Cruising through the open waters with the propulsion of swim paddles. That’s the signature move of a Swimrunner. There are as many levels of swimming fitness as there are different race course / training types. From flat-and-fast sprint Swimruns to demanding rough water stretches, as seen in the Hvar race this April. The transitions and trail running add additional demands to which “shovel” to use for racing, that go beyond the average pool swimmers usage for e.g. strength workouts?
So, which paddles should you choose?
At the end of March, World of Swimrun (WoS), Swimrun France (SR-F) and Swimrun Germany (SR-G) teamed up in Marseille, France for the 1st ever international swimrun equipment test. During 4 days the team tested and debated swimrun equipment from over 40 manufacturers, among them, 9 different paddles. Contrary to normal calm conditions in the rugged and steep terrain of Calanque de Sormiou, Marseille, the test was conducted in rain, storm-winds, huge waves, strong currents and sun.
Even though the different types serve different purposes, the green Strokemaker paddles reached the highest overall score. Looking at the small gaps to other models which is actually good since it shows good performance overall, one might look at other focus areas as weight, size, transition ease or water feeling.
Best performance in the water
By far the best paddles in the water were the Colting paddles. They might not be leading in other fields but if the swim is you main focus, you might want to go for them. As from the rough waters experience during the testing weekend: Water performance is NOT determined in your training pool. Hit the waves to see what suits you well!
Best in transition
The test team consensus here was that the Racepaddles are fastest, yet with other models close behind.
Best strap comfort
Strap comfort is again very individual? some like it tight, other more loose. The Strokemaker models were the test teams favourite here.
We all have to carry the race gear weight from start to the finish line. So, if you want to go really light you may want to choose a full carbon model from Racepaddle. They are not cheap but have their strengths in transitions. Their weaknesses could be easily modified with the test teams comments on performance, see the charts table.
OK, size does matter. For some. Others might consider paddles that fit their swimming strengths and technique better. Strokemaker offers a large range of sizes and the red one we tested is by far not the biggest in stock. Large paddles take time to get used to, so start small and work your way up.
We want to thank all manufacturers that helped us by providing equipment for our test:
We also want to extend a BIG thank you to www.randorunning.com for helping us with the logistics, Fix parents for housing the testing team, and last but not least, all you swimrunners who have followed us over the weekend, liked what we do and asked us so many intelligent questions.
/The WoS Team, Swimrun France & Swimrun Germany