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Seattle Sports SeaWhisper Paddle Review

Posted by on May 8, 2013

Overview:

The SeaWhisper™ features exclusive DorsalBlade™ technology to shed water efficiently with each stroke, impact-resistant fiber glass-reinforced nylon blades for durability, and a Quick adjust cam-lock with marked ferrule and indexed shaft for easy, precise adjustment of shaft length and feather angle. The paddle is finished with high-visibility green blades with reflective emblems for maximum day and night visibility. – Adapted from the description on the Seattle Sports website.

Alex gets a feel for the SeaWhisper paddle before testing

Alex gets a feel for the SeaWhisper paddle before testing

The Deets:

  • Shaft Material: Carbon fiber
  • Blade Material: Fiberglass-reinforced nylon
  • Available Lengths: 210-220cm or 230-240cm
  • Shaft Diameter: 30mm
  • Paddle Weight: 40oz
  • Cost (MSRP): $99.95

 

Review:

The Seattle Sports SeaWhisper is a low-angle touring paddle that features a two-piece carbon fiber shaft and asymmetric, fiberglass-reinforced-nylon blades. The blades utilize an exclusive dorsal blade design to efficiently shed water and have a molded catch point to help in retrieving overboard items. The high-visibility green blades with reflective details provide for maximum day and night visibility. A quick-adjust, cam-lock ferrule system allows for easy adjustment of both shaft length (up to 10cm) and feather angle. The SeaWhisper is available in two length ranges, 210-220cm and 230-240cm, at a super-affordable price point of $99.95MSRP!

The Sea Shisper has a great blade shape and comes in high-visibility green with reflective accent.

The Sea Shisper has a great blade shape and comes in high-visibility green with reflective accent.

There’s a lot to like about the SeaWhisper paddle and it starts with its on-the-water performance. I was impressed with the feel and stability of its blade shape given the low price point. The SeaWhisper has a strong catch and remains stable without fluttering throughout the forward stroke. The blade area allows for powerful and stable braces and draw strokes as well. I posit that the high performance of the SeaWhisper has more to do with solid fundamental design such as a good balance of blade area with asymmetric blade shape and less to do with the “exclusive dorsal blade technology”. The molded catch point was also surprisingly useful for passing items between kayaks and retrieving gear from hard-to-reach places. It didn’t seem to affect performance at all and, if anything, it helps to “back-up” the drip ring with water-shedding duties during the recovery phase of the stroke. Finally, I felt as though the over-sized Seawall drip rings did a better job of keeping the paddle drip at bay than most drip rings!

dagger alchemy

The adjustable-length paddle shaft is a good idea in concept and certainly adds to the utility of the SeaWhisper paddle especially for folks with multiple kayaks of different widths. The idea of an adjustable-length paddle shaft is not a new one; Epic Kayaks has been including this feature on their wing and touring paddles for quite some time. The difference between the Epic paddles and the SeaWhisper can be found in the ferrule. Epic paddles have a screw-lock ferrule while the SeaWhisper has a cam-lock ferrule system. To be completely honest, the cam-lock ferrule system on the SeaWhisper could use a little more design work. You really have to tighten down on the metal set-screw in order for the cam to engage and lock the two paddle halves together without twisting within the ferrule. There’s no doubt in my mind that this screw is going to corrode overtime in the salt-water environment; stainless steel or otherwise. I would also suggest that Seattle Sports consider swapping the 210-220cm paddle for a 220-230cm paddle in their line-up. The SeaWhisper features a low-angle blade design and lengths in the 220-230cm range are considered standard for a low-angle paddle.

Close up of the cam-lock ferrule system

Close up of the cam-lock ferrule system

The million dollar question is always how one paddle compares with another. This is especially challenging for the SeaWhisper as it is trying to be in one group (carbon fiber shaft) while its price point places it in another. Therefore, I’ve decided to make two comparisons; first in terms of materials and function and then in terms of price point. In my opinion, the Sea Whisper (40oz, $100MSRP) is most comparable with mid-range touring paddles such as the Aquabound String Ray Hybrid (30.5oz, $130MSRP) and the Werner Skagit FG IM (35oz, $130MSRP) in terms of materials and function. All of these paddles have carbon shafts and some sort of adjustable ferrule on them. The Sea Whisper clearly dominates with respect to affordability in this grouping and is unique in that it offers an adjustable-length shaft. It’s hard to beat the stability of the Werner blade shape but the Sea Whisper is not too far off in terms of on-the-water performance. The place where the Sea Whisper really struggles in this comparison is in the weight department; it’s 5-10oz  heavier than the others despite it’s carbon fiber shaft. If one were to juxtapose it with other paddles of the same price point such as the Aquabound Manta Ray Fiberglass (35.25oz, $90MSRP) or the Werner Laguna FG IM (37.5oz, $109MSRP) then the argument could be made that the SeaWhisper (40oz, $100MSRP) is a better paddle based on its function and certain features (adjustable ferrule, blade shape, ect.) but it still struggles when it comes to swing weight.

 

Final Verdict:

Overall, the SeaWhisper is a nice low-angle paddle for folks on a tight budget. You certainly get a lot more in term of both function and features with the SeaWhisper than other $100.00 paddles on the market! I was impressed with the stability of the blade shape in both the forward stroke and while bracing. However, it’s hard to get around the fact that the SeaWhisper is a heavy paddle despite the carbon fiber shaft. It would be nice to see about 5-6oz come off of future iterations of the SeaWhisper to help save on swing weight. I thought that the adjustable length shaft was a nice addition that adds versatility but I was under-impressed with the design of the cam-lock ferrule system. It often takes a few iterations to tune a ferrule design (Werner is a great example as they are always improving upon their ferrule) and I hope that Seattle Sports works to improve their cam-lock ferrule for future versions of the SeaWhisper.

-Kayak Dave

 

Pros: Nice blade shape, Adjustable length and feather, High visibility, Affordable.

Cons: Heavy. Ferrule could use some work. Would be nice to have a 220-230cm paddle (standard lengths for low-angle touring paddles)

Kayak Dave Rating:

3 and a half paddles

 

3 Responses to Seattle Sports SeaWhisper Paddle Review

  1. Randall

    Kayak Dave, What is the length of the paddle from tip to tip?

    • Kayak Dave

      Hi Randall!

      The SeaWhisper comes in two lengths: 210-220 and 230-240cm tip to tip.

      Happy Paddling!

      -Kayak Dave

  2. Tim

    I was reassured by your comments as I am waiting for my Seawhisper paddle to arrive. I had a Werner Baja but sold it when I sold my old Necky Manitou recently. I am waiting for the new Epic V7 that I preordered and was hoping the big drip rings would keep me dryer in the open surfski cockpit. To be honest it was the neon green color of the blades that I wanted. I found the weight of the Werner paddle to be no problem and a couple of more ounces for the Seawhisper can not be that different. You said this was a heavy paddle but I am 69 yrs and only noticed that at the end of a long day with the Baja. Still, I may treat myself to an Epic paddle one day an see what the difference is.

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