We are super excited to be carrying Black Project premium carbon paddles. Black Project has been a bit of a revelation for us – and has completely changed our paddling experience. We’ve been test driving the Black Project PURE Travel and below is a review. The Black Project EPIC Travel is even lighter (625 grams for the EPIC vs 707 grams for the PURE) and is dressed in full stealth black and comes with "the guncase" a great carrying bag worthy of such a great paddle. But back to the PURE...
Black Project PURE Travel (three piece) Paddle Review
Lightness – I started with my thoughts on weight because these paddles are incredibly light, almost preposterously light. When I unpacked our shipment I felt like previous paddles I'd used were akin to holding a sledgehammer. They also felt nicely balanced in my hands. Compared to alloy or fiberglass 3 piece paddles they are very easy to lift. After a few minutes of paddling on the Seine River (Winnipeg, not France) I felt like pulling the paddle out of the water feels almost effortless, making long paddles that much easier.
Tech – Made of 50% carbon and 50% fibreglass, this paddle helps bring the cost down and also adds a little to its durability. The PURE 3 Piece has a unique hexagonal join system which almost completely gets rid of any “play” or movement between the pieces. Compared to most three piece paddles you can really feel the difference as nothing gets lost in the power transfer. Although I would suggest paddlers be careful to rinse off their paddles after paddling so sand doesn’t get in the joins, the almost surgical fit of the these paddles means except for a few extra grams you are not sacrificing anything by having a travel friendly paddle. Besides the join system, Black Project paddles also feature full 12k impregnated carbon for strength and lightness and the surface of the shaft has subtly textured 3K carbon for extra grip. I found that unlink most standard paddles, I had to actually line up the pieces before putting them together - making it a bit more challenging. However, the extra second or two of focus was more then worth it when you feel how tight the paddle is after assembly.
Comfort - I really enjoyed the ergonomic T-grip on the paddle. I've always used a palm grip but after a few minutes I could appreciate how a T-grip can help improve your paddle strokes. Just a note - if you prefer a palm grip we can order one in for you - Black Project sells those as well, which leads us to our next innovation...
Adjustability and versatility - The adjustment system on these paddles have tow main features - simplicity and lightness. Though not the most advanced system out there the adjustment clamps are very light and allow you to adjust length quickly and easily.
Paddle Feel - I had heard that Black Project paddles were for experts - and I was a little concerned that maybe the paddles would be too advanced for my imperfect stroke. I was pleasantly surprised. These paddles produce little if any "flutter" as they enter the water and have a really nice catch. The blade is a fairly standard 95 inches square and it seems to work nicely. The PURE has a medium flex shaft which felt almost perfect for me - still good power but a little easier on the shoulders. On a recent river paddle I noticed that afterwards my hands and arms felt much less fatigued then if I'd done the same paddle with an alloy paddle.
Looks - Lets face it, looks are important to people! I can honestly say that Black Project makes the nicest looking paddles I have ever seen. The pictures don't do them justice. Besides the space-age look of the carbon, the red handles on the PURE really stand out and tend to turn heads. If you want a really, really great looking paddle you won't be disappointed. Black Project's logo and graphics look very sharp.
Summary - I'd say that the PURE is an excellent all around paddle that is good for the intermediate paddler who's done some paddling and now feels ready for something lighter and technologically advanced . . . or the experienced paddler who doesn't want to break the bank. Either way, it's hard to go wrong. Drawbacks? Carbon construction does make this paddle more expensive but you get what you pay for. Also, I wouldn't take these paddles whitewater SUPing every weekend as carbon paddles tend to not be quite as durable as alloy or plastic. But if you want a paddle you can be proud of and that will be easier on your shoulders with high versatility and upgradability then I recommend this paddle unreservedly.