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Old 07-30-2008   #1
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097
Lendal paddle review: a tale of two blades

For many a moon, my old aquabound breakdown spent 99.5% of its time in the back of my creekboat, ready for the time it was needed. Up until a week ago it was only used once by a friend on the class II/III paddle out of bailey, where it saved lots of hiking time. I felt comfortable that I had the standard breakdown / pin kit etc with me to keep things safe.

Two weekends ago I broke my paddle 2 miles into the big south and busted out the aquabound to make it down the remaining 10 miles. It was flimsy, shaky, lacking in power, and a big adjustment from my werner blades. I was a nervous and felt a bit sketchy and had some trouble making moves I would normally have no problem with. Don't get me wrong, the aquabound delivers what you would expect for the price (cheap), but the experience of using it on challenging whitewater made me vow to get a decent breakdown and never repeat that experience again.

During the week I got a Lendal 4 piece breakdown with kinetix blades and a bentshaft. I put it to the test last weekend on the big south. The difference was amazing. The lendal felt solid in my hands and not flimsy like the aquabound. The lendal comes with the ability to fine tune the offset angle so that you can set it to 45, 30, whatever you want. I paddle with a bentshaft normally, so there is no awkwardness going back to a straight shaft. The locking mechanism is solid and very easy and way more bomber than the simple push button spring loaded jobs on most breakdowns.

Overall the lendal felt like a "real" paddle, not a shaky breakdown. The tips of the blades gave a bit on rocks, but that didn't really bother me. In a way I prefer the blades to give a bit on rocks than to have the impact transmitted straight to the shoulder joint (ouch). The grip of the bent shaft is slightly narrower than the standard werner grip I had been using, but I was able to grip the lendal on the outermost portion of the bent grip to get the width grip I was used to. Overall I felt solid and confident with the paddle, it had good power, boof strokes were solid and predictable, braces were solid. Good all the way around.

There are a few quirks with the blades. Werner blades kink out for the bent shaft and kink back in before the blades so that the center of gravity of the paddle is in line with the middle of the staight section of shaft. The lendal bends down for the grips and never bends back "up" at the blades. The result is that the center of gravity of the blades are offset and you feel that the blades want to drop down when you are holding the paddle. While paddling hard, you don't notice this at all, but when holding the blades, taking a pause or taking light stokes it is noticable. I think this is minor and does not really impact performace, just noticeably different.

So the lendal gets two big thumbs up for a breakdown. Its a good enough paddle that I would consider using one as my primary paddle as well, although I haven't made up my mind there yet. I'd highly recommend the lendal for folks who don't want to be caught short with a shitty breakdown when they are paddling water at the upper end of their difficulty range. Its double the cost of the aquabound but worth every penny. I'd hate to have to hike out of a run because I just got demoted to a shitty paddle.

Anyway, I read lots about the Lendals before I got one, so this isn't really news, but I thought I would give my vote of confidence.

I like the confidence of knowing that I won't have to repeat the harrowing experience of paddling with a shitty paddle if (when) mine breaks again.

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Old 07-30-2008   #2
Dave Frank's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,727
I've been meaning to get one or better yet two of those as myself. Having your backup match your main paddle would be a nice feature. Also great for those who travel on planes with their gear. What did you end up spending on it?


(seven two 0)-298-2242
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Old 07-30-2008   #3
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097

There are a couple of options for shafts (straight vs. bent) and blades (carbon, carbon/nylon, fiberglass etc) that change the resulting price. I got the carbon / nylon blades, which are supposed to be the most durable but are higher priced. I also got the bent shaft which is more costly than the straight I would assume. Mine totalled around $360 before tax if I remember correctly. Didn't really think about the travel issues, but thats another big plus. I got mine from confluence and they have a few more in stock.

The bentshafts come in predetermined lengths. I think you can adjust the length of the straigh shafts.

Great paddle!
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Old 07-30-2008   #4
yourrealdad's Avatar
185 lb. waste of space, Keeping Glenwood Springs real
Paddling Since: 1864
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 917
I thought that lendals went extinct? Our own riverwrangler couldn't even get one for a while.

If Werner is listening: Make a bentshaft powerhouse breakdown please. It would be the greatest paddle ever concieved by a mere mortal.
970-217-21 six six
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Old 07-30-2008   #5
oh yeah
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 535
i got a lendal last summer to use as a back up and haven't used anything else since. now i need a breakdown. and travel is great. i flew out east last spring w/ a lendal and a pair of hand paddles as a back up. loved loving it. and still lovin' it.
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Old 07-30-2008   #6
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097
I first called CKS about the lendal parts I was looking into. They quoted me a 1-2 month back order from lendal. If you want them, it may take a while. I lucked out that confluence had the exact parts in stock that I was looking for, which surprised me as I didn't think they would even stock them.
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Old 07-31-2008   #7
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 32
I love my Lendal - been using it all this season and it has held up much better than my werner powerhouse did (those blades start disappearing on day one). I think Lendal's did disappear for a little while - they were having a problem with importing them, but they have started up a shop to make them in the US now, and they are popping up at kayak shops everywhere. I will definately get another one and stash the old one in the boat.
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Old 08-06-2008   #8
Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2
I also just bought a Lendal - also 4 piece breakdown with kinetix blades and a bentshaft. I bought the paddle to use while traveling. Normally, I paddle a Werner Sherpa bentshaft.

Now then, today was to be the maiden voyage of the paddle and yesterday I noticed that the position of my hands (the grip) is quite a bit narrower than the Werner. Did some searching on the internet and saw deepsouthpaddler's first post and a comment on this.

For the same length paddle (197cm), I'd say that my hands are inset 2-3cm towards center on each side - this is even gripping the paddle on the outermost edge. My so-called "paddler's box" now doesn't look right and I'm wondering what the right answer is.

Should I look for a longer paddle? Am I missing something about the ergonomics here? Thoughts??
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Old 08-06-2008   #9
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097

The grip is indeed narrower than the standard werner grip. I grip the 197 lendal at the outermost portion of the bent shaft kink and it feel like its in the right spot, and it doesn't feel weird. Just keep moving your hands out wider until you feel solid. Worked for me.
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Old 08-06-2008   #10
Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2
Thanks for your reply. The place that feels correct to me is to grip the paddle at the extreme edge of where the elastic-like "grip" is on the paddle. On the right hand side, this only leaves two fingers on the bulge that provides positive indexing and it seems that my other two fingers are starting to round the bend of the bent-shaft. Is this where you end up as well?
Thanks for the clarification

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