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Old 08-15-2013   #1
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 302
Core Paddle Review

I picked up a Core Paddles Carbon 191 R mid-summer from Matti at Ten Mile Creek Kayaks this year when my AT2 Superlight started getting water in the shaft after 3 yearsí service. Since Iíve never seen Core Paddles anywhere besides Ten Mile, I thought Iíd write a review.

Pros: I love the paddle, it feels like the AT2 SL on crack. The side by side comparison in the store between the AT2 SL, AT2 Flexi, Werner Shogun Carbon and this showed the Core was the lightest, the lowest swing weight and the most flexi. The swing weight is a big deal. The grips are wider and closer to the paddles blades than the AT grips which meant I could go to a smaller length paddle and still have my hands far enough apart. Iím 5í9Ē and in the 191. I almost feel now I could have gone to the 188. These factors combine to make the paddle just rip around you. It doesnít flutter too much, but definitely flutters more than the AT2. It flexes a lot more, even more than the AT Flexi, which I love. I do notice a small amount of resistance from the shape of the blade when the paddle is feathered. Strangely I like this feature. Having a low brace get slowed down a bit lengthens the time itís effective which I find useful. The paddle is just fast!

Cons: I had to sand the grips down; they were too grippy and had little seams along the rubber that was chafing me. Iím not very confident itís going to be as durable as the AT. The edge of the carbon blades are already starting to erode, the way fiberglass Werner blades do. Iím assuming the aluminum shaft is pretty much indestructible. Also, the hyper active feel might not be for you. Itís so fast itís almost stinging. The general aesthetic of a carbon and aluminum paddle is not quite as cool either.

Overall, I was surprised I could feel the difference so much. Frankly I thought I was just buying a new pretty toy, but this paddle has actually improved my playboating. Iíd highly recommend one if you are playboating centric like me.

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Old 08-15-2013   #2
KSC's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,032
Thanks for the independent review. I was curious about the paddle when it first came out but some reports of blades breaking and the rubber handles kind of scared me off. I know they're made by the guy who designed the Waterstick paddles and those things were great if you could look past them leaking. Why do you suggest it's more of playboating paddle?

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Old 08-16-2013   #3
Montreal, Quebec
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 3
Thank you for the review Eklars, glad you are enjoying our paddle! Send us a note at through our website CORE Paddles Home or Facebook page with your address and we'll send you a few stickers.

In regards to the pros you probably would really enjoy the 188 for playboating, a lot of people are using shorter paddles for playboating as it can increase the reaction time. The speed you noticed is in part due to the fact that the blade is designed to engage sooner than other paddles you may have used in the past. The paddle was also designed to have huge power on the front and back face.

In regards to the cons that is the first we have ever heard of grips being too grippy as a con! It is true that where you place your hand is where it will stay with the CORE grips, there is no harm in sanding them down a bit to suit your own personal comfort.

As with any carbon fiber blade wear is part of the game, that being said it is important to ensure with a carbon fiber blade paddle that you maintain it properly. This means that if you have a small chip that has a sharp edge sand it down to prevent it catching on another rock and causing more damage. Our blades are strong but will wear like any other carbon fiber blade.


We did have some issues with the first plastic blades due to a new form of injection molding we tried using gas assist technology. Unfortunately about 25% of the blades were junk due to the misplacement of a cooling line on the tooling. We have since scrapped that injection molding tool and redesigned a standard molding tool without gas assist to prevent any issues with the new line of plastic paddles. The Batto plastic series will be coming out for the end of 2013, we will be posting videos of the strength testing of these new blades to show you just how bomber they are.

Why do the grips scare you off? Let us know so we can put any fears you have to rest. The grips are made from a material that does not get slippery when wet so you never have to worry about your hand position.

The paddles are great for both playboating and creeking, it really just depends on the length of paddle you are using. The short paddles will feel perfect for playboating and the longer paddles are going to feel great creeking.

Let us know if you have any questions via our contact info on Facebook or our Website. You can also contact Matti at Ten Mile Creek Kayaks, he is a great guy who can answer any questions you may have about CORE or Kayaking in general.

Happy paddling!

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Old 08-16-2013   #4
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 302
KSC, I've only had the paddle for playboating so far this season. I do creek boat up to a soft V (Gore, barrel etc) but my heart really lies in playboating. I suppose I just can't speak to creeking with it just yet.

On playboating I also was hoping the blades would feel a little smaller than the AT, they looked a little smaller and I was excited about having a little less pull on my blade. Despite going down to a shorter paddle, it actually feels a little more pull. That's a good thing, and one more reason to consider maybe going down 2 sizes from your current paddle.

The rubber grips will be well liked by most boaters. I am weird in that I hold onto my paddle very loosely. If you currently use paddle wax or have a death grip you'll love the grips.

Question to Core Paddles: Had you considered a blade more like the AT2? I think the smooth blade shape and dynell edging are pretty attractive to buyers.
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Old 03-10-2014   #5
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 302
Review update: So the paddle did break but was promptly replaced at no cost to me (even shipping), which was super cool. Customer service at Core gets an A+. It broke in fall of last year when one of the carbon blades snapped clear off. Core said there was a bad batch and that it was already fixed, so I wanted to wait a while before updating the review. Now that I've got some days on the new one I thought I add that it's now pretty stout after a winter of low water paddling on Shoshone.

Also, when I was in possession of my broken warrantied paddle I went ahead and tested it. I put the intact blade on the floor and the rest across a stair over to the other blade stump so that it bridged a nice deep gap over concrete. I jumped as high as I could and drilled on that sucker, as much force as I could get, right in the middle. Then I had my buddy, at 275lbs, do the same. He flexed that shaft into a deep bend, right down to the floor, but it snapped back right back into place with no permanent deflection, even after 10-20 jumps. And the remaining carbon blade, which bore the entire brunt of the load, was unscathed. Pretty frickin' impressive and not something I would do to my AT2. Needless to say, I no longer doubt its durability at all.

A random put in dude had me hold his brand new AT2 SL, it felt lighter, but the swing weight made me laugh out loud. It felt like swinging it through mud compared to the Core. Didn't want to say anything but I can't imagine going back.
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Old 03-12-2014   #6
FatmanZ's Avatar
NOCO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 582
Thanks for posting the info.

I've wanted a CORE paddle since they came out but I've held off. I've been burned on too many paddles from H2O and Waterstick, both predecessor companies to CORE. I really like the innovation by the CORE founder (said innovation seems to leave with new H2O WW paddles since he left) and often complain that Werner is too big and too slow to innovate, or simply no reason to innovate when you're top dog.

So I can either buy a paddle with some neat innovation and risk quality issues and general lack of dealers/availability, or I can buy a tried and true paddle with legendary quality and excellent distribution.

Disclaimer: I'm still using an H2O paddle and love the grips and the durability of the blade, though over the couple years have bought Werner paddles for my boys.
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Old 06-06-2014   #7
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 302
6.6.14 Update: Love the paddle more than ever, and is still stout. However, got some water on the shaft. Drilled tiny holes to drain and sealed them, so all fixed. But compared to my AT2 SL which took 4 years to leak, not so good. None the less, I would still buy again and recommend it to you.
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Old 06-07-2014   #8
FatmanZ's Avatar
NOCO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 582
Why didn't you call them up and warranty it out (again)?

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