Last year we reviewed the flagship model in the Naish Wave paddles collection, the Naish Wave LE. The paddle earned our “Highly Recommended” rating in terms of performance, durability and overall construction quality. This year the Wave LE has been partially redesigned but it still features the Carbon-Kevlar trademark construction of its predecessor. We’ve tested the new paddle in a wide array of conditions over the last two months so, without further ado, let’s get started with the Naish Wave LE V2.0 review.
We all know that a full (high quality, needless to say) Carbon paddle is quite stiff increasing load on your upper back and shoulder. That in turn may result in fatigue, even injuries over prolonged sessions. Still, such a paddle offers the best combination of performance and lightness but without the flexibility needed to prevent placing excess strain on your shoulders and back. That’s where Kevlar comes into play. Kevlar, a synthetic fiber invented in the sixties, is very widely used in a variety of civilian and military applications due to is combination of high strength, low weight and, last but not least, flexibility. With five times the strength of steel based on an equal weight basis, Kevlar is also used in the sports equipment industry, not only as such but also as an ingredient in composite material components, case in point the Naish Wave LE Paddle that features a Carbon Kevlar reinforced shaft and blade, the latter with ABS rail.
Like we said earlier, this year the Wave LE has undergone a few changes, in particular a slightly thicker diameter, a redesigned shaft and the addition of an ergonomic handle. Also, the new Wave LE features different graphics. Speaking of the shaft, yep, it’s a bit ticker than in the first model, after all, it is still labeled as SDS, Small Diameter Shaft as opposed to the RDS (Reduced Diameter Shaft) shaft of the 2015 model. Built in 100% 3K Pre-preg Carbon with Kevlar reinforcements, the shaft is characterized by cut-to-length alignment measurements for perfect blade/handle alignment. The whole length of the shaft is reinforced by Carbon filaments. As far as the new ergonomic handle (Ergo Plus Handle) is concerned, it is the most noticeable – and welcome – addition to the Wave LE 2.0. Featuring a traction grip coating, the new handle provides an awesome grip. The new Wave LE features the same, excellent blade of last year’s model. With an area of 95.3 square inches (615 cm2) the blade is made with 100% 3K preg Carbon with Kevlar reinforcements, shaped by a CNC machine and pre-preg molded with high temperature for optimized resin content and impact resistance. ABS edges protect the blade from damage. Needless to say, the blade’s rounded shape, width of 8’’ and 11° blade-to-shaft offset reflect the SUP Surfing bias of this paddle. Its profile is quite flat on the back while on the front it features a slight dihedral angle. With a weight of 534 g (paddle length 5’7’’ - 170 cm) the Naish Wave LE is extremely light. In all, the paddle looks great and meets the highest quality standards. Finally, the paddle comes with a nice blade cover (Premium Blade Cover) and also available in a vario (adjustable) version.
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The first thing you notice picking up the Naish Wave LE 2016 is how light and well balanced the paddle is. Due to the Carbon/Kevlar construction, the paddle is softer and stronger than a full carbon paddle even though, compared to last year’s model, this new version feels a bit stiffer. Also, the thicker SDS shaft provides a better grip to paddlers with big hands. However, the grip is still pretty good for medium and small hands paddlers. That being said, let’s take a look at the paddle’s performance on the water.
Power: the 8’’ wide blade provides good horsepower and bite. The overall power has been improved by stiffening the shaft, even though as a result the paddle is a bit less forgiving on the paddlers' shoulders and arms;
Cadence: very good;
Fluttering: despite the flat power side of the paddle, the Naish Wave LE paddle is not too prone to flutter;
Balance: we loved the paddle’s balance right after the first strokes;
Weigth: the paddle is very light;
Grip: awesome, thanks to the excellent ergonomic handle traction grip coating and shaft design.
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- Conclusions & Verdict
The Naish Wave LE 2016 improved on its already excellent predecessor in every way, most noticeably grip, power and durability. It blends great grip, balance, lightness, power delivery, forgiveness, very good cadence and responsiveness with a pleasant soft feedback. Again, while the paddle is a bit stiffer than the old model, it is still very effective in reducing fatigue. Targeted to SUP surfers of all level, the Naish Wave LE is also great as a touring paddle. As the Naish flagship Wave Paddle, the new Naish LE is priced at the high-end of paddles but make no mistake: it is worth every penny!
The new Naish Wave LE paddle is even better than its predecessor! As such it comes highly recommended for SUP Surfing and Cruising.
Excellent construction quality - very light - well balanced and forgiving - soft and powerful at the same time – provides a very good cadence - awesome grip – comes with a blade cover.
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