SwimRun Material Test: Paddles
Cruising through the open waters with the propulsion of swim paddles – that’s the signature move of a Swimrunner. There are as many different levels of swimming fitness as there are different race course / training types from flat-and-fast sprint Swimruns to demanding rough water stretches as seen in the Hvar race this April. The transitions and trailrunning add additional demands to the “shovels” that go beyond the average pool swimmers usage for e.g. strength workouts. So which paddles to choose?
SwimRun Test international
At the end of March, World of Swimrun (WoS), Swimrun France (SR-F) and Swimrun Germany (SR-G) teamed up in Marseille, France for the 1st ever international swimrun equipment test. During 4 days the team tested and debated swimrun equipment from over 40 manufacturers, among them, 10 different types of swimrun wetsuits. Contrary to normal calm conditions in the rugged and steep terrain of Calanque de Sormiou, Marseille, the test was conducted in rain, storm-winds, huge waves, strong currents and sun.
Even though the different types serve different purposes, the green Strokemaster paddles reached the highest overall score. Looking at the small gaps to other models – which is actually good since it shows good performance overall – one might look at other focus areas as weight, size, transition ease or water feeling.
Best performance in the water
By far the best paddles in the water were the Colting ones. They might not be leading in other fields but if the swim is you main focus you might want to go for it. As from the rough waters experience on the testing weekend: Water performance is NOT determined in your training pool. Hit the waves to see what suits you well!
Best in transition
The test teams consensus here was the the Racepaddles are fastest yet the other models are close behind.
Best strap comfort
Strap comfort is again very individual – some like it thight, other more loose. The Strokemaster models were the test teams favourite here.
We all have to carry our weight… at least all race gear to the finish line. So if you want to go really light you may want to choose a full carbon model from Racepaddle. They are not cheap but have their strengths in transition – their weaknesses could be self-tuned following the comments shown in the charts table.
OK, size does matter. For some. Others might consider paddles that fit their swimming strengths more. Strokemaster offers a large range of sizes and the red one we tested is by far not the biggest in stock.
We want to thank all manufacturers that helped us by providing equipment for our test:
We also want to extend a BIG thank you to www.randorunning.com for helping us with the logistics, Fix parents for housing the testing team, and last but not least, all you swimrunners who have followed us over the weekend, liked what we do and asked us so many intelligent questions. And don’t forget to test the wetsuit in real life swimrun conditions, since it will align itself properly only when you hit the water.