Werner Rip StickGET IT
Best Surf Performer: A decade ago, when standup paddling was first exploding as a discipline, new manufacturers also began swarming to the scene. As SUP surfers and new paddle prototypes alike moved into surf lineups, a broken paddle split to pieces was not an uncommon sight in the surf zone. Unproven designs were exposed by explosive sudden power strokes, off-angle brace-stroke demands and torque from unexpected wipeouts. When a discerning friend, overwhelmed by the options, started walking me through his online research, I cut him off. “Let me make this easy on you,” I said. “Just buy a Werner.” Investing in one essentially indestructible paddle beats having to purchase a cheaper, breakable product multiple times. The Washington manufacturer entered the SUP game with a huge leg up, benefitting from prior decades building composite paddles to withstand the rocky paddle-snapping rigors of whitewater paddling. Its latest iteration for the surf zone is also a simple solution for those who want the best when it comes to light and strong. The Rip Stick’s smaller 89-square-inch blade favors high cadence and high power, staying buoyant in the whitewash. Credit a double-dihedral power face that creates a split pair of concave ‘power pockets.’ The carbon shaft offers a bit more flex than some of Werner’s previous surf sticks, which complements the dependable and powerful catch and total weight of 16.25 featherlight ounces. On the biggest days when I’m asking the most of my paddle, this is what I reach for. Call it an editor’s pick. — D.S.
[$324 for straight one-piece, wernerpaddles.com]
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