November 03, 2016

I am currently working on two new outrigger paddle models. One for the V-1, Tahitian rudderless solo outrigger. And another paddle for OC6, six person outrigger.

"My plan was to, build um. Test um. And den figure out which goes where."

I started the project with three paddle models, all with the same outline shape, but very different in all 3D blade contours. My plan was to, build um. Test um. And den figure out which goes where. All three are departures from my slim, and "whippy", Hoku and Nehu blades. My three new prototypes are stiffer, thicker, and more buoyant. With this project, I had to take a creative departure from my personal paddle preferences,  and design to the suggestions of our 'Elele and customers. This was difficult at the start of the project, but as I began to shape, and than use the prototypes, I came to appreciate the different feel of the paddles.



I narrowed my choices to two of the models. The V-1 and OC6 paddles having specific characteristics related to their intended canoes. And I was in the final phase before production tooling, when I received word from Hawaii, that the Oahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association (OHCRA), was meeting to discuss the wood paddle rule. (The paddles are wood shaft hybrids) And that a change in regards to materials would be discussed.

I have decided to not tool my blades. On my return to my shop, I will replicate the two models, to accept carbon fiber double bend shafts. The current models are wood shaft hybrids. This means starting all over again.

Whatever the outcome of the OHCRA meeting, I want to be ready to produce the models which take full advantage of the rules.

After months of shaping and water testing, a part of me thinks I should feel frustration. But with two new projects on the schedule, all I can feel is excitement. Because, there is no greater joy, than when I am working in my shop on a new paddle, with a short timeline.

P.S. The V-1 paddle should have been a full carbon from the get go. The only reason I built it with wood shafts was because I wasn't sure which would be the V-1 or OC6 paddle.

Aloha, Dave


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