A Tale of Two Paddles: A Rant
After paddling the same damn Werner Powerhouse for most of my paddling career, I decided I wanted to try something different. I drank the Kool-Aid on this new AT line of paddles with new innovative material that is stronger and lighter and a new set of tests show that they're stronger than anything that's been made, blah, blah.
Well, early on in my paddling career I bought an AT, paddled it for a few weeks and heard water sloshing around inside. I got it warrantied, traded it in an Werner, and never had a broken paddle since. In fact, I spent most of my paddling career watching ATs break on the water and telling people how frequently ATs break and that they're not to be trusted.
Well, I got my hands a new carbon fiber Geronimo (price $25 cheaper than the Carbon Werner Powerhouse. I took it out on Gore and it felt great. The grips felt better to me than the Werner grips, both in the shape and placement of the bend. It had a nice crisp catch and decided that perhaps I'd made a good decision.
That lasted about 5 more sessions when it developed two hairline cracks around the shaft. I looked up AT's warranty information and was relieved to see that they wanted to get me back out on the water as quickly as possible. I also learned that they're under the Confluence Watersports umbrella.
I contacted them directly but they didn't respond for 2 weeks and then asked me to send photos. In the interim I contacted Outdoorplay who I'd bought the paddle from. Fortunately these guys kick ass and got back to me right away. AT told them that there was a recall out on the Geronimo so they'd warranty it as soon as I sent in photos showing I'd destroyed my original (not hard to do with an AT). Oddly, when AT contacted me, they didn't say anything about a recall.
I promptly sent in photos and AT sat on it, for, well who knows how long. After a week+ I contacted Outdoorplay and they offered me an immediate credit or cash back and from that point it was only 2-3 days before I had a brand new carbon Powerhouse on my doorstep and now I sleep much better at night.
Outdoorplay = Thumps up for great customer service
Werner = Thumps up for paddles that don't break
AT = Thumps down for paddles that don't last a week, being part of a corporate conglomerate, and weak customer service.