Quickblade Paddles recently announced the development of a new elite SUP racing paddle known as the V-Drive by posting a short video to the popular social networking site Facebook. Jointly developed by Quickblade founder Jim Terrell and renowned waterman Dave Kalama, the paddle is the product of a lengthy research and development period and signifies the first true evolution in the design of SUP racing paddles.
The new paddle has three readily identifiable features which set it apart from other paddles currently on the market. The V-Drive is first distinguished by the pronounced “V” on the rear surface of the paddle’s blade. The “V” is formed by a pair of dihedral edges which channel water as the paddle is pulled during the power phase of your stroke. As a result, you can quite easily feel the paddle as it drives through the water.
The second noticeable difference is the slight curve on the tip of the blade. The length of the curve is roughly the same as the section of the blade which flattens out on a standard Quickblade paddle. The curve angles rearward and positions the blade to make a cleaner catch. A similar design feature can be found on some outrigger canoe paddles. In comparison to a standard SUP paddle which breaks the plane of the water’s surface during the catch phase of your stroke, the V-Drive pierces into the water like a needle.
Lastly, the “V” forms a small pocket in the center of the paddle which works in conjunction with the dihedral edges to drive the water. Quick and a noticeably quieter catch than other paddles, the V-Drive allows paddlers to rapidly accelerate through the water with greater efficiency than conventional paddle designs. Once up to speed, the paddle will put a smile on your face as you glide over the water’s surface – easily chasing down opponents several board lengths ahead. The V-Drive was not weighed during testing, but it felt comparable to – if not lighter, than Quickblade’s Kanaha Elite Race paddle currently favored by elite and recreational racers around the world.
There has been a noticeable proliferation of SUP paddles in the past year. Several of the major SUP manufacturers are now marketing paddles under their own brand. Many are gimmicky and catered toward buyers who want to match their gear to their board. Other design shapes are simply different, but do not necessarily equate to a more efficient paddle. The V-Drive falls into neither of the aforementioned categories. The Quickblade motto may well be “Train Hard, Go Fast, Have Fun”, but it could just as easily be “Innovation and Excellence”. The V-Drive was born out of Quickblade’s never ending drive to innovate and scientifically calculate the factors necessary to achieve excellence in both its products and paddling techniques taught onsite at Quickblade headquarters in Costa Mesa, California.
The Quickblade V-Drive paddle used in this review was tested in Marina del Rey, California with a 12’6” BARK Contender. The Quickblade V-Drive and the BARK Contender were both generously provided by the Pro SUP Shop in Marina del Rey.
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