Aerial Whitewater Paddle Wins 2024 Best Paddle Award

4-minute read  

Aqua Bound’s Aerial Carbon whitewater kayak paddle is announced as winner of Best Paddle in Paddling Magazine’s 2024 Industry Awards, based on a record number of over 38,000 ballots cast from consumers, retailers and industry brands.

What does this mean? The award recognizes significant and innovative achievements in the development of gear and accessories introduced each year to the paddlesports market.

Best Paddle award graphic for Aqua Bound Aerial Carbon

We are deeply honored by this award and the shared excitement for these revolutionary Aerial paddles. Thank you to those who took the time to vote for the Aerial Carbon, and congratulations to all of the award-winners and nominees who are pushing the bounds of what’s possible in paddlesports.

“Winning 2024 Best Paddle is a testament to the effort our team has put into the Aerial project,” shares Mac Sandberg, Director of Revenue Growth and Innovation. “From extensive field testing and market research, to our revolutionary Lam-Lok™ technology, to the spectacular end-to-end graphics, this paddle embodies all our hard work. The spotlight Paddling Magazine shines on the Aerial Carbon is confirmation of how exciting this product family truly is!”

About the Aerial Carbon Whitewater Kayak Paddle

The Aerial lineup was engineered to address a significant pain-point in the industry–durability. We prioritize paddler research and feedback in the product development process and learned that first and foremost, there is a need for whitewater paddles that better stand up to the rigors of the sport.

Our team spent the next year+ designing the Aerial lineup comprising game-changing durability with performance and weight in mind.

While every element of the paddle is engineered for stamina, the star of the show is our proprietary Lam-Lok™ U.S. Patent Pending technology.

Aerial whitewater paddle blade with LamLok technology

Aerial’s revolutionary Lam-Lok™ bonding along the blade edges

Lam-Lok™ mechanically bonds the laminated blade layers together with over 5 meters of an aramid thread per blade, dramatically extending the life of the paddle by up to 5-10x.

While most blades out there have some sort of edge protections, Lam-Lok™ doubles down by resisting impact and abrasion as well as fighting delamination (when blade layers begin to peel apart).

Speaking to Aqua Bound’s commitment to lean-forward design, Jason Eccles, Aqua Bound President states, “The Aerial is the most innovative paddle we've developed in my 20+ years at Aqua Bound. The whitewater community was hungry for something new and were asking us to revolutionize the durability of paddles. We’re happy to deliver on that request with patent pending Lam Lok™  technology—a new level of innovation in a market segment that hasn’t seen major change in some time.”

In addition to Lam-Lok™ here are other key features that helped Aerial Carbon earn Best Paddle:

  • Material: High-tech, spread tow carbon weave of the blades and shaft increase the mechanical properties of the material (strength, stiffness, impact resistances) while reducing weight
  • Blades: Wide, flattened foam spine on blade simulates performance qualities of both a full foam core foil blade and a compression-molded carbon blade
  • Blade Pegs: Reinforced carbon blade pegs maximize strength at the blade-to-shaft joint and makes the paddle feel like solid one-piece construction
  • Shaft: Full carbon shaft optimized for a stiffness/flex balance between that of traditional carbon and fiberglass shafts to ease strain on shoulders
  • Grip Shape: Elongated, softened triangular grip shape helps paddlers intuitively know blade position in relation to indexing
  • Grip Coating: Slightly tactile, rubberized overcoat helps paddlers maintain a controlled grip (without destroying existing paddler calluses)
  • Graphics: Shapes and lines subtly decorate the blades and shaft and represent the fluidity yet rigidity required to be successful in whitewater kayaking

“Leading the development of Aerial's graphics was a dream project come true,” shares Luanne Koubsky, Creative Lead. “The combination of creativity, experimentation and intentional design resulted in a product we’re proud to share with paddlers around the globe. Not only do the Aerial graphics look attractive and unlike anything else on the market, they include strategic design elements to help in our hand-made manufacturing process.”

Variations that Vibe

We know whitewater kayakers are particular about their paddles. While we understand there will never be a “one-size-fits-all,” Aerials cover a wide spectrum of needs and wants with six different models and two blade shape sizes, Major and Minor.

Both blade styles feature a wide, flattened foam spine for high performance. A large core area and localized reinforcements maximize strength, stiffness and durability. Their asymmetric shape and slight dihedral offer smooth, powerful strokes.

Aerial Major Carbon is best suited for kayakers who are large in stature, in great paddling shape or need extra surface area for aggressive, responsive maneuvers. Each blade has a surface area of 700 square centimeters.

Aerial Minor Carbon is best for small and medium-sized kayakers or those who want maximum efficiency when running rivers. Each blade has a surface area of 645 square centimeters.

two whitewater kayakers on the water, each with an Aerial Carbon paddle

 (Photo courtesy of Casey Bryant Jones and Level Six)

Both Major and Minor paddles come in these six models:

  • Fixed length 1-piece straight shaft
  • Fixed length 1-piece crank shaft
  • Adjustable length 2-piece straight shaft with our Versa-Lok™ ferrule
  • Adjustable length 2-piece crank shaft with our Versa-Lok™ ferrule
  • Adjustable length 4-piece straight shaft with our Versa-Lok™ ferrule
  • Adjustable length 4-piece crank shaft with Versa-Lok™ ferrule

Note that 4-piece options include crank shaft. We specifically designed this option to be possible so paddlers can use what they are comfortable with, whether when reaching to pull out a back-up or needing ultimate portability.

2024 prices range from $549.95 to $724.95.

Aerial is also available with Fiberglass blades, with retail prices starting at $449.95.

See all our Aerial whitewater kayak paddle models

Do you have paddle questions our friendly Customer Service Team can help you with today? Contact them: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]

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