I tried paddling my Epic Touring Cruiser 16 twice this week with a short ZRE Medium bent and boy was it fun.
It carves turns much more aggressively with a strong edge using the single blade bent that with the kayak paddle.
I actually perceive it as quite maneuverable using the Zav, whereas I perceive it as moderately maneuverable with the kayak paddle.
Plus, the Zav is 1/2 the weight of the kayak paddle.
I’d been only paddling my Mad River Monarch for the last three months, so the switch to the smaller craft with thigh braces was exhilarating.
Interestingly, my speed with the single blade was about the same as with the wing paddle in the Epic 16. I suspect that’s because my single blade muscles are in better paddling condition than my double blade muscles.
The above paddling was done without the rudder deployed.
The only time I paddle a wing anymore with my kayaks (actually surf ski - V8) is when I’m training or racing. Even then I’ll use the single blade Zav now and then.
Like you said, the weight is great and I find the single blade much more enjoyable, especially when I’m just out for a leisurely paddle. I had a 75 mile race earlier this year and after about 30 miles I was aching with the wing paddle. Finished with the single blade and was much more comfortable.
The single blade is definitely slower at the top end but if you just want to cruise along anywhere up to 5-5.5mph they’re about equal.
I’m happy with mine at 46"
Been Doing That for Years
In the flat water with all my skis using an all wood Bending Branches 10 inch wide by 48 inch length and 10 degree bend outrigger paddle that I use to carry as a spare paddle on my surfski. Works ok in moderate water, but in the big water, it is just too lop sided and unstable, for I’m unable to brace or paddle off side quick enough, so I capsize.
Instead, I’m having fun using a large Onno wing blade on a short shaft that Patrick custom made for me. He used a very short and larger shaft that’s adjustable from 198 to 208 cm that works like a charm in 30 kt. wind and big water. The big blade, coupled with the short shaft sure makes for a smoother, more stable and comfortable ride. I don’t use my smaller blades anymore.
I know several people who
keep a short shafted Zav under the bungees on deck as a spare and to get them through tight spaces, twisting meanders, and mangrove tunnels. I also knew a guy who used his to avoid shoulder problems he was having with his high hand on his kayak paddle following rotator cuff surgery…
Forgot about tight spots
The single blade is great for under low trees or narrow passages through reeds/cattails.
It is a lot of fun!
I think you’ll get more miles per flapjack with the single blade every time.
I haven’t been doing it in a while, but I think I should start it up again.
I replaced the Epic Touring Cruiser 16 with and Epic 16X a couple years ago and it is just as sweet, fast and nimble with a short bent shaft Zaveral as the 16 was. It is by far my most efficient and fast single blade boat. It’s also very nice with a kayak paddle.
I still carry both types of paddles with me, whether I’m in a kayak or solo canoe - only the paddle length varies to accommodate the particular boat I’m in.
When I first time bought a used Epic V10 I was still waiting on my wing paddle, and being ancy to paddle it I took it out with my 48" ZRE power surge light. Although the V10 was wayyyy too tippy for me to handle, it was a blast to paddle with a single blade. I could sprint it to almost 10mph for a few brief seconds. I actually swam less with the single blade too, as a brace is much more effective with a single blade than wing paddle.
The V10 (gen 0) was too tippy for my novice kayaking butt, so I traded it out for a Stellar SR, which is 10x more stable. I havent taken out the SR with a single blade yet, but I will have to do that this weekend. Im still building my double blade calluses and want to paddle more, but sometimes my hands just say no. I’ll have to throw the ZRE on the back deck for exactly this situation.
Anyways, I recommend everyone try this. Its very fun, and a great way to use different muscles.
Good idea Yanoer