Z&J Sport carbon fiber paddles. Any good?

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5 years 10 months ago - 5 years 10 months ago #26641 by Aurelius
Ever since trying out a new Stellar paddle, I've been thinking it may be time to upgrade my decade old paddle, which feels like it's made of lead by comparison. While looking around on e-bay, I found this:



The price is certainly enticing, but my experience on various bicycle forums informs me that high performance components sold directly from China are a bit of a gamble. Sometimes it's as good as any "name brand" costing twice as much, but some of it is just garbage. Has anyone heard of J&Z Sport?
Last edit: 5 years 10 months ago by Aurelius.

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5 years 10 months ago #26646 by Ranga
I might be a biased, but I would never touch a blatant copy. This only encourages the frauds and thieves out there to continue ripping off the genuine article.

Ask yourself this, you would knowingly buy a pair of rip-off Nike running shoes and do your running races in them? I don`t think so! Now that you know they are a rip-off you are informed.

And buyer beware, no warranty!

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5 years 10 months ago - 5 years 10 months ago #26648 by Aurelius

Ranga wrote: I might be a biased, but I would never touch a blatant copy. This only encourages the frauds and thieves out there to continue ripping off the genuine article.

Ask yourself this, you would knowingly buy a pair of rip-off Nike running shoes and do your running races in them? I don`t think so! Now that you know they are a rip-off you are informed.

And buyer beware, no warranty!


What is it a blatant copy of, exactly? If you compare the blade dimensions of their "Mid Wing" paddle to those of the Epic and Stellar paddles, you'll find that all of them are roughly the same, give or take 1 cm. I placed the Stellar Mid Wing paddle on top of my ten year old Knysna Mid Wing paddle, and they were almost identical. Virtually all paddles made today use the same locking mechanism and are made of the same materials. If there's anything unique about any of them so that someone could legitimately claim that one is a "rip-off" of another, it's a mystery to me what it could be.
Last edit: 5 years 10 months ago by Aurelius.

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5 years 10 months ago #26649 by Ranga
Yes they ALL use the same joiner, WHY ask yourself this? They have ALL except the original ripped-off the original EPIC joiner, even stole the required parts from the injection moulder in the same town.
Yes likewise they ALL look the same for the exact same reason, other than the original EPIC blade.
Another one is ask yourself this, why do they use an imperial size for the joiner (25.4mm) in a metric country? Because they even used the exact joiner ferrule that EPIC developed over 20 years ago and being an American company they started with imperial size.
They copied the oval shaft that Epic developed in the USA and subsequently got made in China and then the supplier in China then supplied ALL and sundry whoever paid enough for the PROPRIETY process, that was supposed to be only for the customer who taught them how to do it.
They are such a blatant copy the copy paddles even fit into one and other. The one for sale is one of a dozen small companies that have copied the paddle in the same town in China.
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5 years 10 months ago #26650 by Aurelius

Ranga wrote: Yes they ALL use the same joiner, WHY ask yourself this? They have ALL except the original ripped-off the original EPIC joiner, even stole the required parts from the injection moulder in the same town.
Yes likewise they ALL look the same for the exact same reason, other than the original EPIC blade.
Another one is ask yourself this, why do they use an imperial size for the joiner (25.4mm) in a metric country? Because they even used the exact joiner ferrule that EPIC developed over 20 years ago and being an American company they started with imperial size.
They copied the oval shaft that Epic developed in the USA and subsequently got made in China and then the supplier in China then supplied ALL and sundry whoever paid enough for the PROPRIETY process, that was supposed to be only for the customer who taught them how to do it.
They are such a blatant copy the copy paddles even fit into one and other. The one for sale is one of a dozen small companies that have copied the paddle in the same town in China.


What you're saying then is that it isn't just this particular Chinese manufacturer who is guilty of ripping-off Epic, but every other manufacturer who has made anything similar. And if that's the case, then to avoid "encouraging frauds and thieves", the only paddles we should buy are Epic paddles?

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5 years 10 months ago #26651 by Ranga
They are definitely not the only ones doing this and they definitely do not respect brand either. The paddle shown is Epic however the other original manufactures are not free from this. China are also not the only country that do this either.

There are quite a few original manufactures to choose from, but here comes the clincher, 'as long as they are as cheap as the copies I will buy them'. This is not possible the investment and design cost money, however scanning or copying is very cheap. Warranty and back up service also comes into it.

I will most probably be shot down , and have been for being an advocate of not copying. I will hold my ground on this one, either you are a thief or you are not, CANNOT be half way on this one.
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5 years 10 months ago - 5 years 10 months ago #26656 by Uffilation
I am totally with you one that one Ranga.

cheaper cheaper cheaper is the mantra of the western world, which is why all go to produce in China and Jack&Jane buy Chinese products ... sure, a chinese dad/mom also wants his ´family to prosper and deserves a job as anyone else on the globe, too.

But if one loses more and more production competence, you lose jobs for some important parts of the society who can not earn money by whiping touch screens or by making content-less power point presentations on pointless projects ...



Well, I do not really feel sorry for companies that produce in China and get copied in China though. I feel sorry for those that don't and still get copied, which is why direct China orders bother me if one can "smell" it's most likely a copy, and this just for a "few bucks" price difference.

As for your NIKE example ... yeah, but who gives if you see how and under which circumstances all the big shoe companies let their stuff be produced ... "Proudly designed in the US/AUS/GER/etc.", yeah but who cares if you look how/where it's produced
Last edit: 5 years 10 months ago by Uffilation.

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5 years 10 months ago - 5 years 10 months ago #26657 by MCImes
this discussion is happening on a couple other boards as well. My take is, although it is probably a rip off, if the brand name is made in china, why would I pay 250% more.

If Epics were made in the USA/South africa/AUS, then I can see a difference. In all reality, these paddles are likely the exact same paddle as the name brand but with a different sticker. Anyways, I was just reading some interesting things about America's free trade policies. As far as I'm concerned, companies are getting exactly what they asked for 10-20 years ago, its just not turning out quite as expected. If copies cause enough corporate pain, we may actually see change in where companies choose to manufacture and, more broadly, trade policies. I would argue that is for the better.

If companies dont like Intellectual Property theft, pay for domestic manufacturing where copyright laws actually mean something, or, accept that IP theft happens in developing countries. You cannot have it both ways.
.

Currently paddling a Kai Wa'a Vega Flex in Southern California's ocean waters
Past Boats: Epic V10g1, Stellar SRg1, Fenn XTg1, Swordfish S
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all"
Last edit: 5 years 10 months ago by MCImes.
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5 years 10 months ago - 5 years 10 months ago #26659 by Uffilation
MCImes, agreed, but the consumer's decision (tight is right mentality) is the other factor in the equation.

Not to be misunderstood: folks in developing countries deserve jobs and wealth as anyone else on the globe, it just depends on the motives why companies go there.

As I live in Europe, I favour European built over Chinese. Simply because all in you 'hood benefit from it, including you, if jobs stay/are created where you live or in your neighbour countries (yeah, my interpretation of hood is somewhat larger lol). However, I also bought an V7 as I heard the first ones were to be made in Africa, which I favour, too.. I would not have done so for a Chinese built one (I have not other EPIC) and would have waited a year for the UK-made Nitro instead. Ok, even though the UK is not part of Europe anymore :whistle: . Weird, huh?

btw. on chicken-egg situations, interesting threads (whole threads) on paddle designs:

www.surfski.info/forum/2-announcements/1...l?limitstart=0#16544

www.surfski.info/forum/2-announcements/1...l?limitstart=0#12025]
Last edit: 5 years 10 months ago by Uffilation.

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5 years 10 months ago #26664 by Aurelius
There are only a finite number of ways to design a wing paddle, so it should come as no surprise that refinements to the same basic concept over time begin to look more and more alike, eventually becoming indistinguishable from one another. This is true of every consumer product on the market. To suggest that manufacturers should only produce paddles easily distinguishable from those made by their competitors would mean that at best, all but one of those paddles are sub-optimal in design. To insist that designers deliberately avoid the best solutions merely to avoid the charge of being unoriginal is an absurd proposition.

While it may seem unfair that manufacturers can save themselves huge amount of money in research and development by merely reverse engineering a competitor's product, the argument could be made that it would be even worse if manufacturers were granted permanent monopolies on any product they came up with, and allowed to charge consumers any amount of money they wanted for it.

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5 years 4 months ago #27909 by LakeMan
So, did you end up with the Z&J paddle and if so do you like it?

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

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5 years 4 months ago #27910 by Aurelius
Nope, still using my old paddle for the time being.

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5 years 4 months ago #27911 by LakeMan
Interesting. I guess all you need to do is save up $400 to $500 and get one with a name printed on it. I sure hope it's worth it. Thanks for replying.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

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5 years 4 months ago - 5 years 4 months ago #27912 by MCImes
This November, aliexpress had the 11/11 sale, the equivalent of black Friday in the USA. The online shops offered an extra 10-60% off normal prices.

I picked up a QQ Sport carbon medium wing paddle during this time. Its a no-name brand, but I would guess that they are a factory for one or more of the big OEM's, as the paddle is nearly identical to a standard wing from the big guys.

I paid less than $150 usd shipped which was about 30% off normal price. Its an all carbon wing paddle, 25oz (~710g)

Overall the quality of build was just a hair below the name brand equivalent. One blade was not finish sanded perfectly even, there was a pointy corner on one blade, but it was easily correctable with a belt sander at work. I rounded it off and its now symmetrical with the right blade. My only other complaint is that the locking ferrule is plastic, not metal. I will try to find a metal replacement for if/when the plastic one breaks. For now, it works fine and locks securely; I am just concerned that in the winter (like now in the USA) it could break in cold weather (like 0-5*c) ,or over time, the plastic will break or wear and loosen up.

Anyways, I do not have a lot of experience with different wing paddles, so I cant competently comment on the specifics of the paddle behavior in the stroke, but I know its a knock off of one of the major brands wing design's and I like it a lot. Considering I spent 1/3 of retail on a brand name full carbon paddle, I could not be happier. The finish on the paddle was top-notch, the fabric has no flaws, and it came with a paddle bag. Also came in 2g below the spec'd weight at 25oz.

All in all, I am extremely happy with my knock off paddle. Before you go bashing buying a knock off, money is very tight for me and I simply cannot afford $400+ USD for a paddle. I spent about $700 total for my older V10, paddle, leg leash, and paddle leash. That was about my max budget, and I had to search for 2 years to find a cheap enough ski and paddle, but I eventually found it and am very happy with both acquisitions. I think it helps the sport to grow to have low-cost options to get into the sport. I would have been a Skiier 2 years ago except for the cost of entry.
Do I expect good customer service or a warranty with my paddle? probably not, but I will deal with that given the cost.

Anyways, its not exactly a review of the ZJ sport, but my QQ sport paddle is certainly as good as the median wing paddle for 1/3 the cost. I would not hesitate to buy another off-brand again, and probably will before I can afford top if the line equipment.
I think, If you're in the lead pack, spend the extra $ for top quality equipment. If you're mid pack or back, any off brand paddle will perform more or less the same as others. If the choice is no paddle or a knock-off paddle, I just want to get on a ski any what I can, and the cheap paddle was very effective means to and end. And a great deal in general.

Just my $.02
Cheers

Currently paddling a Kai Wa'a Vega Flex in Southern California's ocean waters
Past Boats: Epic V10g1, Stellar SRg1, Fenn XTg1, Swordfish S
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all"
Last edit: 5 years 4 months ago by MCImes.

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5 years 4 months ago #27913 by LakeMan
Sounds like you got a good deal. My income has dropped to 1/4 of what I used to make so I'm in the same boat as you are. (Yes, the pun was intentional.) While I would love to take five thousand usd and buy the best I can no longer do that. I have a family to support so my needs come second (or is that third?). I congratulate you on looking for a ski for two years. That took a lot of patients. I ordered a new paddle today but don't expect it to arrive for some time. I'll post a review on it at a later date.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

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