We’ve have a new Vertical Element four piece breakdown paddle here at Unsponsored HQ for review. Vertical Element are a UK based company who design and manufacture their own custom whitewater and recreational paddles.
I reckon that if you need to use a set of breakdown paddles when on a river trip the chances are something epic has occurred, and in situations like this I would want a set of breakdowns that were at least as good as the set I had lost or broke.
Over the last few months we’ve had a fair bit of near gear at Unsponsored HQ lined up for testing. One of the hottest pieces of gear this summer has been the VE Explorer Aircore Pro Carbon Bladed paddles.
I had two sets of these paddles to test with different blade areas. These can be seen in the lower part of the image with a whitewater set at the top for comparison.
The old current kit topics on the forum were always popular, so I thought I’d give you all an update of my current kit for July 2014.
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.
I’ve been using Vertical Element full carbon custom crank paddles for some time and love them. I was able to get a custom set of paddles (left handed) on a cranked shaft ordered and delivered within a couple of days (inc a weekend). Awesome service and a great British product.
James Bebbington has put this little promo together about VE.
The old current kit topics on the forum were always popular, so I thought I’d give you all an update of my current kit.
The following images were taken yesterday with a GoPro Hero 3 – Black edition. Micro SD card is a 64GB Sandisk. Image quality set at 12MP and spot metering was switched on. Images taken every second! Continue reading
I’ve waited a while for this one and I’m really please that Sam has taken the time to take part in the Unsponsored 2013 Q&A series. I’ve known Sam for many many years, I reckon 12 years +.
Sam has consistently and quite quietly been out charging some of the biggest whitewater around the globe and hunting down some first descents closer to home. Sam is simply a superb paddler and it’s been great to have the opportunity to paddle with him over the years. Keep on charging!
Tell us a little a bit about you accomplishments in the canoeing/kayaking world.
My accomplishments, I got “most improved paddler award” at my old canoe club one year when I was 13ish which I was well proud of!! Been on GB freestyle team for a few years competed in a World Champs and some European champs, a few first d’s. Paddled some of the most amazing whitewater on the planet with some great friends.
Name: Dale Mears
I am a member of team wavesport here in the UK and a keen paddler of both freestyle and river running. I am a secondary school teacher so manage to hold a successful career and paddle. I think for all you young guns out there it is just as important to have a back up in life in case anything happens or you become injured. I am also a keen photographer both water based and off the water check out my photos here www.flickr.com/dalemears. Continue reading
OK first things first, I am right-handed but paddle left-handed and have done for decades. This makes the process of purchasing paddles a bit of a nightmare! My last two sets of paddles have been Werner Sidekicks and in the case of my full carbon versions had involved a long wait for them to arrive from the States.
I make no apologies for comparing the Vertical Element paddles against my Werner paddles in this review as Werner paddles are considered by many to be the best WW paddles on the market.
Vertical Element paddles are put together here in the UK, any length, any feather. So from ordering, paying and then receiving, in my case took all of four days including a weekend. This in itself makes them a very attractive option for me. My VE’s are full carbon, cranked shaft, set at 35 degrees and 197cm in length. So apart from the cranked shaft I have went for a set up that is identical to the Werner Sidekicks that I have been using for the last few years. I have been using the VE’s for a couple of months now so it’s about time to commit my initial thoughts to the site.
A little background on VE:
Vertical Element is a British company driven by elite paddlers with backgrounds in composite engineering and advanced design.
Using this experience and knowledge we have created a new standard in white water paddles.
After an extensive period of research and development by Britain’s finest creeking and freestyle paddlers, we are ready to share this innovation in paddle design with you.
VE offers a personalised service priding itself in the manufacture of lightweight paddles that optimize power and enhance performance