Carlisle Expedition Paddle E-mail
Written by Allen Bushnell   
Monday, 15 July 2013 00:00

expedfull  

Our recent KFM/Old Town John Day River trip was made all the more enjoyable with the inclusion of Carlisle Expedition paddles. The Expedition is available in lengths of 220, 230 or 240cm. We chose to use the 240, to complement the wider rails of the Old Town Predator. The Expedition paddle is of fiberglass construction, both shaft and blade, and is intended to fill the “higher-quality/lower price” niche. In our opinion, it performs this function admirably.

This is a beautiful paddle, especially in the golden yellow color. Semi-transparent, the light shines through the blades and the fiberglass weave is distinct, echoing the appearance of higher-priced carbon models. An “Angler” edition is also available in an olive color. Functionality is identical, and the subdued green color (Angler Edition) would lend itself to stealthy forays in backwaters and bayous.

On our long river trip, the Expedition proved to be apt and able. Despite its glossy good looks, the paddle proved tough enough CarlisleBrian for digging into gravel and pushing off rocks, not to mention fending basalt column walls at tailouts of a few class two rapids. Ferrules are tight with no play whatsoever, and the two-piece Expedition is silky smooth during breakdown and reassembly.

I have used a couple yellow Expeditions in my kayak-fishing guide business for the past season, and  they held up well through multiple trips, despite being subject to occasional rookie client abuse. Neither of my client Expedition paddles have any cracks or chips after a year of heavy use.

River kayaking, however, is infinitely more abusive than saltwater guide trips. Shallow water, cobblestone, gravel banks, boulders and cliff faces all require occasional contact (sometimes even on purpose). Seven kayakers in four days for 44 miles, and we experienced no dings, dents, chips or cracks on these tough paddles. Not even from a rookie river kayaker like me.

Comfortable for all-day gripping, we found the Expedition’s stroke to have a good entry and a snappy release. This is especially critical when running the rapids and chutes. Quick re-directing of the boat requires a fair measure of rapid high-angle sprint-type paddling if one wants to avoid the boulders in one’s path. The Expedition was equally at home in calm portions of the river, its broad blade providing smooth and consistent propulsion through the slow spots. Stiff headwinds blowing upriver were easily countered with a 60-degree feather.

In all, Carlisle has hit a home run with this paddle for form and functionality. One minor drawback of the Expedition paddle is that at a specified weight of 33 ounces, it is at the heavier end of all-fiberglass paddles. However at an MSRP of only $159.99, it’s a sleek and durable paddle at a value price point that can provide many years of above-average service. Learn more about the Expedition Paddle at http://store.carlislepaddles.com/products/453829/Expedition.

 

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