The Quickblade V-101 outrigger paddle is a product of the natural transfer of technology from the stand up paddling community to the realm of high performance outrigger paddling. For the past three months, I have had the pleasure of paddling with one of the first V-101s produced. The blade’s performance is nothing short of stellar with a quick catch – strong, fluid power phase – and lively release.
The blade itself is known as the V-Drive and was born out of a collaborative endeavor between Quickblade Paddles founder Jim Terrell and renowned waterman Dave Kalama. The current version available for the outrigger community has a medium sized, 101 square inch surface, from which the blade’s name is derived. When first examining the paddle, one will notice the dual dihedral edges creating a small pocket on the backside of the blade. The small scoop and pocket drive the blade firmly into the water allowing for a superior catch when compared to conventional blades.
Once the blade sets, the duel dihedral edges begin to work their magic and drive the water down as the blade pulls the canoe across the surface. The unique attributes of the blade grab hold of the water in the same manner that the traction on a pair of performance hiking boots provides a hiker with a firmer grip when traversing uneven ground. You can feel the blade lock in place throughout the power phase of your stroke. Upon conclusion of the power phase, the blade pops from the water during the release and the paddle’s light weight make setting up the next stroke a snap.
Currently available in an all carbon construction, the V-101 is noticeably lighter than most other outrigger paddles currently on the market. Quickblade’s proprietary all carbon shafts are firm with the right amount of flex to stave off joint fatigue common to using some all carbon paddles. While the surface area on the V-101 is less than many popular blades currently in use, there is a distinct technological advantage gained by the V-Drive blade which delivers a superior performance on the water. Combined with the paddle’s light weight, the V-101 allows me to paddle longer and maintain proper form and technique with greater ease – particularly during high endurance 9-man competitions.
I don’t always paddle outrigger. But when I do, I prefer the V-101 above the rest.