Since owning a shiny set of new custom made glass VE paddles I have found them to be an incredible piece of kit. I chose them with a cranked carbon shaft and as splits. The paddles have been put to the real test in Kenya’s steep creaks for the last five weeks. Before purchasing my VE paddles I heard a few people raving about them but I didn’t understand the fuss until I tried them for myself. After borrowing a set I initially took a liking to them and decided to buy a set for myself as splits so I could put the paddles in my boat for the flights and avoid any hassle with baggage getting separated or damaged.
Stu from VE paddles was very helpful being able to make the VE paddles to my specific requirements. I wanted them to be 200cm long but to not have the cranks supper wide like I have experienced with other brands. The crank distance on my previous set of shoguns suited me well so I measure the distance from finger to finger when holding the paddles and sent this off to VE paddles to be included in my order. Having the cranks a specific width apart protects my shoulders and the extra paddle length allows me to ensure I get the maximum amount power for the essential boof strokes.
When paddling rivers that have never been explored you can never be sure how many rapids there will be and how big the distance between them will be. During the flat sections I was able to extend the length of my paddle which was a big benefit for conserving energy. I really like being able to have the option to changing the feathering of my paddles depending on how I am feeling that day and when I jump in my play boat I decrease the angle even more to make moves flow with ease.
A slight worry I had before buying the paddles was if the shaft join will be strong enough. I thought surely they can’t be as strong as non-splits but I have found the design to be totally bomb proof! Kenya’s rugged environment is for sure not easy on kit yet my VE paddles were one of the only pieces of kit to survive! Another huge advantage was when we had to walk out of a river and catch a Boda Boda motorbike home I was able put the paddles in my kayak, forget about them and hold on to the bike for dear life!
I will definitely be taking my VE paddles on future trips as their design, value and reliability are second to none!
Article by: Tom Hodge