Aqua-Bound (and sister company Bending Branches) consists of a tight knit group of more than three-dozen dedicated paddlers that walk through a factory door each day up in Osceola, Wisconsin, to make better gear for themselves — and their customers, many of whom go back a long ways with the brand, the world’s largest manufacturer of quality kayak, stand-up and canoe paddles.
“We’re not saying we have a revolutionary, paradigm shifting technology that will change the paddle landscape forever,” says Aqua-bound’s Andrew Stern, “because everyone knows that’s just fluff. But we do want to keep our customers in the best gear possible.”
To that end, last year Aqua-Bound launched the Whiskey and Tango compression-molded kayak paddles as the lightest, smoothest paddles they’d ever made, weighing in at just 23 oz. in Carbon and 26 oz. in Fiberglass. The time and energy that went into the designs and blade shapes introduced patterns unlike anything paddlers had previously seen from Aqua-Bound, sending production into overtime.
Now, Aqua-Bound is introducing two new models within its performance kayak family, a comfortable bent shaft and a 4-piece breakdown version of the Whiskey and Tango.
“We’re pouring everything we have into our composite paddles and looking to offer practical options for all flatwater paddlers,” continued Stern. “Whether you’re looking for less strain on your wrists and elbows, traveling to a dream destination, or simply looking for a lighter paddle, we have you covered.”
The goal with the bent shaft was to take what research shows is the smoothest possible forward stroke in paddling and compliment it with a shaft that offers a more natural wrist position — making each stroke more effortless and enjoyable. “We analyzed the physics of three different paddler body shapes for both women and men, focusing on every curve and movement affected by the paddling stroke,” explained Stern. “We even studied the hand grip position on the shaft, looking to make the shaft shape more comfortable. Motivated by our goal of ‘the most comfortable bent shaft in kayaking,’ our engineers used that intelligence to design our new bent shaft.”
One of the defining features of the bent shaft is an ovalized, asymmetrical triangular shaft diameter, designed for control strokes, and meant to fit into the crevasses of your fingers. Additionally, the 3K Plain Weave carbon shaft is one of the lightest shaft materials available, while also exceeding Aqua-bound’s break strength expectations through internal testing.
At weights of 25.5 oz. for Carbon models and 28.5 oz. for Fiberglass models, these are contenders to be the lightest option available in bent shaft designs on the market.
–This sponsored post was made possible in collaboration with Aqua-bound and PaddlingLife.net.