As kayakers, we must accept certain facts of life. Gas is expensive, but necessary to get to our beloved rivers. No matter how good you think you get, swims and carnage are inevitable. And gear comes and goes. It usually ends up getting bashed on rocks, lost on swims, left behind on shuttles, or just plain wears out from age and use. But every once in a while, we discover a piece of equipment stands out among the rest. For me, this is my paddle.
So let’s first start with a little background. The first and still to this day only paddle I have ever bought was my Adventure Technology AT2 Flexi
. That was in 2005. Since then it has been by my side since the beginning. I used it to learn to roll. It was with me on my first whitewater river run. It was there when I ran my first waterfall. It kept me going through the steep demanding mank of Colorado. This past October it finished it’s 3rd tour of duty video boating in Fayettenam. It has seen countless miles of varying whitewater and wacked hundreds of rocks and shallow underwater shelves.
My favorite part about this paddle is the grip. I’ve held many paddles, but an AT2
just has a good feel to it. Other paddle shafts often feel very “round” and unnatural. The grips on an AT2
are a slightly more contoured and give me great control for precise feathering and sculling angles.
One look at the blades and you can see that these babies are built for power. Sleek, powerful blades have plenty of “grab” and a nice buoyant foam core for recovery. The carbon braid and Dynell trim is extremely durable. About two years ago, I had a friend apply a coat of epoxy along the edged of the blades in an effort to protect and extend the life of the paddle. The epoxy has since worn off, but the edges still won’t quit. Where other fiberglass blades eventually shrink and wear down from use and abuse, the blades of the AT2 stay the same size; never losing that crucial power face area.
- Sleek, lightweight shaft has just the right blend of flex and strength to survive the hits of creeking and the joint-jarring of playboating.
- DURABLE, buoyant blades can take many years of use and abuse while always staying the same size.
- The industries best grips make this paddle easy to control and hang on to when you need to hang on to it the most (a.k.a. getting beat down).
- Big, strong blades aren’t for everybody. If you are a newer or smaller paddler you may want to consider smaller blade sizes to improve control or increase paddling cadence for playboating.
- Any paddle has potential to be a great paddle. You just need to treat it that way. Far too often, I see people throwing their paddles onto the rocks on shore or dropping them. If you show your paddle, any paddle, a little love, it will typically last a surprisingly long time.
- The AT2 Flexi could be a little spendy for some. While the initial price tag may be a little steep, I would personally rather buying a quality paddle, taking care of it and having it last than dropping substantial cash to replace two or three broken “economy” paddles over the same period of time.
When the waters get rough, get a paddle that’s tough. The AT2 Flexi has proven itself to me. This is a quality paddle that is sure to exceed all paddle expectations. I’ll always be an AT guy because of my experience with the AT2 Flexi. Show it a little love and it will last.
I only hope that writing this review doesn’t jinx me or my paddle. Six years and counting… here’s to many more!
I concur wholeheartedly and wish I could find another 197cm AT2 to have on hand as a backup should something ever happen to mine, which I’ve been loving for years.