I'm trying to decide between an Apex Accelerator (http://apexpaddles.com/paddles_detail.html) and the Merlin CD3 (http://merlingear.com/index.php?id_cms=10&controller=cms). I tried them both and like them both. Anyone have thoughts?
Thanks for the help! I'm leaning to the Merlin because it looks really cool, but of course looks shouldn't be the reason I buy something this expensive.
I didn't notice the approval specs, I will definitely look into that. And I'll find out about the warranty too.
I haven't tried the palm grip, but I've never had problems with the wooden paddle T-grip. I wonder if Merlin's Dragon's Teeth is any good (http://merlingear.com/index.php?id_product=64&controller=product) but I wear gloves so I probably don't need it.
Apex's have a history (though on their older, adjustable paddles) of being particularly sensitive to dings/dents on the blade face. Not an uncommon problem for paddles that are particularly light--ZRE even warns that their paddles are not meant for novice use because of this. There's a Space Dragon who uses the new Accelerator and he says he hasn't noticed any wear and tear on his blade face thus far. He's even so bold as to state that it is the best paddle on the market and that it's WAY better than Burn Water. (For context, there are many Burn Waters on Space and Emily is even an authorized distributor, so his statement is probably part hyperbole part joking jab at Em).
Personally I've only used the Merlin CD2 but loved how it felt at the time. The big pull on the CD3 was the update to the new spec for a narrower blade, so I'd imagine it feels similar but with a nicer entry. Enjoy the new toy!
F3 - I checked and all Merlin paddles come with a 12 month warranty. I couldn't find out if it is IDBF approved, but it was built to specs, and Im not that competitive so I don't think it'll be a problem.
bakasan - Thanks for this advice, I'm on a team with a lot of newer paddles so maybe the Apex won't work for me then. FYI I wouldn't consider a Burnwater, though I had forgotten about ZREs. I heard of a few paddlers who's Burnwaters broke while paddling, and not cause they were doing anything stupid. I'm not strong enough that this would happen to me, but since I've only heard it happening to Burnwaters that doesn't give me confidence about their paddles.
I know of one burnwater on Space where the handle came off mid practice. The plus side of BW is that they're (relatively) local and we have a distributor on the beach in Long Beach, so getting replacements/repairs and such could be comparably easier. At LB there was a paddle that broke at the shaft off the start for Space's sister team, Ripple Effect. FWIW, it was a Merlin CD3. Take a strong enough dude and torque on it strong enough, I think that it could in theory happen to any make really. I know world's level teams sometimes even compete w/ spare paddles on the boat just in the event of this sort of thing.
ZREs seem to be a nice combo of the things I like most--light weight, a little bit of flex, and a very crisp entry. All that said, I recently purchased a BW Reactor II as part of a group order and have no regrets. It is definitely the stiffest paddle I've ever owned, so I'm still getting acclimated to that, both the good and bad sides of it.