In the most recent years of international outrigger canoe paddling competition, one team has stood out consistently above the rest – Shell Va’a from Tahiti. And since arriving in Hawai’i to win their first Moloka’i Hoe in 2006, paddlers across the world have tried to figure out the secret to their dominating performances. One factor that is impossible to ignore is the giant size of their paddle blades, paired with a very natural double-bend shaft. The Teva Hoe Hybrid, Dave Chun’s newest outrigger paddle, accurately replicates the design advantages of Shell Va’a’s chosen tools.
The first thing you notice about the Teva Hoe is its teardrop shaped blade. To get an idea of its size, let’s look at the numbers: the surface area of the Teva Hoe blade is 133 square inches. In this statistic, it’s much closer to the size of the Foti steering blade at 145 sq. inches, than it is to an Axel II at 108 sq. inches. The only way to describe the Teva Hoe blade is – huge. And being huge is what gives it more versatility than the paddle you are using now. When you “catch” while paddling, you’re trying to plant solidly your blade in the water, so that you can pull yourself and your canoe past it. With its slightly scooping entry, huge surface area, and extended dihedral down the power face, the Teva Hoe catches more securely than any other paddle out there. If you are used to being able to “out-pull” your blade, and “rip” the water past your canoe when pulling at maximum intensity, then you need to try catching again with the Teva Hoe. It allows even the strongest paddlers to transfer their full strength into forward movement, and not lose any energy to cavitation. With any amount of momentum behind you, every last bit of your power is available immediately when you demand it.
Because of the Teva Hoe’s blade size – specifically its length – selecting the proper paddle length is an entirely new process. The Teva Hoe’s blade is 20 ¼ inches long, almost four inches longer than the Axel II, which has a 16 ½ inch blade. So it’s important to note that a 50 inch Teva Hoe will have a 29 ¾ inch shaft, while a 50 inch Axel II will have a 33 ½ inch shaft. Ordering a Teva Hoe at your usual paddle length will give you a paddle that feels very small, because the shaft will be significantly shorter than what you’re used to. Dave’s recommendation is to order your Teva Hoe about 2 inches longer than what you paddle with now. This is a great guideline, especially if your current paddle is a KIALOA Axel or Lanikai. When figuring out the length for your new Teva Hoe, try not to measure your paddle’s overall length, but measure the length of the shaft, so that you can maintain a familiar and comfortable grip.
Now you may ask yourself, “If there’s almost a 4 inch difference in length between the Teva Hoe and my previous paddle, then why should I only size up by 2 inches?” The answer lies in the above explained size and versatility of the Teva Hoe. Because the blade plants so solidly, the paddle allows you to adjust your own style and technique to suit the water and conditions that you paddle in, from moment to moment, without sacrificing your catch, and/or your boat speed. Changing your leverage by choking up or down on the shaft, will help you meter your output when going into or with the wind or current. Varying the degree to which you plant your blade can help you speed up your stroke-rate when you need to, or decide when to shorten or lengthen your paddle stroke. The feedback that the Teva Hoe will give you is immediate – timing issues, running or still waters, and your own efficiency is communicated directly to the paddler, because your connection to the water via the Teva Hoe’s blade is so positive – giving you the ability to adjust and fine-tune any number of details within your own technique to speed your canoe on it’s way.
Because of its extreme size, your new Teva Hoe doesn’t lend itself to being paddled exactly the same way you use your current paddle. If you allow yourself to feel it, the run and movement of your boat in the water will be transmitted to you constantly through the Teva Hoe. When you listen to it, the Teva Hoe will tell you how to become a better and more efficient paddler. World champions choose their equipment for a specific reason, and this paddle was built with those reasons in mind.
Teva Hoe Hybrid
Teva Hoe Hinano Hybrid
All Wood Tahaitan Double Bend