by Bryant Burkhardt
Working in a kayak shop and as an instructor you get asked for recommendations a lot. Normally you give advice from experience. But with hundreds of kayak models and thousands of bits of gear I don’t actually have first hand experience with everything. So sometimes you give advice based on principles – long, skinny boats will be faster, a PFD with lots of pockets will store more gear, etc.When people come in looking for a high angle touring paddle I generally recommend the Werner Cyprus. It’s a high angle, foam core touring paddle with a mid size blade that I have heard lots of positive feedback on though I’ve never really gotten the chance to try it out myself. Many people come in looking at the Ikelos, which is the larger size blade. They want the extra power and extra support that a large blade will give them.
Now I have used the Ikelos. And I own and use a Corryvrecken which is the same size and shape as the Ikelos, just without the foam core. It’s a lot of paddle. I’m a fairly strong and fit paddler (it is my job after all) and it’s almost too much for me. But in the rock gardens I like that power even though it is hard on my body. I believe the average paddler is better off with a smaller blade and a faster, easier stroke rate, especially when touring. So that’s why I recommend the Cyprus even though I don’t use it personally.
But this past weekend I was teaching an ACA Instructor Development Workshop in Half Moon Bay and decided to take our demo Cyprus to use for the class. And now I can say from personal experience: the Cyprus is great! For modeling technique the high angle blade worked perfect and the foam core made for a clean exit on strokes. For our navigation exercises paddling around SF Bay the size of the blade was just right – I could cruise all day with little effort. In the surf zone I could kick up a really fast cadence and accelerate onto the waves. And when we had a minor issue that required me sprinting a mile back to the truck I never felt like the smaller blade limited my speed at all (though I did feel like I need more cardio work, but that’s another story).
My regular touring paddle is the Camano (or Kalliste for the foam core) and I don’t plan to change that – I’m a low angle paddler who likes to go long distances. And I will keep using my Corryvrecken in the rock gardens – I find the one stroke power move a useful tool. But anyone looking for a high angle paddle should put the Cyprus on the top of their list. It works for just about everything and unless you are an incredibly strong person your joints will thank you for the relief it provides.