Ke Nalu Standup Paddles Within Europe
Ke Nalu Standup Paddles Within Europe
The world's best SUP paddles
Ke Nalu Standup Paddles
Ke Nalu paddles are highly configurable and you are never stuck with the choices you made. They are assembled with hot glue, so most changes you want to make can be done with a heat gun. Still, it saves you money and time to pick the right components the first time. The weights listed in the descriptions below are for "Elite" paddles. Both the Elite and xTuf blades are made in the same molds, so except for materials (which result it slight weight differences) they have the same design. While xTufs are heavier than our Elite paddles, at 495 to 565 grams, they are still among the lightest paddles available. The xTuf Blades are made with reinforced, high-quality fibreglass. The Elite blades with high strength lightweight 3K carbon fibre.
Q - What's better about Ke Nalu Standup Paddles?
A - Well, our intent when we designed them was to make EVERYTHING better. Because when something is simple, everything matters.
Q - What's simpler than a paddle?
A - You can judge for yourself how well we accomplished our goal, but let's look at what we did.
Most paddle blades are joined to the shaft by means of a "frog", which means the blade narrows into a tube that the shaft slides into–like a garden tool. This frog construction is inherently weak because the tube has to be hollow for the shaft to fit inside it, so the only way to reinforce it is to make it thicker and therefore heavier. This hollow element comes at the worst possible time–when the blade is changing radically in cross section, which means the stresses are complex and are focused in all the worst places.
Our ferrule connection doesn't need to be hollow, so we internally brace the paddle blade with a fiberglass beam. The paddle is further braced with a molded hard PVC foam core.
Frog construction also leads to a lot of stress risers–areas for stress to concentrate. It's no surprise that SUP paddles generally break at the stress risers. By designing a paddle with flowing contours we gain numerous benefits, not the least of which is uncompromised structural strength. The contours also make our paddle blades stiffer in all dimensions and enhance the hydrodynamic characteristics as we'll discuss later
The result is a very light blade that is much stronger than it would be with a "frog" design. It is also, of course, very pretty. As usual, good design has it's own intrinsic beauty.
Using that structural advantage we were able to make paddles that are the lightest on the market, and paddle blades that are extremely light, which reduces the all-important swing weight.
Our Elite blades are made in a heat press in precision aluminum molds. The mold finish is so precise that the blades come out of the mold finished except for trim. There is no clear-coat on a Ke Nalu Elite blade. This is the best molding approach available. It is time consuming, technically difficult, and results in a high reject rate (about 20 percent) but the end result is the lightest, strongest, most precise paddle blade available.
Q - How do I pick blade side & know that its right for me?
A - Selecting the proper blade size is important to ensure that your paddling experience is most enjoyable.
For smaller paddlers or anyone who likes to maintain a very high cadence, we recommend the Wiki. At 8" x 15" and 84 square inches it's ideal for surfing. This is the lightest paddle on the market at 442 grams, and yet it's stronger than paddles that weigh three times more. You really do have to be prepared for a fast cadence though, this blade recovers very quickly. It's not just light, the weight difference is all in the blade, so it's all swing weight. If you're not prepared for it your rhythm will suffer, but it's pretty easy to get used to it. Most paddles weigh at least twice as much.
For larger, more powerful paddlers, even those used to smaller conventional paddles, we recommend the Maliko. At 8.5" x 16" and 95 square inches, it's a very powerful paddle, but the wobble-free design means it's easy on your arms and shoulders. It weighs just 494 grams. The only paddle on the market that is lighter than that is the Ke Nalu Wiki. Most racers and surfers will find the Maliko to be ideal. It hits the sweet spot for combining power and rapid recovery to give the greatest efficiency.
For advanced paddlers and power surfers we recommend the Molokai. At 9" x 17" and 105 square Inches it has a powerful catch. The design of the Ke Nalu blades ensures a firm, strong catch in any size, but it's particularly impressive with the Molokai. Despite the big blade, the Molokai is still an ultra-lightweight paddle, at only 499 grams. Big wave surfers like the reliable catch–it's simply always there, and advanced paddlers and racers appreciate the power and efficiency. There's simply not much slip with this paddle.
You need a disciplined stroke to handle this blade, you can't just muscle it. Use proper technique and it feels like it has power assist. Slack off a bit and it's a truck.
Ho'oloa 84 & 95
The differences between the Ho'oloa and the original Ke Nalu designs (Wiki, Maliko, Molokai) are subtle but the way they feel in the water is entirely different! It has a slightly softened catch due to the narrower width but more drive due to the increased length and larger 'sweet spot'. The narrower overall profile also helps to reduce flutter tendencies & keep the power more 'centred around the shaft. The Ho'oloa is offered in two sizes. The Ho'oloa 84 is 7.5" x 16", 84 square inches and the Ho'oloa 95 is 8" x 17", 95 square inches.
Konihi 84 & 95
The Konihi was designed with racing in mind. It utilizes "winglets" taken from aviation technology to make the blade work more efficiently and help avoid problems like blade flutter/wobble. Just like an aircraft wing a paddle creates high and low pressures when moving through the water; and just like a wing when these pressures converge they create vortices which lead to inefficiency as well as other problems. The winglets help divert these vortices out and away from the back of the blade giving you a more efficient stroke, Improved blade stability and increased drive. All of this combined leads to a better paddling experience, leaving you less fatigued. If you're a serious racer or want the best performance available, this is the blade choice for you.
Our shafts are made of prepreg 3K Twill Carbon Fiber in a smaller diameter than is typical and are tapered. This gives a controlled flex between the upper and lower hands–right where you want it for reducing shoulder shock. Our shafts are formed on a precision mandrel with a compression process that leaves a fine “sharkskin” texture on the surface. We angle the edge of the sharkskin so your hand slides down the shaft without resistance, but when you pull up in a stroke the texture gives a firm grip. The grip level can be adjusted with light sanding.
At the handle end the first six inches is not tapered, so the shaft can be cut to size without making the handle loose. After 6 inches the shaft tapers a little over .002" per inch, so the shafts can be cut about twelve inches before the clearance becomes excessive. We've tested our standard handles in shafts cut by twenty inches, and they work fine, but the joint between the shaft edge and the bevel of the handle is stepped and just not as neat as we like.
The bottom six inches of the shaft has an extra layer of carbon fiber to increase strength of the joint. It might seem that the shaft has the same problem as a frog design–no way to reinforce it except for adding material (and in fact we do add a little)–but the strength of a shaft isn't compromised by changes in cross section.
Q - What is Shaft Flex & how should I determine what Shaft I use?
A - The standard shaft is 63 inches long. Add 19.5 inches from tip to ferrule for a Molokai paddle and two inches for an Ergo T or Ergo handle and it's 84.5 inches max. With a Maliko blade it's 83.5 and with a Wiki it's 82.5. The Extended Ergo T handle adds as much as seven inches to any paddle to allow the standard shaft to go as far as 90.5 inches.
The Long shaft is 67 inches–4 inches longer, so a Molokai blade in an uncut shaft is 88.5. With an Extended Ergo T handle it can go to 95.5 inches.
All Ke Nalu shafts have a micro sharkskin texture that grips your hand in the pull direction. You can tune the grab with light sanding. All the Elite Flex shafts look the same regardless of the flex–a beautiful herringbone carbon fiber finish.
100 Flex: Most people will want the 100 Flex Carbon shaft. It's the lightest, the strongest, and you simply don't need much flex with a Ke Nalu paddle. The tapered shaft provides a little flex at the upper handle, and the wobble and vibration that flex helps to damp isn't there to begin with. Most people find the taper flex that softens the pull to the upper hand is all they need.
90 Flex: But if you want a tiny bit more flex and you don't mind an extra five grams of weight then you will like the 90 Flex Carbon shaft. It flexes a bit more at the upper hand. It has a nice feel.
xTuf Shaft: The xTuf Carbon shaft is made from impact-resistant unidirectional carbon fiber. Unidirectional fibers are wound on a bias, providing stiffness, torsional strength, and vibration damping. This is a great shaft for coupling with our larger blades since it reduces the catch shock and stores energy for launching you into waves and swells. The flex has different characteristics compared with our Elite shafts but to compare the xTuf would feel about like a 70 Flex.
xTuf(s) about an 80 Flex. It tapers from 1" at the handle end to 1.25" at the blade end. The first 6 inches of the handle end are not tapered to permit shortening the shaft without changing diameter. After 6" the shaft tapers .002" per inch of length. The blade end is reinforced with an extra layer of carbon fiber but can be trimmed 2" without compromising the reinforcement.
Q - What is the difference in Handles?
A - All Ke Nalu handles are 100 percent carbon. Your choice is a matter of taste and experience, but here's some criteria.
Beautiful and comfortable, anyone used to big ergo handles will like this one. We cheated it a little towards the T handle because we can't stand handles that don't tell you what your paddle angle is. Best for people with large hands.
If we were going to standardise on a single handle this would be the guy. It's comfortable for a wide range of hand sizes, offers the comfort of the Ergo and the control of a T.
Extended Ergo T
The Extended Ergo T is a €65 option. It's a bargain at that price for two reasons. First, it's an expensive part to make, and second, it lets you use one paddle for surfing, racing, and cruising.
Q - What is hot glue all about?
A - Most paddles are put together with permanent epoxy. If you cut the length incorrectly it's a big hassle to try to fix it. If you break a component the entire paddle is probably junk.
Ke Nalu paddles are designed to be assembled with hot glue. You can take them completely apart with a hairdryer or heat gun. You can't simply choose to use hot glue, you have to design the paddle to have enough structural integrity that the contribution of strength from the glue isn't important. And you have to design the pieces to accommodate the characteristics of the glue. For example, all our ferrules are oval shaped. When the parts are glued together the oval cross-section inside the perfectly round shaft creates a gap for the glue to fill which helps them resist torque and ensures the parts stay put.
The oval shape of the ferrule shaft forms a "key" of the hot glue that resists turning the ferrule inside the shaft
Hot glue offers lots of adjustment benefits, for example, with our Extended Ergo-T handle you can change the length of your paddle by six inches with just a hairdryer. We're coming out with a multi-piece travel paddle that's exactly the same as our Elite and xTuf versions. You can disassemble it with a hairdryer but when it's assembled there is no shake or wiggle–the joints are rigid–and the weight is only 50 grams more than our standard paddles.
That's the choices. They really aren't that hard to make, no matter what you choose you're going to love this paddle. It's the lightest, strongest, and most technically advanced paddle on the market. What's not to love?
Q - My paddle broke, what do I do?
A - Ke Nalu guarantees to the original purchaser that our product is free from defects in materials and craftsmanship. If a Ke Nalu paddle fails under normal use within one year (limited one year warranty) of purchase you can email us here to request replacement or repair of the damaged part. You must provide a photograph of the broken part (as an attachment – see the warranty claim for directions) and provide all the requested information. If you bought your paddle from a dealer you can provide either proof of purchase or provide the dealer name and approximate date. We may contact the dealer to confirm the purchase date. Since Ke Nalu paddles are modular, only the damaged part(s) will be replaced. Do not send damaged parts – we will notify you if we need to see the actual parts but in most cases photo documentation is sufficient.
Ke Nalu is not responsible for consequential damage caused by failure of a paddle part.
To make a warranty claim just email us here and upload detailed pictures of the failed part. Please note that accidental damage is not covered by the warranty. This warranty covers manufacturing defects and part failures that occur under normal use. Ke Nalu paddles are modular, so if a blade fails we replace the blade. You can exchange the broken part with the new one using just a heat gun. See the videos on the Ke Nalu site for demonstration of how to exchange components.
Photographs showing the failure is required. You do not have to return the damaged part to us unless we specifically request it.