Adventure Technology Exodus Superlight Carbon fiber bent shaft kayak paddle review

I am on a quest to find a flat water kayak paddle that is comfortable and produces minimal flutter with my unrefined paddle technique. Confluence Watersports was kind enough to […]
Adventure Technology Exodus Superlight Carbon fiber bent shaft kayak paddle review (1)

Jeff’s cheesy pose with AT Exodus Superlight Carbon fiber bent shaft kayak paddle

I am on a quest to find a flat water kayak paddle that is comfortable and produces minimal flutter with my unrefined paddle technique. Confluence Watersports was kind enough to lend me a Sales Rep sample of their latest high performance paddle from the AT brand: Adventure Technology Exodus Superlight Carbon fiber bent shaft kayak paddle. Now THAT is a mouthful!

You may recall that I was underwhelmed last season when I reviewed the Werner Ikelos bent shaft carbon fiber kayak paddle and found fault with multiple aspects of the pricey paddle’s design and build. So, when Tony, the local Confluence rep, offered to let me try his sample Adventure Technology Exodus Superlight Carbon fiber bent shaft kayak paddle, I had to remind myself not to get too excited or to anticipate too much.

Did the new AT paddle impress, or depress? Read on to find out… 🙂

*More pictures at the bottom of the page.

Do you really NEED a $400+ paddle for kayaking?

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Stock photo from AT 🙂

Need is such a subjective word.
From a practical standpoint, here is how this “weekend warrior” sees it: for casual paddling around the dock at the local lake, playing with the kids, pretty much any gear will work. It may not be ideal, but how much does that really matter when you are 30 ft from the dock? However, folks like me don’t stay by the dock long. We start to venture from the dock to tackle open water, greater distances, moving water, to go places where you need extra gear… like camping or fishing. In these circumstances specialized gear can be the difference between a very enjoyable excursion, and wishing you had stayed home.
With an MSRP of $465, the Adventure Technology Exodus Superlight Carbon fiber bent shaft kayak paddle is one of the most expensive paddles I’ve tried. Since I’m a rather thrifty person (my wife says I’m cheap), the price alone sets the bar pretty high for me. To be worth this much money to ME, it will have to really perform.

Fit and finish
The Adventure Technology Exodus Superlight Carbon fiber bent shaft kayak paddle that I am reviewing came with a big caveat that it is a Sales Sample and not from the final production run that will be available to consumers. I was told that the finish may not be perfect and the adjustable center joint may be a bit loose.
With that said, I am impressed with the overall finish quality. I have not noted any defects in workmanship and would consider this a suitable retail paddle.

The adjustable center joint could be a bit tighter on this sample paddle, but has less play than the Werner Ikelos bent shaft carbon fiber kayak paddle I reviewed last season.

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blade offset adjustment ferrule almost closed and locked

Speaking of the adjustable center joint… AT calls it the “Synapse Ferrule with SmartSet Technology”… and it is awesome! Even on this sales sample paddle the ferrule worked very nicely. It is so simple to use, even I figured it out quickly. With the two halves of the paddle locked together (this is a two-piece, take apart paddle), pull on each side of the paddle away from the center of the shaft. This exposes an index of numbers. Align the dot on one side of the shaft with the index for the number of degrees of offset you desire, then let the spring tension pull the sides of the shaft back together to lock the offset. Adjustment proved to be very simple and secure. The whole adjustment mechanism is contained within the bent paddle shaft, unlike some of the less expensive AT paddles that have a bulbous ferrule that wraps around the paddle shaft.

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blade offset adjustment ferrule open so you can see the adjustment index

The water was still relatively cool when I tested the AT Exodus Superlight Carbon fiber bent shaft kayak paddle, so every paddle stroke caused an annoying drip of cold water in my lap. I slid the drip rings out to towards the paddle blades in hopes of deflecting the cold drip outboard of my thighs, but found that the shaft spreads out at the base of the blade making a diamond shaped cross section. The drip ring doesn’t conform well to this shaft shape and lets some water slip through. Mildly annoying.

Overall, I am impressed with the AT Exodus Superlight Carbon fiber bent shaft kayak paddle.

Feel

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a look down the paddle showing the bent shaft

It appears that AT calls the shape of the standard diameter shaft on the AT Exodus Superlight Carbon fiber bent shaft kayak paddle the “Full Control Grip”. In plain english, this is where they make the grip sections of the shaft an oval cross section instead of a circle cross section. The idea is to give you a tactile clue by the shape of the shaft whether you are holding the blades in the proper orientation. I have other paddles that only have a bump or ridge running town the back of one side of the shaft (the left side on one paddle, the right side on another). I also have aluminum paddles where the shaft has been squeezed so that it is an oval cross section. In most cases this ridge is useful, but doesn’t feel natural. AT Exodus Superlight Carbon fiber bent shaft kayak paddle, as with the Werner Ikelos bent shaft carbon fiber kayak paddle, the cross section shape of the shaft feels more natural.

Tony, the Confluence / AT rep that I met at GetOutdoors, told me that the bend in the shaft is to allow a more natural arm and shoulder alignment to reduce stress and enhance comfort, especially over longer stints in the kayak. While I haven’t yet had a chance to validate this with a long distance outing, I can report that holding the paddle on the curved grip sections did feel comfortable. I suspect that the relatively low swing weight has as much or more impact on long distance comfort as the bend of the shaft.

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Back of paddle. Note the slight hump where the urethane core resides

Another feature that I’m told is helpful on longer distance trips is the urethane foam core in the blade, as it provides some buoyancy and helps the blade pop out of the water on the upstroke. As with my review of the Werner Ikelos bent shaft carbon fiber kayak paddle, I haven’t really noticed this. I’ve had more experienced paddlers tell me that it is very noticeable, but I’m still new enough at paddling that I’m not yet able to feel it.

Adventure Technology Exodus Superlight Carbon fiber bent shaft kayak paddle review

AT’s paddle performance diagram

I was, however, able to feel how stiff the shaft is. As a hockey player that has used both flexible and very stiff hockey sticks I’m a bit more attune to shaft flex. Even when really paddling hard I found that the AT Exodus Superlight Carbon fiber bent shaft kayak paddle shaft allowed very little flex.

Advertised as “Superlight” at 33.5oz, I weighed the AT Exodus Superlight Carbon fiber bent shaft kayak paddle on the scale I use to weigh backpacking gear and found this one to be 33.78oz. I believe it is a 220, so I would expect the 210 to be a touch lighter.

What about FLUTTER?!

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Note the slight dihedral, oversized blade face, and slight upturn at the tip

Yeah, flutter has been the downfall of every other paddle that I’ve reviewed. I don’t doubt that the reason I feel flutter is attributable to my unrefined, rookie paddling technique. However, flutter absolutely drives me nuts. I can honestly say a few things about the AT Exodus Superlight Carbon fiber bent shaft kayak paddle: a) this is the closest to a flutter-free paddle as I have tried so far, b) I found that I could reduce or even eliminate the flutter by adjusting the angle at which the paddle blade entered the water. I tried altering the blade entry angle with other paddles and was unable to virtually eliminate flutter. c) with this paddle, I was even able to paddle very hard with minimal to no flutter if I was paying attention to the blade entry angle.
This blade shape works very well for me.

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another look at the slight cupping at the tip, from the back of the blade

I guess the most telling judgement I can make is whether I will be buying one. I’m in a bit of a unique position in that I am often able to borrow new paddles to write reviews. If that were not the case, then I would definitely consider the AT Exodus Superlight Carbon fiber bent shaft kayak paddle. To be honest, as a weekend paddler that spends most of my time on the water with my 6, 7, and 8 year olds, a high-end paddle like this is a luxury that I can probably do without. So, I’ll likely keep an eye on the sale rack and may consider picking one up if on sale. I just can’t justify almost $500 for the limited amount of use that it would see in my fleet, alongside demo paddles… but if I come into a bit of spare spending cash, Will at GetOutdoors may have to order one for me.

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Try taking a picture while paddling. It is harder than you think! 🙂

Description from AT:

MSRP $465
WEIGHT 33.5 oz
AVAILABLE LENGTHS 210, 220, 230, 240
SHAFT Carbon Braid; Unibody Construction; Full Control Grip; Standard Diameter
Ferrule Synapse Ferrule with SmartSet Technology
BLADE 633 sq cm; Oversize Blade; Carbon Braid; Urethane Foam Core

The Exodus Superlight features a full carbon-braided construction. Its slightly larger blade is designed for more power without adding flutter. A great choice for those seeking the lightest available paddle for easier rolling, additional stability, and better grip in the water.

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AT Exodus Superlight CF with Wilderness Systems Tarpon 160

Gear Report rating:

Gear Score
Gearswww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Pricey, but well made, light, comfortable and VIRTUALLY FLUTTER FREE!!.

Please leave a comment to let me know if this review was helpful to you.

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