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 http://www.facebook.com/CorePaddles
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.