User Review: Aqua-Bound Shred Carbon
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $150
A carbon-fiber and ABX hybrid paddle that offers a lot of good for a very reasonable amount of dough!
Simply put...if you have the money to spend on a great paddle...there are better paddles out there in the +$300 range...but this is one of the rare paddles which offers most of what better paddles offer for under $150. Where this paddle splurged you notice the difference...and where this paddle saved...you’ll never know it!
Kayaking more often than not requires holding the paddle in the air for much longer periods of time than say canoeing (gulp!)...and the need to swiftly move the paddle from one side to another makes the choice of a heavy paddle more costly for kayaking than it does for say canoeing (gulp!)...where moving the paddle from one side of the boat to another is in most cases unnecessary. For these reasons the strength and weight of carbon-fiber offers a lot of advantages...but getting your hands on a carbon-fiber paddle for under 200 clams is difficult to say the least.
The Aquabound Carbon-Shred brings the A-game of carbon at B-squad prices. The shaft comes in 192-200 cm lengths and Aquabound offers it in any twist you prefer. The shaft of the paddle is stiff...has a great feel...just make sure you get the small diameter paddle if your hands are 7" in length or smaller...my hands are just over 7" and I use the smaller shaft since I always use gloves.
The brilliance of this paddle is in marrying a carbon shaft with an ABX (plastic) blade...carbon and composite blades are very expensive to produce...and one of the most vulnerable parts of a paddle. By combining two usually different paddle types into a single paddle users get most of the strength and weight savings of a carbon-shaft...with the durability and economy of plastic blades.
As far as performance...most paddlers will hardly notice the little bit of give in the blade...and only in serious rapids is this actually a concern. The company pitch is to suggest that the give will produce less stress on your back and shoulders...but this is mostly marketing hype to make the weaknesses of plastic sound like advantages. The truth is actually much better than the marketing...ABX is cheaper...more durable than carbon and composite in most cases...and the difference in performance is imperceptible by all but the most advanced users...see...I want to buy it again already!
In summary...I've used and abused this paddle for the last two years...it has taken everything I can give it...and shows no signs of being any less for the wear. I think there is good reason that so many reviewers praise this paddle as having the most bang for your buck...for 90% of users out there...its the lightest...most able paddle you'll ever need...why spend more?