Cameron inspects the Ozone Built paddle, after months of working closely with Brian to perfect the blade
The shape of the blade came from my friend Kekai Keahi who taught me how to make paddles. We had all kinds of different shapes but I really liked this one so it’s the one that I stuck with. It was his latest design and one that he came up with after we went to Tahiti for Hawaiki Nui in 2005.
I started out making my paddles with a flat back. If you see my earlier edition paddles around they will all have flat backs. About 2 years ago I changed the back to have a very slight scoop. It is called a 15-degree radius. If you take a circle with a 30’ diameter and then cut an 18” section off of the perimeter you will have the scoop in the blade. This scoop was added to get even more bite.
I would say that most paddlers want a paddle that allows you to have the best bite/catch since it’s the most important part of the stroke but that’s not always the case. Some paddlers prefer to slightly pull the paddle through the water instead of having a 100% lock up front while pulling the canoe passed the blade. Sometimes it’s just too much for their body to handle or they don’t have the strength to do it. This is the main reason that I always offered 3 different sizes. This allows the paddler to choose how much resistance they would like on the blade.
A common question will be what size blade should I get for OC1, OC6, or V1, etc. Generally, paddlers with a slower stroke will use a blade with more resistance(bigger) and paddlers with a faster stroke will use a blade with less resistance(smaller). As for OC6 most will use a bigger blade than they do in OC1 due to having more weight to pull forward.
These are some of the paddles built by Brian prior to arriving at the final version ready for production
I try to stay away from recommending a blade size for anyone in an OC6. If they are using for OC6 then that means that they are in a club. Clubs have coaches and coaches usually know what they want for their paddlers. Length and blade size depends on the technique that they are teaching as well as the strength and ability of their paddlers. If their coach isn’t available for sizing then I will give my recommendation. This is where you will need to know your community best and learn what people in your area are using. As I’m sure you already know, you will find that the theories are all over the place. That’s why paddling is so awesome. There isn’t one answer for all. It’s an endless search that continues to revolve.
The (3) blade options are 9.25, 9.5, and 9.75. This is measured horizontally at the widest point of the teardrop. The 9.5 is the go-to if all else fails. It is by far the most popular size in all areas.