Round two in our head-to-head comparison of Werner touring paddles pits the Little Dipper versus the Athena. Both of these paddles represent the small-range (with respect to blade area) of Werner’s low-angle touring paddles. The blade area makes these two paddles well suited for smaller paddlers or those with injuries who are looking for low-impact and efficient strokes. Both paddles feature Werner’s adjustable ferrule system and come in a variety of options (small shaft, neutral-bent shaft, various lengths, ect). Here we go:
The Little Dipper:
Layup: Carbon shaft with fiberglass blades (Premium); Carbon shaft with carbon blades (Performance)
Weight: 27.5oz (Premium); 25.5oz (Performance)
Blade Size: 550cm2
Cost (MSRP): $275 (Premium); $350 (Performance)
Feel on the water: The aptly-named Little Dipper provides the light stroke that you would expect. However, after a sturdy catch the little dipper tends to flutter quite a bit and the overall forward stroke is less-than stable. Very little effort is required per stroke but a much higher cadence (strokes per minute) is needed to keep the pace. The Little Dipper offers smooth transitions between strokes but provides less-than-average support while sculling and bracing. Overall, this paddle was good but not inspirational.
Layup: Carbon shaft with carbon performance core blades (Performance Core).
Blade Size: 550cm2
Cost (MSRP): $400
Feel on the water: The Athena (goddess of wisdom) is the lightest low-angle paddle in Werner’s touring line-up and you’d have to be lacking in common sense if you were not to fall in love with this beauty! The Athena provides a very light stroke. Unlike the Little Dipper, the stroke is super stable from catch to release. Transitions are smooth and sculling and bracing support is excellent. The Athena is well balanced and provides a great example of how foam core can benefit a low-angle touring paddle. Without a doubt this is a great paddle!
The victor of the Little Dipper vs. the Athena showdown may seem quite shocking considering that the Camano won in a landslide over the foam-core Kalliste. We’re giving the Athena the nod in this head-to-head match-up! Unlike with the Kalliste, the foam core of the Athena actually seems to stabilize this smaller blade and provides a much smoother stroke than the non-foam core Little Dipper. The Athena also represents the lightest of Werner’s low-angle touring paddles and the feather-light feel of this “goddess of wisdom” is a hard thing to pass up!
Next, we’ll be moving on to the high angle touring paddles with the Ikelos vs. the Corryvrecken.