Great thanks go to Dave Graves at ACK-Houston for help in ordering and
tolerating my impatience prior to delivery.
So here is the review:
This is my first encounter with a carbon fiber shaft + carbon fiber paddle.
The space age materials rock! Blade and shaft stiffness translate to
really moving through the water. Similar with Werners, I suppose.
The wood inserts in the paddle add some weight. They look pretty but I
would probably trade them for less weight and increased durability in our
Most of my paddling is in less than 2 feet of water along salt marshes
and shorelines. I generally don't need to paddle great distances but fight
SUP Paddle Review: Set up as a SUP Paddle, the Trident really pushes
water. The non-traditional shape worried me in pictures: would I be able
to maneuver as well as with a standard "shovel" paddle? The answer is
yes and no. Paddling and turning is actually a bit easier with the trident
shape. When the blade is further from the board edge, it catches
maximum water. This makes positioning exceptionally easy. The trade
off is less raw power in a touring set up.
Kayak Paddle Review: The Trident has a quick lock system that allows
you to take off handle and replace it with a second trident shaped blade.
Voila! You now have a traditional sit down kayak paddle in your hands.
This is a great convenience for my needs. I will often cruise flats with a
wind at my back in SUP mode looking for fish. Then I need to get back to
my launch site with a facing wind. Not much fun standing, to say the
least. Being able to convert to a traditional kayak paddle confuguration
really makes the Trident a valuable tool. As a sit down paddle, it has less
cup to the blade than you would like and tends to twist a bit with strong
strokes. With that said, paddling the Adios in a sitting position is a
perfectly viable alternative with this paddle and my speed is good.
Push Pole Review: Dave Graves graciously suggested that I protect the
pretty wood handle on the SUP extension before using it as a push pole.
Two dollars of commercial neoprene, some glue and electric tape
covered the wood well. This matters for me, as there are plenty of
oysters in my marsh and I dread the thought of shredding a $500 paddle
with oyster rash! and WOW this is where the Versa Trident shines. I can
plane my Adios across a mere inch or two of water by turning the SUP
upside down and going to push pole mode. Perfect for getting into grass,
across flats and positioning for the perfect fly cast. It doesn't work as a
stake out stick, so I still carry one.
Bottom Line: Like EVERYTHING in the paddle world, the Versa Trident
has a number of trade offs. It is neither the best touring SUP paddle nor
traditional kayak paddle on the market. But its quality and design make
it a reasonalbe alternative for both. Where it shines is in shallow water
real life fishing conditions. My real need is to slip quietly along a grassy
shoreline looking for tailing reds in shallow water. I drag and wheel more
than cross open water. I want to be able to stop and turn easily. The
Versa Trident fits that requirement perfectly. The telescoping extension
makes it a good tool for big craft (i.e. Hobie Pro Anglers) in shallow
water where peddling may be a challenge. It is costly but worth the
investment to carry one tool for three purposes.
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