The package: The 2015 glass and bamboo 3 piece travel paddle breaks down into pieces no longer than 37″ which neatly fit into your inflatable SUP bag. If you leave the adjustable handle shaft section in the main shaft as you can see in one of the photos below, you have fewer pieces to carry around but the overall length of these 2 combined sections is now 41″. The glass blade measures 7 1/8″ across and 16″ to the shoulder.
The glass and bamboo combination SUP paddle addresses the 2 drawbacks of the full glass paddles and the full carbon paddles. Full fibreglass 3 piece paddles tend to be around 35 oz while full carbons are around 31 oz. Full carbon paddles are a little more expensive at $299+ compared to a glass paddle at just $239. The bamboo and glass combination 3 piece paddle comes in at 33 oz and just $279. Include that with a very comfortable flex from the natural bamboo construction and you have a top notch paddle at a decent price.
The paddle features a push-pin system and secondary clamp to lock in the main shaft to the blade section. The secondary clamp ensures there is no wobble or flex in the joint. The adjustable handle slides into the main shaft and is locked into place by another lever and clamp, but this one also features a small locking latch to avoid any inadvertent openings while paddling. It is not a pin system, so you will need to align the handle with the blade for paddling but you get infinite adjust. Both locking clamp systems feature screws for adjustment and are very effective at keeping the joint and adjustable shaft locked in with no play, but they are not as streamlined as the Tite-Set bolt or LeverLock systems as found on the higher end Globetrotter GT travel paddle.
On the water: The glass and bamboo paddle is a wonderfully comfortable paddle and blade. The natural flex and light weight of the bamboo combined with the medium sized blade makes it a pleasure to use for extended periods or just general easy cruising. It is easy to adjust on the fly with the clamp and infinite positioning, the only thing you need to keep an eye on is making sure the handle is the right way around and in line with the blade. There is no noticeable play in either shaft joins and it flexes oh so nicely under power. I go on about flex a lot but a paddle without flex is like a car without suspension. Primarily with the shoulders in mind, flex cushions the abrupt catch phase of the paddle stroke (inserting and starting to pull on the paddle) and eases the exit of the blade as the shaft comes back to straight as it comes out of the water. The amount of flex is more a personal matter but after years of kiteboarding (un-hooked with the brunt of the kite’s force going through my arms, shoulders and back) I like a paddle that’s easy on my shoulders! I’m 190lbs but bigger/stronger paddlers may find it to be too flexy. This paddle suits a higher cadence (like me) rather than low cadence powerful strokes if you’re a bigger paddler.
- 3 piece paddle
- Fibreglass and bamboo construction
- Dual locking system for main shaft join
- Infinite handle adjustment
- Adjustable range: 175 – 217 cm (68 – 85 inches)
- Weight: 33.5 oz or 950 grams.
- Fits in Red Paddle Co travel bag
- Comfortable linear flex and rebound (bending and returning to straight)
- Natural material
- Light weight
- Secure dual shaft locking system
- Infinite adjust handle
- Comfortable and grippy handle
- Having to align the handle after adjusting. It’s entirely doable but a bit tricky while on the water for lazy folk like me!
- Bigger/stronger paddlers or larger paddlers riding longer boards in waves may find it to be too flexy.
The Red Paddle Co Glass and Bamboo adjustable 3 piece SUP paddle is an awesome paddle. The second most popular, behind the full carbon 3 piece by Red Paddle Co, it is my go to travel paddle and it is going to be a big hit this summer.