"Shaka Pu'u" Stand Up Paddle by Kialoa
By: Stand Up Paddle Surfing Magazine
Friday, 01 February 2008
It's time for another gear review! After the devastating loss of Assc. Editor Bill Ward's paddle the other week, stand up paddles has been the topic of discussion ever since, and the other day provided the opportunity to test out the new Shaka Pu'u paddle by Kialoa. This all carbon fiber paddle weighs a mere 22 oz and, in our experience, delivers nothing short of superior performance.
The Handle: The Shaka Pu'u has a T-grip handle that we found extremely comfortable. The handle is smooth and actually has a slight forward curve to it that allows you to easily orient the blade while keeping your vision straight ahead. We didn't notice any hotspots that could potentially cause blisters. When powerstroking, the handle felt secure and comfortable. (Secure has always been on Nate's mind since his paddle slipped out of his hand, mid-powerstroke, and whacked him in the face last year See Editor's Blog. He felt good with this paddle.)
The Shaft: The narrow diameter and pronounced oval shape of the
shaft was a big plus. Why might this be a positive thing? You might
compare it to doing pull-ups on a pull up bar as compared with doing
pull ups on a wide tree branch. Most people can do many more pull ups
on a thin metal bar than a wide tree limb. When it's easy to get a firm
grip on the bar or paddle shaft, there is less energy exerted to keep
the paddle in your hand and more energy available for delivering power
to the stroke. In short, a narrow shaft means less hand fatigue and
more power. We didn't notice any abnormal flex or stiffness in the
The Blade: The Shaka Pu'u blade is flat as opposed to
the dihedral blade of some other paddle makers. Those are the blades
with that spike to prevent the blade from fluttering during the stroke.
To our surprise, the blade did not flutter at all. We never felt the
blade floating or wandering. This is Kiloa's smallest paddle, however
we didn't notice any lack of power or performance in the stroke. The
blade has excellent catch.
Are there any downsides to the
paddle? In the surf, it was fantastic. We were split on whether or not
it would be a good for long paddles in flat water. Kialoa says that the
paddle is "ideal for catching waves and keeping yourself in the surf."
the Shaka Pu'u felt extremely natural. As we discussed the paddle, we
realized that we never had to think about how to use the paddle. It
felt more like an extension of ourselves rather than a tool in our
hand. We were thoroughly impressed. More information about Kialoa and
the Shaka Pu'u can be found at www.kialoa.com.