Another unique import designed to do something clever, the W1 Ultra is an adjustable shaft kayak paddle from French manufacturer Select Paddles. The build quality of the full carbon/Kevlar lay-up, including versatile river running/freestyle blades, is top-notch, but the changeable shaft length—a first for whitewater kayak paddles—is what really grabbed our attention.
The W1 bent shaft adjusts up to five centimetres, while a straight shaft gives you 10 centimetres to play with. Both also feature limitless feather adjustment. The offset placement of the ferrule lock reduces the likelihood of a break mid-shaft but creates a slight off-balance in paddle swing. The ferrule itself uses an Allen key lock—slip-proof, but we don’t recommend working the tiny metal key with numb fingers anywhere near moving water.
All Select Paddles are also available with a standard one-piece shaft. Available from Kayak Import, www.kayakimport.ca.
www.select-kayaks.com | $399