101 Surf Sports Stand Up Paddleboarding and Kayaking on San Francisco Bay

The Quickblade V-Drive Stand up paddleboard paddle

Well best is always a subjective determination but with that said here we go. First up we are going to narrow our use case to the flat water side of the stand up paddleboarding game.(pictured the Quickblade V-Drive)

After an intense scouring of the industry we are going to limit ourselves to what we think are the two best manufacturers. We are not talking about mid-price or entry level paddles here. Our focus is squarely on the best of the best. While some of the board manufacturers are putting out some mighty fine paddles these days, Starboard Paddles and Naish Paddles for example, there is something to be said about the focused effort of a paddle only manufacturer. With laser like attention on the paddle these companies are simply the ones pushing the sport forward. As a retailer we have our pick to carry almost any brand we want and after extensive due diligence Werner Paddles and Quickblade Paddles rose to the top.

Werner Grand Prix Stand Up Paddleboard PaddleWerner's entry in to the fight is the Werner Grand Prix (pictured above) line of premium stand up paddleboard paddles. Werner's Grand Prix line boasts of being some of the lightest paddles on the planet. Starting at only 14.75 ounces it's hard to argue. Lighter is better when it comes to paddles. On the Quickblade side of the business it's mainly about their new V-Drive stand up paddleboard paddle.

Non spoiler alert! While our intention was to emerge with a single decisive winner after all our testing it just wasn't that clear cut. We've been paddling both paddles in various conditions over the last few months that have led us to form some pretty firm opinions. From downwinding to racing we put these paddles through their paces and here's what we found.

The Werner Grand Prix has been on the market for a few years now and comes in three sizes and two shaft diameters. The Werner Grand Prix S1000 at about 90sq inches, the M1000 at about 95 sq inches, and the f1000 at about 104 Square inches. Shafts are available in both regular and small fit diameters. Small fit being a more optimal fit for the smaller hands of women and kids. For testing purposes our efforts were centered on comparing the M1000 to Quickblade's V-Drive 91 on an Oval Tapered Shaft. (Pictured below the Quickblade V Drive)

The Quickblade V-Drive Stand Up Paddleboard Paddle

On first impression Werner wins on the overall and swing weight tests. Despite being so light these paddles are durable. We know of quite a few folks that have been surfing their Grand Prix's for multiple years now incident free. All Werner paddles come with the same carbon fiber handle. With respect to handles Quickblade has to get the nod if only for the fact of offering up an option. Quickblade paddles can be had with a straight carbon handle or one ensconced in EVA Foam. While handles are all personal opinion Quickblade takes win in the battle of the handle.

The Werner Grand Prix feels light in hand and enters water very clean and quiet. Its 12 degree angle of attack on the blade allow for extended reach without bleeding power. The precision dihedral on the paddle face minimizes flutter resulting in a locked in feeling. The blade tip is softer than that of the V-drive. This makes the paddle better suited to accelerating. Buoy turns, race starts, and sprinting is where the softer paddle blade tip offers up some significant advantage. A softer blade tip will also help in rough water paddling when going up wind. The softer tip allows for a smoother catch when the board is constantly decelerating and reaccelerating due to wind and wave impacts.

Chalk another win up for Quickblade when it comes to the shaft if only once again for options. You can get your V-Drive paddle in any one of the 4 options offered by the Costa Mesa based Quickblade;

• Oval taper – the stiffest shaft. Ovalized shaft allows for precise blade location. Tapered shaft reduces windage.

• Round Taper – Softer than oval and $60 less expensive

• Elite Race – similar to the Werner shaft in that it's a standard round tube. These must be custom ordered for Quickblade.

• Flyweight – small diameter round

Did we say the Werner felt locked in on the catch? Well if that's locked in the V-drive is simply Fort Knox like on the catch and pull phases of paddling. The paddle feels like it's on rails coming through the pulling phase with unbeleiveable tracking. An effortless release makes the Quickblade Paddle a clear winner in the flattest of waters. So why not the clear winner overall? Because its not always 'flat water". The dual dihedral face makes the V-Drive one stiff blade. Matched with an oval tapered shaft you have a paddle that is so stiff at times it's too stiff. Those times are primarily when it's windy. Sticking the V-Drive paddle wide can also result in a weird catch. The Werner in contrast is better when stabbing at the water in weird angles. Think downwinding and/or rough water racing.

What all this means is I now carry two paddles to every race. The Grand Prix is my go to paddle when it's windy or I am downwinding. While the V-Drive is my go to flat water race paddle. So which is better? Well – that depends. So the final verdicts are.........

Best Value – The Werner Grand Prix. At its $389 price point this paddle is a steal. At $569 for the oval shaft V-Drive and $499 for the round taper the Grand Prix is significantly less expensive.

Best Rough Water Paddle – The Werner Grand Prix

Best Flat Water Paddle – The Quickblade V-Drive

The best paddle, money no object, have to take one paddle to the grave – The Quickblade V-Drive.

Wildcard - It would only be fair to let you know the Werner Grand Prix is made right here in the good ol' USA. Sultan Washington to be specific if that tips your scale one way or the other.

The Quickblade Trifecta Stand Up Paddleboard Paddle

Before closing we need to muddy the waters a bit with the Quickblade Trifecta (pictured above). We also put this paddle through its paces and its performance requires us to mention it here. The Trifecta however is best utilized in the hands of more elite paddlers. It has a blade softness more akin to the Grand Prix and so works in a wider range of conditions than the V-drive. It is however a more demanding paddle to use. Its single massive dihedral magnifies errors on the catch and can create in a wobbly feel when not pulling at max effort. When everything goes right however there is no better paddle in the power zone than the Trifecta. Its complexity of use however knocks it out of contention for most paddlers.

If you need more help deciding come on down to the shop. We are the only shop to have all 3 V-drives and all 3 Werner Grand Prixes in all sizes in demo. We've custom ordered each on adjustable shafts so you can try them back to back for an apples to apples test of your own. No Charge just come on down anytime and find out for yourself just what is the best paddle in the world for you!

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