Zaveral options how to chose?


I am looking for a zaveral paddle. But there are just to many options. I can not try one out. They do not sell them over here adn I do not know anyone how has one. I have paddle a wenonah raven. That I like. How do you chose the different width and angle. I think I opt for the standart 12 degree. lenghtwise I can do myself I guess. (order unmounted a bit bigger then I think I need and cut bit of.)

I am paddling a homebuild osprey. I am about 75 kilo and 178 long.


powersurge medium
I am using a powersurge medium, 12 degree with the standard blade width 8 .25 inches. I have heard that the light and ultralight ones are a little on the fragile side for daily use. The extreme is the heaviest but you probably wont need the extra strength.

I would just order the Powersurge Medium, in whatever angle you like. I have two of them and love them. Like you I did not have a chance to try before I bought.

I’m not averse to curved blades, but for rec or wilderness tripping use, I really like the Zavs with a flat powerface. If I were just doing forward strokes I’d opt for the curved blade, but I run tight twisty rivers that require cross strokes, inwater recoveries, bow jams, hanging draws. For most of these strokes, I’m often setting up or concluding with either an unloaded or loaded slice… no curved blades for that… please.

I really like the rec which I have several thousand miles of multi week wilderness trips both out in the Western US and up in the Boreal in Canada, and you can save a few bones. Mine has taken running whitewater, plus paddling 50 mile long lakes in stride, and other than crushing the carbon laid up grip in the car, there has been no damage to the paddle. But the Whitewater models are really durable for essentially the same weight, but a bit more cost. The only thing I would add is pay the extra $25 for the carbon grip.

I like the Surge, don’t get me wrong… but there is plenty of catch with the flat powerface Zavs for nearly all the paddling a canoeist needs.


inclined to agree
I have a curved Gillespie and a Zav medium. The Gillespie does not do underwater recoveries anywhere near as nicely as the flat-bladed Zav. It’s like night and day. I know it’s not an apples to apples comparison, but I think Gillespie is the originator of the “powersurge” curve. Corrections are welcome if appropriate.

I guess I agree too
the Zav is pretty much a go straight paddle, but thats also what it was primarily designed for. For technical stuff, Zavs are still nice, but a flat powerface might be better.

My choice, after initial mistakes
Was an 8.75" Powersurge Outrigger Light with a flexshaft.

The Outrigger blades are made wider, which suits me better as a low cadence paddler.

I much preferred the flex shaft over the punishingly stiff regular shaft.

I have a different point of view on the “maneuverability” of a mildly curved blade such as the Powersurge – namely, it doesn’t matter to me. I only use bent paddles for straight ahead paddling. If I want technical maneuverability, I go to a straight shaft. Even if I stay with a bent on technical streams, bent paddles are so asymmetrical anyway that the added asymmetry of the mild curve is not significant for me.

Buy a paddle for the primary purpose you will be using it. You need different paddles for different primary purposes: high cadence forward stroking, low cadence forward stroking, technical maneuvering while kneeling, etc. So, buy the Zav that best fits your primary purpose.

You have to be very careful with length – although Zav let me return to get a different length. Unfortunately, the ideal length changes depending what boat you are in. So measure carefully while sitting in your Osprey in the water with your customary load.

i’m happy with the standard
I have a PowerSurge with the standard width and bend. I can’t remember which layup, but it was a couple notches heavier than the lightest, so maybe it was Medium.

I bought mine after a race from the J & J Canoes guy. He was happy to answer my questions, so maybe he would be happy to answer yours if you call him (and if you intend to buy from him). Or just call Zav and ask them.

I also got the long shaft and cut it down. It was easy to do; you just need some tape to wrap around the cut line, to prevent splintering, and some glue (I think they recommend epoxy).


I’ve got two
My first is the standard Whitewater. I like it but I don’t consider it a whitewater paddle. I have a Mitchel for that.

My second I got from Tracy (Canoeist11) last summer. It’s a straight shaft, standard blade, and feels slightly heavier than my Whitewater. I believe it has the carbon grip.

That is my all time favorite do everything except rock bashing paddle.

Both of my Zavs slice better than anything else I’ve tried. The catch is clean and firm. I can really pull hard on them with almost no flutter. I palm roll the straight quite often and the asymetric grip does not cause me any problems.

Since I kneel exclusively, I feel that the bent shaft offers no advantage while the straight moves my power strokes forward and lets me do all the control strokes.

I have no experience with the PowerCurve but I’d expect it to have a somewhat stronger catch. I would not expect the curve to affect the slice. I would expect to lose a little catch on the backface but if you are going with the bent shaft you won’t be concerned about that.

You’ve got an unusual paddle
TC1 has the only straight ZRE I’ve seen that actually has symmetrical faces. The other “zero degree” Zav’s I’ve seen have the same defined powerface and backface as the bent paddles.

Didn’t recall the grip was asymmetrical. You could change that. Brad Gillespie could make a Free grip for you.

I prefer Medium, 8.25" wide blade.
I perceive a significant difference in the in-use feel of the Medium and Recreational versions and much prefer using the Medium. My Rec version is also 1" longer and 1/4" wider than my Medium so, that also influences my preference. It may not be just a Medium vs Rec comparison, but also a comparison of different lengths & widths.

I prefer the 8.25" wide blade. The 8.5" & 8.75" wide blades are too much work for me for the leisurely paddling that I do.

I use the 12 degree bent and use it most of the time because most of my paddling doesn’t require a straight shaft paddle. The standard flat bladed ZRE bent slices through the water very smoothly for in-water recovery.

I rarely paddle in as demanding of conditions as many who have responded above, but I choose my Zav Medium bent shaft most of the time, whether I’m trying to go as fast as possible, or just putzing around.

I’ve purchased all of mine used, but I’ve had to be reeeeeeeeeeealy patient to find the sizes I was looking for.

Good luck with you decision.

thanks I like your posts so far
I will look further into the difference between the powersurge and the rec and other blades.

I will use it most on flat water to get this boat up to speed. A lot of my paddle buddy’s are in kayaks that like to cruise around at 7 or 8 km/hour. I want to keep up.

It take a bit of time to know what to order.

I think a big blade is ruled out.

It is a lot of monney and the current rate of our euro against the dollar is not nice. I think it will be worht it. I just do not wnat to get it wrong.

call Zav
If you call Zav and talk to them they can help you with your decision.

It may depend somewhat on what you want…speed and power, pure pleasure, something else?

I’ve owned maybe 10 Zav’s and still have a bunch and overall I’d say that you cannot go wrong with a standard 12 degree angle, an 8.25 inch blade, and their Medium lay-up which is still plenty light but has better balance than their superlight lay-ups which must be better for racing but sometimes feel too light on windy days. I’d order it too long with the handle not glued and “dial it in” sawing off a bit at a time until it feels perfect.


Straight Zav?
Tommy, do you think I should get a straight Zav? I’m looking at the whitewater version, don’t think they make the symetrical faced version you have anymore, maybe I’ll just call them.

That is the best way to order a ZRE
that I have ever heard.

I have had to cut several, and it would have been much easier to just do it your way rather then grinding off the old epoxy glue.

Thanks for posting it, and I hope the OP orders his that way (Very easy to glue(epoxy) the handle on)

Jack L