Just so you all know I have nothing to do with any companies I just like sharing info and new stuff for the hell of it. Merry Christmas to ME, this is my present to myself, it's how we roll in this house so no one gets a surprise they don't want??
So this arrived yesterday while I was relaxing in Healesville over night and I am looking forward to putting it all together. As you would expect the carbon quality and finish is great just like their fins and the bag is really good compared to my KeNalu one which was good but in comparison is sub standard in fabric and zip choices. The extra zipped pockets are a nice touch and has adjustable length options as do all the others but really I have not seen one quite this nice. The shaft is tapered to the handle and the ergonomic grip is pretty much the same as my KeNalu Mana. My intention is to make this about 3in longer than my Mana so I get more depth on my stroke without having to bend in half especially in a DW situation when you hit a trough and need to accelerate and you can't get enough paddle grab.
I probably won't notice too much difference with weight compared to my other carbon paddles but who knows and for a novice like me it may or may not make me faster but hey I can always dream!!!
Had the first go at the new VMG Orca paddle this morning and thought I would give you a layman's assessment of how it performs. I have a KeNalu Mana that has been my go to paddle for DW and time trial runs and I love it and think it's a great paddle but the shaft is only slightly higher than my KeNalu Wiki and my JL sidewinder is a lot higher off the water so I needed a longer shaft on another paddle and have always liked the VMG fins and thought the Orca will be good quality and slightly different in shape.
Value wise it cost $500au unassembled with the bag included which compared to the KeNalu is really good and the quality is great as is the KeNalu. The handle on the Orca is larger and suited my hand much better and my hand did not cramp up as it normally will on a 5km time trial but that could be good luck instead of good design??? The shaft is tapered and I have the medium flex and it felt the same as the KeNalu shaft BUT it is a smooth finish unlike the Mana and as you would expect it caused my hand to slip when I was really getting hot. You can buy a grip but the rough texture on the KeNalu is better for gripping so that's the only difference that I noticed.
The paddle has a similar profile to the Mana but there are differences in thickness, contour and surface area and the Mana is the larger surface area of the 2 paddles. While I was not at my best today I will say the Orca when angled correctly to the water enters the water so smoothly it's like a Chinese diver entering from the 10m platform. The initial catch is perfect on those occasions and the pull through is like carving through warm butter and it does not alter direction or shudder in any way and exit is clean. Now as I mentioned the shaft is longer so the depth of the paddle is different to the Mana and both are great but I could feel a difference between the two brands and I have some data to compare.
Today was one of my slowest times over 5km for a few weeks but I have compared the speed and meters gained per stroke from similar times so a comparison can be made.
Today I did 1579 strokes average 37 per min and a max of 47 strokes at 3.17m per stroke, average speed 7.1kmph max speed 9.6kmph.
My worst time is a few minutes longer with 1979 strokes, 44 per min and max 66 strokes per min and 2.53m per stroke, average speed 6.7kmph and max 8.6kmph using the Mana paddle
The next closest time I have is faster than today by 1 min with 1791 strokes, 43 per min average, 56 max and 2.75m per stroke, average speed 7.6kmph max 8.9kmph.
My absolute fastest time is 3min better than today and was done when I had been in lockdown and could paddle most days and was in perfect flat conditions again with the Mana paddle.
1709 strokes, 43min 68max 2.94m per stroke, Average speed 7.7kmph max 9.9kmph
Looking at these figure I think on my best day I can do a much better time trial PB with the Orca paddle than I can with my old favourite and this can be due to the extra shaft length or the design of the paddle or both, I have no idea which it is but everyone can decide for themselves. The way I look at it I have some great paddles to use for surf, race or DW either way.