Zaveral Power Curve paddle

First let me say that I have no connection with ZRE (Zaveral Racing Equipment) whatsoever.

In fact, I have generally been something of a cheapskate when it comes to canoe paddles, especially for whitewater use, using sturdy, but inelegant designs and viewing $200+ paddles as a waste of money for anybody other than hardcore racers or competitive freestylers.

I have read many wax eloquent over Zav paddles, however, especially marathon racers.

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to paddle with Harold and Vern, both of whom were using ZRE Power Curve paddles, and had to try out Harold’s on Cooper Lake. This is a spoon-bladed whitewater/competition paddle with a wood T-grip that Harold designed:

I had purchased at half price an Aqua Bound paddle just to try out a curved blade. It is OK but I didn’t feel it had anything to offer over my old Harmony paddles.

The ZRE poser curve is something else. Although the weight and stiffness are much better than the AB paddle, it was the way the paddle moved through the water, both on the power phase of a forward stroke, but especially during the in-water recovery phase of linked cross-forwards, or while feathering a Duffek into a bow draw and forward stroke, that really grabbed my attention. And the thumb indexes on the T-grip add a subtle element of increased control when angling the blade.

A lot of people might not have the chance or inclination to try a $300 paddle, but if you come across the opportunity, I would suggest you take a look at this great paddle.

The rib is on the power face?

– Last Updated: Jun-16-10 10:45 AM EST –

A bit unusual. Would make me want to try before buying.

Similar Mitchell or Clinch River paddles have just a fleck of dihedral on the curved power face, but no rib.

The grip is clever, and I've done one similar, but I would immediately change it out for one making hand shift easier on cross strokes.

Oh, do they ofter to put on a vinyl sleeve to protect the carbon shaft matrix from damage?

If a remember correctly
there is some rib on both faces. Whatever the camber or dihedral is, it is such that the paddle does not flutter or tend to pull laterally at all when sliced through the water.

As for the grip, this paddle seemed to me easier to use on cross-forward strokes than any I have used.

I don’t think there is any vinyl sleeve. I saw both Harold’s paddle and Vern’s, both of which have seen quite a bit of whitewater use. Harold’s was, I think, going on 10 years old (I could be remembering this wrong). The wear on both paddles was trivial.

Just means they are careful. A carbon
shaft may crack if knicked anywhere. Doubt they have any secret coating.

Back in the day, c-1 slalom paddlers actually pried their J off the little wing on the side of the boat. Carbon shafts came in about then, and vinyl sleeves came soon after.

NIce Stick
Exceptional design and construction!

been using zav paddlers for 30 years for a reason, they are very good

A sophisticated paddle
Harold Deal designed this paddle, which is a further evolution of the Sawyer Stingray that Harold and Bob Foote designed for Sawyer.

It is not only a curved blade, but a “double scooped” curved blade. Sawyer embodied this double scoop concept in its Manta flatwater paddles, and ZRE embodied it, less radically, in the Powersurge racing paddle.

I believe Harold uses the Power Curve as his flatwater “straight” paddle in his SRT as well as a whitewater paddle in his Shaman.

I liked the thumb indexes so much that I included subtler versions of them in the hooded T-palm grip of the Gillespie Free paddle, an “all water” paddle that Brad Gillespie custom made to my specs.

I think I recall seeing at least one of these, used, at Hemlock Canoe about a year ago. Don’t recall whether it was for sale or not.

That’s quite a generalization…
A carbon shaft is just as UNlikely to snap as a good wooden paddle with a “nick” in it. Yes, a carbon shaft can fail if it’s got prominent damage to it already, say a crush area or an actual gash, but is incredibly tough otherwise. A shaft of ANY material that has that kind of existing damage to it should probably not be paddled until repaired or replaced anyway. With carbon-shafted paddles, the blade is far more likely to go first is most abusive situations.

As far as vinyl sleeves…??? Are they protecting the boat? Many wood paddles have hard varnish and all carbon paddles are covered in epoxy, so what is the vinyl doing? If a paddler is able to damage their paddle shaft by wacking it against the gunwales, maybe they should sand their gunwales. Carbon shafts are not going to be damaged by a little banging. In fact, they’re less likely to show any signs of day-to-day “impacts” than a wooden shaft.