Paddles - Jantex Flexi Soft Shaft

2 years 7 months ago #29023 by cunningt
I have a dilemma – I am ordering a new paddle; i have opted for Jantex Gamma Rio medium minus and have been advised to get the Flexi Soft shaft (Green) as opposed to the Soft (white) shaft.

Jantex state that the Green is mainly suitable for smaller paddlers; but Ive seen a lot of larger paddlers with them. What are other peoples experience. I note that the Green shaft is the most popular in Australia and SA?

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2 years 7 months ago #29024 by Scode
For what its worth I know Sean Rice uses the green shaft. I was a bit surprised when I picked up his paddle as he is a pretty strong guy but he told me its much easier on his shoulders than the white shaft.
Cory Hill also uses the softest Bennett shaft in his paddle. Two of the best paddlers using very soft shafts.
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2 years 7 months ago #29026 by nell
I've had both for surfski. Don't let the name Flexi-soft fool you as I'd still put it at medium in flex. The white shaft is more of a firm-medium flex.

The paddle shafts have verbiage that is geared towards sprint, so keep that in mind.

As a 86 kg male ski paddler, the ones that I'm finding comfortable to use are the Gara 40% Ultralight, the Braca 19k with 5 cm adjustment. The Jantex Flexi-soft feels a hair stiffer than these two. The older burgundy shaft Epic might be a similar to or a bit more flexible than the Flexi-soft.

Also, my comments above pertain to 2 pc shafts.
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2 years 7 months ago #29028 by AR_convert
I have found my new Gara with 60% carbon far stiffer than previous 60% carbon shaft paddles but I have the standard model which is very well built. I suspect their ultralight build paddle maybe have a bit more give?
I'm now facing having to buy another paddle as its too stiff for me. (Marathon river)

Current - Carbonology"Flash" Vajda "Infusion II K1" Previously ~Finn"Molokai Mk II"~Knysna "Vantage Pro K1' Carbonology "Vault"~Epic"V10L & Sport"~ [/b]Fenn"Mill Double" ~Spirit"PRS"~Finn"Affinity"
Always looking for the next boat :)
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2 years 7 months ago #29030 by cunningt
Thanks nell that is really useful

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2 years 7 months ago #29036 by Steve Hansen
So who is making the "softest" most flexible paddles these days ? My first wing paddle, twenty years ago, was a Canoesports Turbo II from S. Africa. I loved how flexible it was although it was a bit clunky and heavy by today's standards.

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2 years 7 months ago #29037 by nell
I've got several paddles at the moment from several manufacturers - jantex, Braca, Gara, burgundy Epic, and about six other shafts that I've been demo'ing for no particular reason other than curiosity. My two favorites:

The 1 pc Braca 19k shaft is very nice. It's got a lively flex to it and is comfortable to use across a wide range of effort. The 19k 2 pc shafts are ok but 1 pc really stands out.

For 2 pc shafts, I like the Gara 40% Ultralight. I was hesitant to purchase it because I didn't think it would be very high performance with only 40% carbon. But, it's light and lively and every bit as nice to use as the 1 pc 19k. OD is 28.5, I think.

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2 years 7 months ago #29040 by Steve Hansen
Come to think of it, that flexy paddle I spoke of was a one piece. I'm sure that's partly why it flexed so nicely. As far as I'm concerned, 2 piece is the only way to go. I'm constantly changing length, up wind, down wind, getting tired etc. The Gara sounds promising, what model blades are you using? Did you order it directly from Gara or a U.S. rep?
I'm currently using an Epic mid small and I'm quite happy with it: very predictable, stable. Never had it go under the boat like some others :). But I'm really curious about a parallel blade shape. Any experience with parallel blades, Erik?

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2 years 7 months ago #29044 by Fath2o
Hi Steve i'm not Erik but I used a parallel blade for a while.
First of all let me say that I am not very paddle savvy. I am also cheap, which influences my purchasing decisions. Still have a flip phone.
My first wing paddle was a Fenn 1 which I believe is a parallel blade.
It is a big blade and found it to be powerful in flat water, but, a handful in rough ocean conditions and the surf zone. Also has a lot of windage.
I replaced it with an Orka inner (teardrop) that I really like and used for years. Much
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better for me and the type of paddling I do. The Orka started braking down and has some minor stress cracks after being repaired and I can't trust my life to it anymore in gale force downwinds. I replaced it with a small wing that I really enjoy. Especially now that I am older with nerve damage, muscle tears and arthritis in my worn out shoulders and neck.

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2 years 7 months ago #29054 by nell
Funny you should ask, Steve. I have to state upfront that I've purchased far too many paddles over the past three years and I really can't put my finger on why this is because I'd rather simplify than accumulate stuff these days. All I can say is that my brain doesn't seem to want to shut off when I'm paddling so any minor annoyances with paddle feel or boat fit or feel seem grow out of proportion and then I'm stuck wanting to try something else. In any case, I think that blade shape is only 1/4 of what makes a paddle feel good - like it's a thoughtless extension of your arms. Shaft flex and blade flex would be another, the subtle angles of rake/layback another, the area above and below the imaginary axis of the shaft through the blade another, and blade weight and whole-paddle weight distribution another. I'm not sure if all manufacturers put as much emphasis as is needed on some of these minor details which explains why some paddles that look so similar can feel so different.

I'm partial to a smaller diameter shaft of 28-28.5 mm, too. The Braca XI 19k 1 pc and the Epic small-mid are still my favorite as far as balance and feel and ease of use - don't like the large-ish oval shaft, though. I've got older Epic blades (made for a round shaft) on a 1 pc, but since I filed down the blade stems to fit the only round shaft I had at the time, I don't completely trust it.

I got a Gara Odin from Bruce Gipson at Venturesports in FL. The Odin has a really nice balance and feel, but now that I've spent more time with it, it feels too large for me at marathon race speeds - the catch is too powerful is what I think it is. I should have bought the Odin S.

I have a Gara Magni parallel blade. Used it for the first time this am. I used to use a Fenn 1 many years ago until 1 blade broke at the neck and then I lost trust in that one (I would bet that they are better now, though). I think the Magni is the same size and shape as the Fenn 1. The Magni seems to have more rake/layback, though, and Gara's description says that it makes the blade easier to use, but my initial impression is that it makes the whole paddle feel a bit unbalanced. It did feel very good at high load during a set of intervals this am, though. I'm not sure what my future is with this particular paddle. I may just need to spend more time with it.

I had a G Power Ultralight (parallel blade) a couple of years ago. Beautifully made and I really wanted to like it, but it just felt crazy stiff and had a really dead awful feel to me. Also had a Jantex Alpha (parallel blade) and couldn't get it to stop kerplunking at the catch - my personal opinion is that the Alpha has too low a rake/layback (so it kerplunks) while the Magni might have too high a layback (so it feels a bit unbalanced). I feel this way because at one time I had 3 Fenn 1's and every one felt different in the water. I finally figured out that the rake/layback varied from 5 deg to 9 deg, due to the blade stems being too small for the shafts, so their rake was set by the position they were in when the glue was drying (this was 2004). At 7 and 8 deg, the blade was good. At 5 deg it kerplunked incessantly, and at 9 deg it felt a bit loose and unbalanced in the water. The shocker to me was how much a tiny change like that could make in a paddle.

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2 years 7 months ago #29059 by Steve Hansen
I'm beginning to think paddles are like bicycle seats, music and politics: very personal ! I tried a Fenn I a long time ago, didn't like it. I think it was the twist that seemed odd at the time. I'm actually pretty happy with my Epic small mid. My only wish would be for it to be a bit more flexible, thus easier on the shoulders.

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2 years 7 months ago #29082 by Steve Hansen
Ah, the illusive search for the perfect paddle and surfski. Erik, I think it's just human nature to be unsatisfied. It's what makes us human. Paddles are fascinating: endless variations and trade offs, along with each paddler being unique in stature and bio-mechanics. Kind of like skis. I absolutely love reading ski reviews. So much going on with skis: flex, camber, rocker, dampening, turn radius, does it float, smear, does it have a top speed, is it good in the trees or bumps?

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2 years 7 months ago #29083 by Steve Hansen
Why do you think you like small diameter shafts? I would think that bigger diameter shafts would offer better control and better pressure distribution in the palm of the hand. And why do you prefer round shafts: Is it that the oval seems to be in the wrong position or is it something else?
My paddle experience is limited. Canoesports Turbo II, Gut, Epic mid and small mid. The Gut felt a lot like the Epics but was way to big. Fenn IV: too big and heavy. I tried a few Braca's years ago, nice feel but was turned off by the hose clamp adjustment, price and weight. Sounds like the XI is a winner.
When are paddle manufacturers going to have a loaner program? One idea would be for manufacturers to send a paddle to a geographic area, to be passed around from club to club for a period of time. I think I'm going to ask, can't hurt !

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2 years 7 months ago #29097 by nell
I think that if the blade is balanced well on the shaft, and most are, then I find that a smaller shaft size relaxes my hands substantially so that my grip becomes loose and my forearms relaxed throughout the stroke. Years ago, I used a Maxpaddle M3 with a skinny shaft (26mm) and after I got used to it over a few hours, I really enjoyed using it. Most OD's are about 29 mm. I find 28 to 28.5 mm OD noticeably easier for me to use.

An oval shaft might be optimal, but if so, it would have to be smaller in diameter to that available on the market right now.

Human nature... correct. There's always room for improvement in everything - though I wouldn't say I'm dissatisfied, if that makes sense.

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2 years 7 months ago - 2 years 7 months ago #29106 by Newbflat
Just received a Jantex Rio small plus with a Flexi soft shaft. I haven't used it yet but comparing it to my Epic small mid "club" green shaft the Jantex is much stiffer. Much closer to the epic burgundy shaft than the green. I wasn't expecting such a stiff shaft and I'm not sure how my shoulders will feel about that... we shall see. It's hard to beleave there are 4 stiffer shafts than this!

Steve Hanson..... if you like the Epic small mid but want a softer shaft, try the "club" version. It's only 2oz heaver but it's all in the shaft so it hardly effects the swing weight and the blades are the same as the next model up. The green shaft is very flexy and easy on my shoulders, plus it's a bargain price wise.

FENN Bluefin S
FENN Swordfish S carbon hybrid
Lot and lots of DK rudders.


Had:
Stellar SEL excel (gen 2)
Stellar SR excel (gen2)
Stellar S18s g1 (excel)
Epic V10 Double (performance)
Stellar SR (gen 1)
V10 sport (gen 2)
V10 (Gen 2)
Beater SEL (gen 1)
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