This past winter I finally got a new paddle. My almost 10 year old 210cm Shuna is still going strong, with the many chips on the blade edges and loosening of the joints not really making a substantive impact amongst the rapids, but I both wanted something new and shiny, and wanted to have two top drawer paddles for both M and myself to use simultaneously. It was never really a question to go Werner, as the Shuna has been such an unmitigated delight, but with packrafting having expanded and Werner now making their whole catalogue in 4 piece I had plenty of choices. After much mulling I decided on a Corryvrecken in 205 cm.
The first decision was that I did not want to get a whitewater paddle. Werner’s whitewater paddles feel substantially heavier in the hand, and don’t come with the adjustable feather of the touring paddles. The Shuna has been burly enough for my needs, and I find the adjustable feather invaluable paddling into those inevitable afternoon headwinds, so this was an easy choice. That said, with the Shuna already in the quiver it made sense to go in a more whitewater specific direction, with a shorter shaft and larger blades. You can get the Corryvrecken in 200 cm, but I was worried that in a shaft that short I would loose versatility (specifically, not being able to use it comfortably with our wider 2 person packrafts). I seriously considered getting a fancy carbon paddle, but the performance to dollar ratio seemed off, especially with the standard fiberglass blades being the most durable choice. That Alpacka stocks the 205 Corryvrecken made the choice easier still, as I could use a discount code.
As promised, the new paddle feels quite distinct from the old. Tight new joints are welcome. The shorter length is without question less comfy in the big boats, and in the smaller ones on hours-long mellow paddles. It is also sharper and faster in whitewater. The Corry blade is just over 100 square cm larger, a distinction which is very evident. I’m not yet strong enough to turn the big blade over for hours on flatwater, but the added backbone when bracing and steering, especially in aerated water, has been a huge positive. Using the longer Shuna for mellower stuff and the shorter Corry in the steeps has worked just as well as you would think.
As a bonus, I can mix and match the blades. The Corry gets a good bit of its length from the blades, so the Shuna blades on the shorter shaft make for a rather short 198 cm paddle. The Corry blades on the longer shaft makes for a lengthy 214 cm paddle, which does work nicely for pushing our Explorer 42 fast on moving water.
The fade on the new blades is pretty fun, too.
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