Differences between ZRE paddles?

-- Last Updated: May-17-12 10:26 AM EST --

As some of you may have read in my other threads I recently went to rookie racing night here in Minneapolis and got my first taste of the fun stuff. Well, Im hooked big time and after paddling with my paddles last night I decided 2 things: My paddle feels too long and I want a composite paddle. Being relatively new to this I figured I should ask before doing much else.

My question is, what differences are there in ZRE paddles. when I look at the specs and description they all sound the same. I see 1" difference in blade length and some different width options... the description tells me nothing useful.

Their website lists these as the top 3 sellers and I think I will end up getting one of this list. Can you comment on what differentiates these?

01. Z Medium – 10 oz. Carbon Fiber Canoe Paddle
02. Power Surge FW-Z Medium – 10 oz. Carbon Fiber Canoe Paddle
03. Power Surge Xtreme - 10 oz. Carbon Fiber Canoe Paddle

I intend to race with it but would one work better for rec touring as well? Id be nice to have it work decently for general paddling.

Im 6'1 180. Think a 50"x8" would be about right for me? maybe 8.5"? My 54" felt way too long last night. my 52" backup felt better but still too long...I paddled a 48" ZRE at racing night and that felt slightly short so Im thinkin 49 or 50".

Thanks to everyone for all the advice. I still consider my self to know nothing in the grand scheme of things but this board has helped immensely. It has the least amount of flaming Ive seen on any forum. But i guess if you love canoeing you can't suck too much, right? =)

I think there are probably only a couple of people on this site at most who can honestly tell you what the differences are and what is best for you. I don’t think many have much experience with all of the choices. I can tell you the Zav medium is great because it’s what I have. But I can’t tell you about the others. I’d look for someone here who can honestly assess all of them, and not just what they have. Or call Zav and speak with them. If I were you I’d call Zav plus read what others can offer.

ZRE bents
The Power Surge Extreme is the same as the Power Surge FW-Z medium with somewhat thicker edges and paddle tip.

The ZRE Z Medium has a longer blade length and significantly different blade shape than the Power Surge blades. Click on the different models and look at the pictures and you will clearly see the difference.

I suspect you will wind up deciding on a paddle with an overall length in the 48-50" range, assuming you get one with an 18 inch long blade. I would try to borrow a 48" paddle (and measure the blade length) a few more times. A shorter paddle often seems too short for a while till you get used to it.

The blade length has to be taken into account when you are comparing paddles of the same overall length. It is the shaft length, of course, which determines the functional length of the paddle, but nearly all makers will list overall lengths of their paddles.

Which one

– Last Updated: May-17-12 1:14 PM EST –

Now I see it. So whats the consensus on here... Power surge or regular blade?

Also, does the Xtreme blunt tip affect anything besides durability?

Think one style would work better for tripping?

This won’t be your last
Don’t worry so much about picking the perfect paddle. If you stay into racing you’ll soon have multiples anyway and the ones you’re not crazy about will be backups, loaners, or for specific boats/conditions.

I don’t think you’ll notice any difference tripping between any of the blades you listed. If I was you I’d save a little money and get a standard medium weight with something like an 8.5" blade. I’m 6’1" as well and prefer a 49" for solo and general tandem paddling in more traditional canoes. It sometimes feels a bit long in the stern of a proboat where I’ve tried a 47" and thought it felt quite nice.

But just because we’re both 6’1" doesn’t mean our torsos and arms are the same length. That said 49" seems to be the most popular length out there.

Like I said, you’ll be buying more. Whatever you get this time you’ll end up using it to fine tune your preferences for your next paddle buy. There is no perfect paddle for every situation.


in the end
All of your questions will be answered by experience.

The answers also depend on what you are doing with it. For short races, say under 20 miles, you might want a bigger blade than for 50 mile or more races. As an all around 8.5 should be a good starting point. Remember shaft length is more important than overall length. Like pblanc said, if the blade length is 18" then 48-50 seems about right for your height.

Remember that wood paddles are also an option. There are makers of surge type, or at least shaped paddles and they are cheaper. Plus some like a bit heavier swing weight. Might be a good option for testing out what you might like.

Ryan L.

what are you paddling?
In the front of 4x32USCA racingboat I like a 49 inch power surge(i am 5’11" In the front of a Jensen 18 or a Minn2 I like 50 power surge.

Figure out what you are going to be in the most and don’t try to get one paddle fits all.

If I was racing in 3x27 or a 4x32 in the bow I would go short(I did 40 miles with a 51 inchand it was not as fast as the shorter paddle

I went with
I talked with Zaveral and after hearing his thoughts I went with the Z white water 11oz paddle with a 8.25" blade and 50" length. I He said this blade would provide the most versatility/durability and be a good fit since I will be amateur racing/rec paddling and I dont care about maximum efficiency.

Ill post again with my feedback when I get it next week. I want it nowwwww =(

good choice
You’ll love it. I to am awaiting a new paddle. It’s like Christmas.

Ryan L.

They do have significant differences
If you’re planning to race, length of the race will have some bearing on your decision. The Power Surge blades have a concave face as opposed to the flat blades of the Flatwater and Whitewater paddles. Whereas the Power Surge blades have a noticeably better catch and therefore potential to apply more power, as a result they are also potentially tougher on the joints (specifically wrists and elbows, even shoulders) over the course of a longer race (2+ hours). This is why many paddlers will use a flat blade for the long C2 races and go with the Power Surge for the typically shorter C1 races.

Of course, this is a personal preference in the end based on your own trial. For tripping purposes where you’re not usually exerting full force for extended periods, either blade type will work just fine, but note that the Power Surge blades are a bit more fragile if abused (on rocks, etc). The Whitewater blades are made just a wee bit touger than the regular Flatwater blades, so are a good overall choice for both racing and tripping. Like the other poster stated, you’ll end up getting more paddles. :slight_smile: