Thanks to Gearlab Paddles for providing this prototype 2015 Oyashio.
Finally, airborned straight from Gearlab factory in Taiwan to my local post office. it tingles in my fingers, when the new Gearlab 220cm AKIAK 2015 prototype arrives.
BEFORE it hits the water!First impressions are as expected, a great appearance of well-made design and work. Imagine ... a 2-piece design divisible Greenland paddle that fits easy in the cocpit for easy storage or on the kayak deck. light as a feather and strong as a bear.
The first thing I notice is that the tips are "removed" and replaced with solid Integrated and reinforced paddle tip. Goodbye to epoxy, nasaq and other additional reinforcements that have been required previously on all my paddles. Here Gearlab really made a difference I have not seen so much of before. If these tips are to be interchangeable, it had been top of the iceberg, and allows one to have his favorite paddle for life. The tip is perfectly streamlined with the rest of the paddle and I can not see that this has some impact on the performance in water.
The T-Joint has improved, and the low profile button is clearly not an obstacle for the otherwise streamlined paddle and its not in the way when sliding/changing paddlegrip possition. This paddle is also shoulderless with a nice trancition from the loom to blades making sure I have more freedom to decide between grip distance. This is a good opportunity in terms of kayak surfing and kayaking in bad weather and rough water. Allso it makes it feel stronger sins the trancition is more gently.
LET'S GET THE WATER where it belongs;)It's the first part og december in Trondheim, Norway and temperatures are well below zero. Will a carbon paddle from Taiwan deal with this? Have they gotten to create a paddle that tackles the Northern hemisphere?
Comparison! I have earlyer used the Gearlab Kuroshio that I find a bitt stiff making it exelent for teqnical paddling and fast forward strokes, and my One-Piece solid Red Cedar wood paddle with a good flexibility and less stiffness for daytrips both with shoulders. The AKIAK is a new experiense. The stiffness feels right between my old paddles and so far I think this paddle will compensate for both other paddles. The blades are perfectly trimmed and it runs thrue the wather like a warm knife in butter. No wobbling and it is very responsive to the strokes.
The new inforced tip!I was very excited about the tips, if it would have impact on the behavior of paddling but I notice no difference. It allso feels good that I do not have to worry about destroying the paddle when in shallow water over rocks and hard seabed.
The Behavior! the paddle has a wonderful buoyancy, making it an excellent paddle for eksimo rolling and bracing. I can hear some crackling sound from the paddle by heavy strokes but this is something I have experienced with all my paddles when they are new. That they are hollow also allows you actually hear the water trickle over the paddle blades and that is something I like, hearing mother nature. Allso the less sound the more proper technique is being done. It was a new experience to paddle with shoulderless paddle and I was hooked from the first moment. It dances between my hands and paddling in brott sea and steering draws with changing grip felt perfect.
The breakdown! The 2-piece breakdown button allso during paddling is not in the way, butt the rubber protection ring in the loom centre that covers the button I just wount use. Its to soft and it moves/rolls over when sliding over it with my hands. Anyway it has no important purpose so if you dont like it, take it of. I am still very excited of having a perfect greenland paddle that is divisible which makes it much more manageable for transport and storage. Conclucion! It is my new best friend that I can trust, and I know fills my requirements and takes guides me to where ever I want in any weather conditions.
Check out the original review on KayaKid.