Here's my post that started it all..
"Sliced cheese and Onno paddles - both seem to have a rabid contigent of raving dittoheads that can't seem to get over their prideful "discovery" of ultralight and ultracheep."
"Wow! A carbon paddle for only $175, can it be? Sure can. But there's a coupla problems. It's fair to say that carbon paddles, in general, are light, and a bit delicate at best. They all require care and are not the best choice for pushing off docks and rocks."
"And when you go ultralight, "Oh No!" is exactly what you're gonna say when it chips or breaks. A number of leading paddlers (like Derek Hutchinson, et al) have rightfully pointed out there really is a practical limit - that the minor gains in lightness are far overshadowed by a significant loss of durability."
"You need a paddle that is reasonably light, but tough enough to stand on, and push off docks and rocks without damage. The OhNo! may not be your paddle. And to be fair the OhNo's are made by an individual who seems to have a checkered reputation for delivery and warranty issues (Link to OhNo! Concerns".
"So is there an answer? Something with the lightness of carbon with the toughness of glass/plastic? Sure is."
"Now mind you I own a buncha paddles, from entry level to very expensive carbon racing wing paddles. But one day on the beach I found an Aquabound carbon blend that was plenty light, but tough as nails. Honest, you can smack it against the driveway, push off coral and barnacles - it's tough. But still plenty light enough for all but racing paddlers! And the price is very right. They now call it the Elite series. For rough, everyday use it's the only carbon I use."
"Let the buyer beware..."
Needless to say, the lurking onnoheads leapt to a rabid defense, in a mad hatter attack of dizzying proportions. Knowing full well that the use of ordinary logic, facts and citations are doomed to failure with these yakultists, I devised a clever retort (this ploy was gonna be good - really good)...
So just for fun, I posted the following...
"Thanks to the rabid OhNo! users who took a break from their slumber party to rave on about their purchases. Not entirely unexpected of course."
"It's my firm opinion that the OhNo! is really a finesse type paddle designed for those few who are willing to chance the trade-offs in using an ultralight carbon paddle."
"The OhNo! ultralight carbons are NOT designed for surf, rock gardens or other challenging conditions."
"They are NOT appropriate for some common SIK remounts as they may break. If you persist in owning such a carbon ultralight you are well advised to carry a stronger spare paddle."
"Certainly these OhNo! owners would agree..."
Well this worked perfectly!. The now slobbering onnoheads went completely ballistic! I was completely and utterly wrong they asserted, adding that I obviously didn't have a clue. Why I didn't even own an OhNo! and had no right to bash their beloved sex toy. Trap set...
And trap sprung! My gleeful reply...
"Aw, I'm sorry. It's time to come clean, I've been havin a lil fun with you boys and girls, and I set ya up. Just hadda do it. "My" opinions - with which you OhNoheads took great issue - were not mine at all! Nope."
"They were those of "Patrick", the owner and manufacturer of OhNo hisself! Read on and weep..."
"I said "...the OhNo! is really a finesse type paddle designed for those few who are willing to chance the trade-offs in using an ultralight carbon paddle." You disagreed. Actually I stole this from Patrick -"
Patrick: "I build strong, safe, lightweight paddles for finesse type paddlers who overwhelmingly appreciate them and are willing to accept the tradeoffs involved with using a paddle that is half the weight.
"I said "The OhNo! ultralight carbons are NOT designed for surf, rock gardens or other challenging conditions." Again, stolen and straight from Patrick -"
Patrick: "Be nice to your paddle on land. Rocks / waves...trails? you would not wear slippers hiking so please do not use that ultralite touring paddle in the surf. If you do and it breaks have the couth to admit your irresponsibility.
"And last I said "They are NOT appropriate for some common SIK remounts as they may break. If you persist in owning such a carbon ultralight you are well advised to carry a stronger spare paddle." Where'd I get this one? Yup, Patrick (discussing the use of his ultralights for SIK reentry)..."
Patrick: The magazines and books, which print this should at least include a warning that such a circus act is going to seriously compromise the structural integrity of the paddle. The situation, which warrants this kind of reentry, would be made far more grave if your paddle were to snap in two at the line, fold up and possibly sink . Carrying an extra paddle I hope.
"And he adds..."
Patrick: "In my opinion the ideal set up is to have a superlight (preferably one piece) paddle as the primary, while carrying a much beefier 2 piece paddle in some other size as a spare.
So there ya are. Not really my opinions at all, but that of the maker himself, and many, many others. Let me add a few more for your reading pleasure..
How bout the well regarded Mariner and their Lightning Paddles...
Mariner: "We don't recommend an Ultralight for surfing or ocean rock garden playing (and we certainly won't produce one in a white water configuration), but otherwise it is THE most enjoyable blade available for just putzing around on the pond, or for long distance cruising.
"We hesitate to recommend an Ultralight as a true expedition paddle, but many of them are purchased for just that purpose.
And the guys at Voyager Paddles advise...
Voyager: "A foam core is sometimes used to further reduce weight at the expense of durability. Alternatively, designs can accentuate strength and durability by all cloth construction or by allowing in-depth insertion shaft insertion.
Had enough? How bout one more from the well-respected Canoe and Kayak Magazine:
Canoe and Kayak:
"Weight: Having a lightweight paddle is perhaps the single most critical variable in preventing long-distance fatigue, because you’re hefting it all day long, day after day. In that regard, some of these paddles are almost unbelievably light, as little as 12 ounces.
Remember, however, that what you gain in weight you give away, potentially, in durability and stability in the water.
Durability: A nice paddle might last you a lifetime, and considering the price of a good paddle, it had better last at least a respectable portion of a lifetime. New-age materials like carbonfiber or graphite, along with advanced lamination technology and amazing glues, have given manufacturers some tremendous advantages, but durability still remains a concern, especially at the lightweight end of the paddle spectrum.
And last, in the world of high performance surfski speed and endurance racing - where lightness and and performance are valued at any cost - the OhNo! isn't even in the top 10. You'll find Epic, Bracca, SET, Kynsna, Fenn, Simon River, Bratcha and more.
But no, no, no - not the OhNo! It apparently didn't make the cut where uncompromised performance was concerned.
Finally, I'm gonna retract another mistake I made, implying that the OhNo! carbons were available - cheep - for $175. Showin my age. OhNo! pricing has increased a bit - with entry level carbon blends now at $235, ultralight carbons at $325 and carbon wings at $375 (all for two piece versions). Not so inexpensive after all.
Some very fine South African carbon blends and carbons from such proven entities as SET and Knysna (KSwing) to name just two - are well known, light, tough and proven paddles - and - are less expensive.
Folks, it's like anything else. You're always gonna find dittoheads who suffer from purchaser bias. And this is particularly true with a small number of cult products.
The OhNo! paddle is one of them. And that was my point, after all. Truth is it's probably an OK paddle, but with the considerable limitations of its original ultralight design. There's nothing really wrong with his ultralights but there are most certainly some VERY significant tradeoffs.
Let the buyer beware.
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