AT Xception Tour vs Xception SL Tour?

A few weeks ago I bought a well used all carbon 230cm AT Xception SL Tour for use in solo canoes and liked it very much in the three times that I got to try it before the local lakes froze over. I liked it so much that I bought what I thought was a 2nd, identical but new, 230 Xception SL Tour on ebay for about half price of new.

I received the new paddle yesterday and it turned out to be an older and no longer made, much heavier Xception Tour with the gold and black woven carbon/kevlar shaft.

The “new” Xception Tour weighs 32.5oz on my wife’s kitchen scale.

The used Xception SL (SL = Super Light) Tour weighs 25.5oz on the same scale - that’s 7oz difference and it’s quite noticeable when picking up the paddle and when air paddling.

QUESTION: Have any of you paddled with the Xception SL Tour and the heavier Xception Tour one right after the other so that you could compare the feel of the two different constructions for actual paddling? The water is frozen around here, so I can’t make the comparison myself. I talked to AT yesterday and they said that in addition to being heavier, the older Xception Tour (gold and black woven shaft)would probably feel stiffer. I like the flex in the SL Tour.

Any direct comparisons would be greatly appreciated.

The ebay seller already gave the go ahead to return it if I don’t want to keep it, since I’d asked it it was the SL Tour and he’d responded that it was. From the way it was labelled, I can see how someone unfamiliar with the differences in the two constructions could have made that mistake.

My first insinct is to return the paddle, but I do like the blade shape, flex, weight and handling of the SL Tour better than my other 230cm paddles (carbon Werner Camano & fiberglass Bending Branches Breeze with Day blade), so I’m also a little tempted to hold on to the heavier and stiffer Xception Tour until the water thaws enough to give it a try.

Again, direct comparisons of the two constructions would be much appreciated.

what AT said is true.

I have both. I use the heavier weave for rock gardens and caving and use the lighter one for cruisin’ and tours.

your call. seems that 1/2 price is hard to beat, as both paddle feel the same in the water except for a little weight and flex.

it would seem that you could always get your money back outta the deal or get both and have a killer spare!



stroke angle
If you use a ~ vertical stroke the difference won’t be too great, as the low blade will “float” the paddle’s weight.

If you use a horizontal stroke you’ll be holding the thing in the air all day long, and you will notice the difference.

AT Exceptions have wonderful blades - I’d keep it as a spare and move some of the other paddles you enjoy less if total dollar commitment to paddles is a set number.

I say keep it
you can use it as a spare and a sweet loaner. The first time I used a really light carbon paddle with flex I immediately liked paddling much more. Use the 2nd AT to brainwash your friends into taking up kayaking - just put off telling them how much it all costs until they’re hooked…

How much less flex than the SL Tour
does the Xception Tour have?

I’d prefer to have a second SL Tour as the spare / back up or guest paddle, but if the gold & black woven shafted Tour doesn’t feel that much different than the SL Tour flexability wise, it may be good enough. I really like the flexability of the SL Tour.

Too bad the water is frozen around here and I can’t compare them myself.

I could use the heavier paddle for daily exercise and training and the lighter one for longer day trips. I’m just concerned that the stiffer shaft would be harder on my joints during aggressive exercise than the SL shaft. Maybe the stiffer shaft would be desireable on moving water where immediate response to a powerful steering stroke is desired, but I usually use single blades in the canoes on the rivers around here.

I asked the AT guy if the black and gold woven shaft was sturdier than the all carbon SL shaft and he said that it wasn’t really any tougher. I bet that extra 7oz would really help defend one’s self against attacking beavers on the river. I would rather risk breaking the heavier paddle than the lighter paddle, since the lighter paddle is so pleasant to use and I would miss it more.

I suspect that I could get my $210 out of it later if I decided to keep it now and sell it later, rather than returning it for a refund now. Maybe pass it on to someone local, since there aren’t any quality paddles available locally, but 230cm is longer than most people use in their kayaks and there aren’t many narrow solo canoes around here.

Thanks for the direct comparison feedback.

I do use a pretty vertical stroke in the
solo canoes and drip a lot of water on my head, legs, feet and in the boat. It’s wet, but feels more comfortable and I get more power than with the lower, more horizontal stroke.

With my “air paddling” comparison of the two paddles, the extra weight was definately less noticeable when using high angle and torso rotation than when using low angle stokes, so you’re probably right about the added weight not making that much difference during high angle padling. It sure feels much heavier when just picking it up and holding it without the water floating part of it. The additional stiffness may be more of a concern/factor than the additional weight.

The Xception SL Tour certainly does have a sweet blade design. The relatively narrow throat seems to facilitate a closer catch on the plant than my other paddles.

Yeah, of my 230cm paddles, I suspect that I’d prefer using the heavier (32.5oz) AT Xception Tour over the lighter carbon Camano and fiberglass Bending Branches Breeze with Day blade, just because of the lovely feel of the paddle in the water. I certainly prefer the feel of the SL Tour over the other two paddles - I even prefer it over the 22oz full carbon Epic Relaxed Tour with burgundy shaft set to 225cm. Keeping the heavier Xception Tour and selling a couple of the other paddles may be the approach I take.

Thanks for your input. I know that you have a lot of experience with these paddles and highly recommend the SL Tour OS for use in your canoes.

I think I’d use the lighter, flexier SL
Tour to brain wash potential paddlers into the sport, rather than the heavier Xception Tour, but I guess that some folks may prefer the heft of the heaver construction.

I suspect that for most paddlers around here, even the heavier Xception Tour would so much more pleasant to use than the other paddles available, that they’d be in paddling nirvana because of it’s feel in their hands and in the water and be more likely to have a favorable view of their introduction to the sport.

Anyone else use both constructions?


I don’t really notice it. put it that way.

I’d get it!


So, similar flex in both constructions?

– Last Updated: Dec-15-07 3:51 PM EST –

You still feel the flex in the carbon/kevlar shafted Xception Tour?

That would be good.


yep (nm)

I have and use both…

– Last Updated: Dec-17-07 11:47 AM EST –

like flatpick, I use my older carbon/kevlar one (i call it the battle-axe) for rougher conditions, rocks, surf, and for some reason winter paddling. It's my "i'm not so sure what to expect so i better be prepared paddle." I also keep it as a spare on my back deck.

It is, as i'm sure you realize, built like a tank. I feel like I could chop down a decent sized tree with mine. It's 31oz (mine's a 220cm) which is still decently light.

My newer lighter one is my regular everyday distance paddle. I take care of it and try not to chop anything down with it--though i'm sure it's plenty strong.

Both have that great AT grip and feel.

If you paid under $275 bucks you got a good deal.

BTW: While I'm sure that there's some difference in flex, it's gotta be so small that i doubt you'd be able to tell the difference. Besides, does flex really matter in a touring blade anyway?