Aquabound Tango?

Do any of you have this paddle? I used to have a Werner Camano with a small shaft, but I need a new paddle now. What do you think of the Tango? Does anyone with smaller hands use the paddle? Opinions will be appreciated!

The paddles are virtually identical in construction and blade design, with the models having a carbon shaft and fiberglass blades. I used several Aqua Bound paddles including different versions of the Manta Ray and Sting Ray. They’re all well-made, but it depends on what you’re looking for in a paddle. I used the Camanos as my primary paddle forca while, and i now have two for guest paddlers; the Aqua Bound paddles are also used by guests. I have a few paddles that currently stake tomato plants.

The Tango blades are around 96 square inches, while the Camano is around 110.7 square inches. Weight is similar. I upgraded from the Camano to the Kalliste, which has a 99.7 sq inch blade; however, the Kalliste is in another class when compared to the Camano and Tango. I recently tried an Ikelos that is similar to the Kalliste, but the Ikelos is intended for high angle paddling. The wider blade design of the Ikelos vs Kalliste will torque the blade around the shaft when used low angle, which adds to grip fatigue over time.

My personal preference is for Werner paddles. Primarily because Aqua Bound doesn’t have a model that matches the high end Werner models. I feel they swing better and I like the way they join the shafts. However, in the mid grade line, both brands are
widely available, warranty service is excellent, and both products are durable. After you swing them in a store to see if they both feel right, buy based on price; you can probably get a better deal on the Aqua Bound.

Blade area, length, and paddling technique is highly personal. So the decision is up to you. You probably won’t notice much difference until you paddle for a while then switch. I would get the biggest shaft you feel comfortable when holding, because it distributes the load over more of your hand. Unless you hold it and find it uncomfortable. Use it for a while, then change it if you don’t like it. Paddles are throw aways, until you find one that you like.

Try gripping the paddle with one hand in the center and extend it at arms length. Then rotate it to see how easy it is to start and stop as you rotate the paddle uding your single wrist to control the paddle.

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Thank you for this information!

I’m definitely in the Camano/Tango price range. Full carbon is too expensive for me.

In fact, I just received a new Tango last week. I like how it feels as I typically engage in low to mid angle paddling. I am 5’6" and it is a standard shaft which feels fine. But I never used a smaller shaft for comparison. It is pretty light (I think 26 oz).
For budget, you may want to consider a cosmetic second if you haven’t already, whether Werner or Aqua Bound/Bending Branches (same company).

I have never had a problem with cosmetic seconds. In the recent Tango’s case, I got it about $75 cheaper due to a graphical blemish on one side of the blade that is only noticeable because I was looking for one. Functionally, the cosmetic seconds are fully functional.

Good luck–sorry cannot help with the shaft size part.

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I have a couple of Kallistes that I managed to get at discounts/used but went with a Tango when I needed a longer paddle for a new wider canoe. It has a different feel from the kalliste which has a foam core but bottom line is that I’m happy to grab either one on a given day. I find my hands slip a bit less on the tango due to the texture. All are standard shaft, my hands are large/xl when I buy gloves. I’m a low angle paddler and definitely recreational/day trip not someone who goes out for days long camping or competition - so this is not pro level advice.
I second padiwaggintoo’s suggestion of buying a second though that means buying without a demo. I researched the weights and blade sizes and bought on faith. Both Werner and AB fully warrant their seconds and I still haven’t found the blemish on my Tango.

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Agree with your view. I typically pass my paddle to a family member when I upgrade paddles (I intentionally didn’t say a better paddle, because everyone doesn’t need a more expensive, lighter, stronger, more efficient paddle).

For example, if you frequently use the paddle to push off rocks, piers, or lift your boat over shallows, you might be better off with a carbon shaft paddle that has fiber reinforced plastic blade, rather than lighter foam filled carbon blades. If you prefer to drift slowly to observe the surroundings, the overall weigh and swing weight of a paddle is less noticeable than if paddling 25 miles.

The best tutorial is to swap off paddles with a paddle partner, especially if there is a vast difference in design, length, or blade area. Although I had a preference, I couldn’t readily identify the difference between the Camano and the Kalliste for several years. When my Kalliste returned to Werner for warranty work, I pulled out the Camano. Half way through a trip with my sister, I swapped the Camano for her Kalliste. The difference was so apparent, I visited the outfitter the next day to order another Kalliste in a longer length, because I didn’t know how long it would take for the warranty work (actually two months, while the new paddle was delivered within a week).

There’s another thread about how much your investment costs per mile. I didn’t fully appreciate the true value of the Kalliste, that cost twice as much, until I became accustomed to it. I now consider the price as insignificant, because the difference in feel is no longer transparent. Having said that, I haven’t been able to quantify the performance difference between the Camano and Kalliste, or the 240cm and 250cm Kalliste, in average speed trials. I have pushed them to maximum speeds and been able to repeatedly register a .3 mph difference (I’ve been told by people who weren’t present that a GPS isn’t capable of that finite degree of accuracy - my reaction to that comment is . . . ). Both paddles have a measurable point where the performance suffers, but unless you push the paddle to the breaking point, the difference in speed or level of fatigue isn’t noticeable. Except for all out effort, the performance difference might be negligible, but it can be felt. What matters most to me is each stroke, and the more strokes per trip, the more important the selected paddle becomes. Consider swinging 72 to 80 strokes per minute, for 2 hours, 5 hours, 8 hours. Given a choice between a $300 paddle and a $500 paddle, it isn’t about investing $500, but of investing an additional $200.

Calculate the value per swing for 8 hours at 70 strokes per minute or 33,600 swings, or the number of hours you’ll paddle in a season. You could conclude that performance might just be seen as a serendipitous advantage.

Several paddlers who tried my Kalliste actually preferred a less expensive paddle. I believe @szihn explained a likely reason. The light weight and reduced dihedrah sheds less water, and the light weight responds more quickly to oscillation. Therefore, the paddle stroke needs to be more precise. I looked at my paddle collection and found that he is probably correct. The less expensive paddle design may be more forgiving to compensate for less disciplined technique. A new paddler may find the entry model paddle more comfortable to use.

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