“Our Blackfish Nootka blade is a classic shape and a best-selling paddle. We have been working on building a more robust version for a couple years and the breakthrough came with the advent of SUP foiling. We had a number of athletes who had broken paddles while foiling and wanted to find a solution. The result was the Nootka Surf,” said David Smart, Founder of Blackfish Paddles, Canadian developers of high-performance, handcrafted SUP paddles. “What makes the Nootka Surf unique is the combination of the layup and the materials used, both in the blade and the shaft. The paddle uses kevlar in both the blade and as a wrap on the shaft. This is done because Kevlar handles impact well, think bullet proof vest, whereas carbon does not, think F1 cars in a crash. Using the best quality materials for their intended purpose helps ensure the paddle performs when foiling or surfing.”
What are your thoughts on performance and durability of the Nootka Surf paddle?
We think it is really important to have a specific downwind foil paddle, this is not only a matter of performance but of safety! It’s really easy to break a paddle during downwind foiling and once you are far from the shore without paddle… things can get really complicated.
As usual with Blackfish Paddles the quality of the finish is perfect. The Kevlar is a special material which can absorb a lot of impact and damage without being broken. When we are on the water with our Kevlar-enhanced Nootka, we feel safe!
The paddle is made with bio resin therefore it’s really light – For us this is really important. The catch is really good and Kevlar does not change the stiffness of the shaft. The blade is large allowing a really powerful catch phase, from the first moment it touches the water, which is important in foiling.
Are we going to lose you to foiling any time soon?
Definitely not! Foiling is an incredible feeling but it’s really different from SUP racing and we love that. We love having a daily training programme, schedule a season, working hard every day to improve our body and especially racing!
What’s the whole hype about foiling?
Foiling means everything and nothing at the same time and that’s why we talk a lot about it. Foiling is not just a new sport, it’s a dozen of new sports in one! Downwinding, surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, wing SUP – All these sports can now be practiced with a foil. For each one of them, the feeling is really different with a foil. And then again, you have to know how to practice without foil before having a go with a foil.
What’s your pick?
We practice downwind foiling a lot and SUP and surf foiling sometimes. Maybe we will try the wing foiling one day.
What’s your opinion on the development of foiling as an individual sport discipline?
It’s great! It means more people getting involved in watersports, more people on the water to share the foiling experience with!
We started foiling only last year. I can’t tell you how many times in the past few years our SUP friends have told us to try the foil, that it is fantastic…. But every time we’ve been with them, they have gotten into trouble because they haven’t had the right front wing, or mast, or stab… So we’ve kept saying that one day foiling gear will come close to perfect and then we’d try!
Well, that day has arrived! We are really lucky to ride Axis Foils, they truly are some of the best foils out there – Really easy to use, really stiff and really fast. Plus the range is really wide so you can change everything on your foil easily to make it perfect.
We are also lucky to ride SUNOVA boards! They always improve their boards to be the best on the market. The new Aviator Elite range is a game changer, it makes foiling practice so much easier than before. These new generation boards – longer and faster – will allow allow more people to foil.
And last but not least, a good and safe paddle is a must have when you are in the middle of the ocean. It happens really often to put your paddle in your front wing and sometimes it breaks. With the Blackfish Nootka Kevlar, we feel safe because the kevlar doesn’t break!
To find out more about Blackfish Paddles and their progressive, refined, handcrafted designs, visit blackfishpaddles.com
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