Totally. I’m not going to talk about the tech stuff that goes into the Quickblade V Drive. If you want all that, head over to West Coast Paddle Sports and they’ll give you all the deets. What I am going to talk about is my experience with the V Drive.
Okay, it started back in the summer 2014 when my buddy Byron was talking about this new paddle he wanted to get. He rambled on about the techy stuff, why it’s awesome this and why it’s awesome that. Then, he mentioned how much it costs. I just about fell into the water when he said “five hundred and…” The most expensive paddle I’ve held in my hands was around $350. Even then, I didn’t really feel the difference. So five hundred and change!? What the heck?
During that time, I was using a no-frills standard flatwater paddle. I felt fine to me. It was one that you can pick up for $150 or so. And it paddled fine. Then again, that’s all I knew about paddles. If it pulls you forward it works, right? Wrong.
A couple months later Byron actually bought a V Drive and he brought it out on one of our pub paddles at Spanish Landing. Just before we pulled up to the Harbor Deli for some brew, I asked if I could try it. I think he was reluctant to hand over his expensive paddle, but he did and I was somewhat cautious.
I took a couple stokes and then asked him if I can get in there and give it some torque. He said, “sure, it’s got a lifetime warranty.” You might want to double check with Bob on that one. So I got the green light to paddle hard and this is when I realized a few things…
1. Because it had a little more flex than my paddle I almost could feel the ‘pop’ as the paddle sprung back into the straight position.
2. The paddle just felt good. The super mini ridges on the tapered shaft held a good grip. And the hand bulb fit perfectly into my hand. Props to the designer on that one.
3. For me, the one thing that I really noticed is when the paddle left the water. It was smooth, yes, but it was the weight of the paddle is what blew my mind. When I was bringing it back to the front of the board, that’s when it all clicked.
When I dug the blade back into the water, the stoke was solid. No fluttering of the blade at all. Add that with ‘pop’ from the kinetic energy of the shaft and you just hit turbo. Finally, the weight… the feather weight paddle allows you to do two things: raise your cadence and/or go for longer paddles with less fatigue. That is huge for racers and paddlers that like to go far. I like to do both.
Is the Quickblade V Drive worth the hype and the $500 bones you have to shell out? If you spend at least three days a week on the water, I would suggest you save your money and get the V Drive. It’s worth the hype.
Rinse it with fresh water after every use and keep it in a paddle bag when you’re not using it. That’s what I do with mine.