Are you considering treating yourself to a premium, performance-oriented paddle? Have you done some research and think the Whiskey or Tango might be for you? Or, are you simply looking to learn what makes a $300 paddle worth the price?
No matter where you are in your journey, the Whiskey and Tango make kayaking more enjoyable and your on-water experience more memorable. Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of everything one needs to know when considering these paddles.
Who is the Whiskey and Tango designed for?
We introduced our Whiskey and Tango models in 2017 for people who need something lightweight, are paddling long distances, or looking for the best on the market. Our team of engineers has done rigorous testing to design a product for experienced paddlers who want a smooth paddling stroke.
Whiskey vs Tango?
The main difference is the blade shape and profile.
Whiskey Blade Shape: The Whiskey’s blades are the true high-angle shape sought after by sea kayakers, whitewater boaters, and packrafters. Additionally, higher-cadence or more aggressive paddlers also prefer the torque/propulsion of the Whiskey shape. The short + wide combo is ideal to edge around the gunwall of the kayak for optimal forward propulsion when the blade is closest to the kayak.
Tango Blade Shape: The Tango is our high-performance touring paddle, perfect for long and relaxed days on the water with a longer and skinnier blade than the Whiskey. For the majority of flatwater kayakers, the Tango shape is the ideal combination of propulsion and efficiency, not letting an aggressive wind or current dictate your trip and energy level.
Compression Molded Blades
The Whiskey and Tango’s most defining feature is the compression molded blades. These blades are truly handcrafted right at our facility in Osceola, Wisconsin, by a team of experts. The fiberglass blades come in our unique patterns that are printed on silk. Fiberglass and resin are laid over the top and they are compressed into molds using heat and pressure. The Carbon blades use the same process but use carbon (a lighter and stiffer material) instead of fiberglass.
The dihedral of our blades reduce flutter allowing for a more relaxed grip which means a less fatiguing stroke for smooth paddling.
The core (or rib) of the blade is a hand-crafted foam core, designed to be lightweight and yet extremely stiff. This core is key to maintaining strength and stiffness in the paddle, just like a human’s spine.
Other materials commonly found in higher-end paddles can be blades made of foil, wood, or even higher-end plastics. Although there are pros and cons to each, compression molded blades like in the Whiskey and Tango are the optimal combination of lightweight, strength, and long-lasting durable parts. The durability of these blades specifically reduces the concern with chipping, delamination, and clean stress-fracture breaks.
Do the weight savings really make a difference?
The rule of thumb: every ounce of weight saved equals 100 less pounds carried in an hour. So if your paddle is four ounces lighter and you paddle for five hours, you just saved yourself 2,000 pounds of paddle in a day. Because of this, we always recommend people buy the last paddle they can afford. A lighter paddle is going to be made of higher quality, longer lasting components and will make you less tired at the end of the day.
The Carbon options come in at 23 oz. (652 g) for the straight shaft version and 25.5 oz. (723 g) for the bent shaft option. Similarly, the Fiberglass options come in at 26 oz. (737 g) for the straight shaft version and 28.5 oz. (808 g) for the bent shaft option. Compared to other options on the market, these paddles are known for being the lightest options available at their price points.
The Carbon Shaft
All our straight shaft Whiskey/Tango paddles are made with 100% T-700 carbon, meaning we do not use blended shafts. T-700 is a high quality, strong carbon fiber which is often used in aerospace application. Carbon is the most expensive material we use and offers the best strength-to-weight ratio available for paddles. This provides an industry-low swing weight and slight shaft flex promoting a smooth kayaking experience.
We also ovalize the shafts to shape the fit to be more comfortably in your hands than basic round shafts. The ovalized shaft also lets you feel the orientation of the blades when they’re feathered or when one blade is in the water.
The bent-shaft paddles (Tango and Whiskey models) have a triangular validation molded from 3K plain weave 100% carbon. That gives an even more ergonomic grip for many hours on the water or high-cadence paddling situations.
Learn more here: How We Design our Kayak & SUP Paddle Shafts
Our Patented Posi-Lok™ Ferrule
The ferrule system is how the two halves of a kayak paddle fasten together to become one piece. A ferrule makes feathering your paddle possible and able to break-down for transport. All Whiskey and Tango models feature the Posi-Lok™ ferrule system which was developed by the engineers at Aqua Bound.
Benefits of the Posi-Lok™:
- The parts are constructed of fiberglass, which is much stronger than plastic and won’t rust like metal. This is especially helpful in saltwater.
- It offers multiple feathering angles in 15º increments.
- It’s extremely easy to use and adjust, even as you’re paddling.
- It fits tightly with no wiggle.
- Since it’s an external ferrule, sand and debris can’t collect inside your paddle shaft. That means less maintenance for you.
What breakdown/shaft options are available?
Standard 2pc: The 2pc option is our standard and most popular option mainly because straight shaft paddles are often cheaper, lighter, and allow you to move where your hands are placed on the shaft compared to bent shaft paddles.
Bent Shaft: Our bent shaft is the lightest crank shaft option on the market today, and allows touring paddlers to reduce fatigue and prolong their time on the water by aligning wrists in a more natural position. If you have wrist or upper body joint issues, consider a bent shaft paddle to dramatically reduce common paddling strain and prolong your time on the water. Read more here: Bent vs Straight Shaft Kayak Paddles
4pc Breakdown: The 4pc breakdown is ideal for traveling and is especially popular for packrafts, inflatable kayaks, and foldable kayaks. These paddles and break down into pieces as small as 20 inches (51 cm.).
For the Whiskey and Tango offering, we have three different sizing guides that are needed, depending on the model and/or type of paddling. It’s important to note that a majority of Aqua Bound paddles (and paddles in general) only come in 10 cm increments. However, both the Whiskey and Tango come standard in 5 cm increments, as paddlers investing in premium paddles need sizing options more deliberately designed for the conditions they’ll encounter.
Tango Sizing: The Tango sizing follows a standard flatwater, touring sizing guide, but with more sizing options due to the 5 cm increment offering.
Whiskey Sizing: Because of the aggressive high-angle nature of the Whiskey blade shape, most paddlers should size shorter than other traditional sizing guides.
Packrafting Sizing Guide: Most packrafters should use either a 205 or 210cm length paddle, depending on the aggressiveness of their typical paddling trips. Here’s a more comprehensive guide depending on the packraft models and paddling conditions.
Caring for your kayak paddle?
After each use we recommend:
- Separate your paddle halves.
- Rinse each half with clean, fresh water; be sure to rinse the ferrule as well.
- Examine the internal parts of the shaft frequently to make sure they are clear of water and debris.
- When not in use, store your kayak paddle halves apart in a clean, dry, indoor place whenever possible.
General Blade Cleaning: The easiest and cheapest way is to start with warm water and mild detergent. This could be all you need for our composite blades to clean up nicely.
Advanced Blade Cleaning: While the first step is always a mild detergent, for more aggressive markings you may need a little more power. Our production team uses the three part NOVUS Plastic Polishing system. Keep in mind the NOVUS Polishing system is more of an investment.
- #1 - Plastic Clean & Shine: Use this gently clean the blade and restore its shine.
- #2 - Fine Scratch Remover: This can be used to remove fine scratches, haziness and light abrasions.
- #3 – Heavy Scratch Remover: We would NOT recommend using this product on our blades. It’s too aggressive, and may end up doing more harm than good.
If you follow these suggestions, your paddle will thank you! Some scratches and signs of wear are inevitable, but hey, that just means you’re using it! If you have any additional questions regarding paddle care or you have a unique situation, call or email us and we will do our best to help.
Got more questions? Get in touch with our Wisconsin-based Customer Service team help you choose your new paddle today: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]
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