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Shawn Forry
(porkpie73) - F - M

Locale: High Sierra
Alpacka Ninja Paddle on 09/05/2012 20:39:27 MDT Print View

Anybody have any experience with these? Looking for a lightweight paddle for basic flat water raft crossings. Class 1-2 at most. At $95 for a 15oz carbon paddle, it seems like a win-win. Only a 2 piece design seems like the only downfall. Thoughts?

Shawn

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Paddles on 09/06/2012 23:19:01 MDT Print View

If you're only crossing flat water (and not huge bodies of it) then I'd use the trekking pole paddles. Half the price and weight of the Ninja and far more packable. I have these, and they're a neat little tool. They're pretty small (smaller than they look in the photos) and flexy, but they're fine for crossing small lakes or class I.

I have no experience with the Ninja (or a 2 piece paddle), but it seems like a 2 piece paddle is okay to carry if you're on open trails, but if the trails go through tight forest/brush etc then it would start to suck pretty quick.

Douglas Ray
(dirtbagclimber)

Locale: Pacific Northwest
4 pieces on 09/07/2012 12:36:03 MDT Print View

I don't know a great deal about paddles, but the pictures on Alpaca's website show the Ninja paddle as 4 pieces rather than 2. It doesn't say how long it is when packed, but from the photo I'd guess around 90cm.

Mike H
(mikehaf) - M
Used a ninja on 10/25/2012 08:34:13 MDT Print View

I went with the ninja down approx 8 miles of the Manistee river for my first ever packraft trip and the paddle worked *much* better than anticipated considering the small surface area of the blades. The river speed was relatively high considering all the rain we've been getting out here in Michigan over the last couple weeks.

It is definitely a 4 piece, with a simple metal pin connection between each piece. The pieces fit very snug and the paddle feels quite rigid. I was very skeptical that I would have much control, but at around 210lbs with ~15lbs of pack gear, my Yak handled great down some pretty quick moving class 1 water. There were instances where I needed to maneuver around some fallen trees, and I felt very under control. The blades are nicely shaped for normal paddling and give decent propulsion, but aren't the best under backpaddle (of course you could flip the paddle). The paddle weighs in around 14 oz on my scale, and the center pole could probably double as a shelter support.

I can't comment on how this compares with other paddles, mainly because this was the first time on a packraft, which seems to have such different dynamics compared to a kayak.