Tough, hardwearing and almost indestructible. The Topline came in a number of flavours but the most distinctive was the River Safety edition. They have one blade painted neon pink and the other neon green/yellow for signalling on the river!
Schlegels classic model has dominated the rivers of our planet for more than 10 years. Now improved with the very latest materials: fibre-reinforced, high-density foam for stiffer blades, aluminium protective insert around the edge of the blade. In addition there is the comfort of soft foam hand grips which minimise heat loss to the hands whilst increasing grip control. The blade is reinforced by the shaft running along almost its entire length, allowing the most powerful paddlestrokes in the toughest white water.
I picked up a left handed set of Topline Tech III back in the early 1990s and despite being hammered every weekend for 8 years still looks pretty good today. The only real limiting factor is that the paddle is really stiff as the aluminium shaft extends to almost the tip of each place.In addition being set at 90 degrees means that they really hammer your wrist joints. However, I have been planning for some time to split the paddle and rejoin them at a more comfortable 35 degrees.
The foam grips on the shaft is very effective and reduces the chances of the paddle slipping from your hands as well as being very comfortable to use on cold days out on the water.
In terms of design the Topline is no longer at the cutting edge and most paddlers seem to prefer going for a set of Werner paddles as a first choice. Toplines do come up on the forums now and again and are well worth picking up to use as your everyday paddle or to split and make up in to spares.