So what's the best all around paddle for whitewater boating? Is there one blade, preferably foam core, that you can use for play boating or creeking, and will not break the bank? Or just not break? As you know, there really is no "best paddle
". A lot of the decision making process depends on the paddlers wants and needs. BUT
...if you were going to choose a paddle that "does it all
", has a foam core, is incredibly durable and is also reasonably priced, the AT Eddy would surely have to be on the top of the list. There are not many sub $350 paddles that have a feature list like the Eddy does. What other company offers a 40 oz. composite bent shaft, tried and true blade shape (with some good buoyancy), Dynell edging and the kind of versatility that would allow you to stomp Yule Creek in the AM
, and then go surf at Glenwood in the afternoon? Here's you answer...
TRIED AND TRUE BLADE SHAPE:The best way to get a feel for the AT2 blade shape is to try one out for yourself. The Eddy is the same design as the original AT2 Standard. The swing weight is also very light (40 oz), especially considering that it is a durable fiberglass blade packed with a fiberglass / carbon / aramid spine and lots of Dynell on the edge. It's pretty cool to have the same shape as the AT2 (and all of the buttery smoothness that goes along with it) but not have to worry about breaking your precious carbon foam core blade on a low volume, shallow creek run...
The AT Eddy shares the same design as the legendary AT2 Standard. Bonus!
The super strong shaft runs deep into the blade. This acts as a spine and gives added strength and rigidity to the Eddy. Fiberglass foam core blade and reinforced spine with unibody construction = super strong, yet light!
This is a close up of the Dynell edging that protects the edge of the blade from rocks and other obstacles in the river...you can see how deep it runs into the paddle.
With paddlers like Stephen (pictured here) and Clay Wright on the AT team, you know the blade is going to be good. In this photo, Stephen Wright is using the AT Eddy in the Buena Vista River Park in Buena Vista, CO.
UNI-BODY CONSTRUCTION FOR A MID PRICED BLADE:All Elite Series AT paddles (AT2's) have what is called "uni-body" construction. That means that it is a one piece design which gives the paddle continuous flex (similar to wood), added strength and rigidity, as well as stiffness and a lighter swing weight. What's especially important to take away is that the Eddy has the EXACT SAME construction as the more expensive paddles in the Elite Series. For $334.95, you're getting the the most advanced construction method out there, a proven blade shape and 90% of the bells and whistles that go into a $450 paddle...
All of the AT Elite Series paddles have the same uni-body construction.
BUOYANT BLADE FOR LESS MONEY: The AT Eddy has a buoyant blade (just like the AT2's). The fiberglass is filled with foam (again, just like the AT2) except for the spine, which is where the shaft melds with the blade. The AT2's are more buoyant because they are 100% foam core, as opposed to the Eddy, which is semi-foam core ( no foam where the spine of the paddle is). The added buoyancy is noticeable, and gives the eddy a very smooth feeling when the blade slices through the water. It also helps get the paddle on top of the water when rolling and bracing in funky currents and boily water. Once again, this is a feature typically found on paddles that are well over $400...
In this photo you can see the differences in the foam core construction between the AT2 and Eddy. You can see where the spine of the blade is present. This adds strength and stiffness, but eliminates a little bit of buoyancy.
The fiberglass foam core blade has some float to it. Foam core paddles are pretty addictive. Once you try one, you will not want to go back to a glass or carbon blade. They are buttery smooth.
INCREDIBLE DURABILITY: This particular point should be highlighted, underlined, italicized and repeated. The Eddy has an INCREDIBLE durability to performance (light weight and foam core) ratio. This is truly the ONLY foam core paddle out there that you can take on manky low volume creeks, and paddle like a true creeking blade, but also use at the local play hole. This is a TRUE do it all paddle that has all of the advantages of a play boating blade, but the durability of a creeking paddle. And again, it costs less than all other bent shaft foam core paddles on the market.
The Eddy has a strong shaft. It's actually the same one found on the AT2's.
OPTIONAL FLEXI SHAFT:The AT Eddy and Eddy Flexi are identical except for the shafts. The Flexi shaft has more fiberglass (and less carbon and aramid), which gives it more flex. It's not quite as strong because the shaft has less carbon and aramid (Kevlar), but the added flexibility is really nice.
The Eddy and and Eddy Flexi are identical except for the shaft material. The Eddy Flexi has more fiberglass in the shaft which gives it the added flex.
You can see the difference between the regular and Flexi shaft. The Fexi shaft is lighter colored because it has more fiberglass and less carbon and aramid.
EXCEPTIONAL WARRANTY: AT has what they call the "I'd Rather Be Paddling" warranty. Basically, if your gear fails within the first year, AT will replace the paddle on the spot. This means that you do not have to wait for a lengthy warranty exchange, and miss out on valuable days of paddling...After the first year of paddling, AT will certainly listen to your case, and work with you on getting the paddle repaired or replaced.
NOT A FULL FOAM CORE BLADE:The Eddy has a foam core blade, but it is not quite as buoyant as the AT2 series. The reason for this is because of the spine that runs up the blade of the paddle. The upside of having the spine is that it adds strength and stiffness, but downside is that there is a loss of buoyancy.
Full foam core on the left (AT2) and eddy on the right (regular and Flexi in blue). The spine in the middle of the blade is the reason that the Eddy's are not as buoyant as the AT2's. The spine replaces some foam, and the lack of foam results in less float.
PRICE: The AT Eddy is certainly a good value, but it is not a price point paddle. At $334, there are less expensive options for the budget conscious kayaker. The AT4 for example comes in below $200, and still has a bent shaft. Keep in mind that the Eddy is only 40 oz., has the same shaft as the AT2, is foam core, and EXTREMELY durable.
Stephen Wright - The AT Eddy and 2014 Jackson Rock Star - great combo.
Overall, the AT Eddy strikes us as a paddle that does a lot of things very well. It's light weight (especially in proportion to it's durability), has a foam core with Dynell edging, awesome blade shape (same as AT2), the best bent shaft in the business and a flexi shaft option. As we previously mentioned, there are not many buoyant bladed paddles on the market that are able to be used as low volume creeks and not puncture. The Eddy sacrifices a little bit of weight for loads of durability; it's a trade off that we'll take any day of the week, especially for only $334. We can see why this is the most popular paddle in the AT lineup.