The Aqua Marina Carbon Pro paddle is a brand new addition for 2018 to the company's growing SUP accessory line. Since Aqua Marina's paddle boards do not currently include a paddle with the accessory bundle, the Carbon Pro paddle has quickly become a popular choice based on its performance and lightweight design.
Well-known as a super affordable, entry level brand, Aqua Marina has really upped their game this year with their new iSUP models and accessories. In this review, we'll cover the specs, construction, and features of this new paddle, as well as the pros and cons.
Specs, Construction, and Features
Aqua Marina's Carbon Pro is the company's top-of-the-line paddle for 2018, and it weighs in at just 25.6 ounces (725 grams). This paddle is a 3-piece model that conveniently breaks down for easy transport and storage, and when assembled, the length can be adjusted from 70.9″ to 82.7″. The diameter of the shaft is 1.14″ (19mm).
The shaft of the Carbon Pro paddle is a lightweight carbon/fiberglass blend consisting of 70% carbon and 30% fiberglass. This paddle has a high-quality matte finish which looks great and feels really nice in the hands.
The paddle blade on this model is full carbon and measures 21.3″ x 8″ (54 x 21.4cm). Covering the front of the blade is an attractive graphic complete with Aqua Marina's logo.
At the other end of the paddle is a comfortable carbon fiber grip, and the shaft assembles with a locking clasp system — simply open the locking clasp, slide the paddle shaft to the desired length, and close the clasp. Due to the fact that there are no locking pins involved, you may find that there's some shaft twist right out of the box — if that's the case, you can rotate the lever to tighten things up. No locking pins means that you really need to tighten everything up to avoid twisting, but the advantage of this setup is that it allows you to completely customize the length and angle of the handle. With locking pins, you're limited to incremental adjustments in length and cannot change the handle angle.
On the water, the Aqua Marina Carbon Pro is a pleasure to paddle with and we love the feel of the matte finish and lighter weight of this model. When compared with heavier aluminum and fiberglass paddles, a lighter carbon fiber paddle will allow you to paddle faster and longer and you'll experience less fatigue.
What We'd Improve
While this attractive new paddle has a lot of nice features and is priced very affordably, we did experience a problem with it which we'd like to see addressed in the future. We've previously had issues with other SUP paddles that share the same assembly hardware, and unfortunately, we encountered the same exact problem with this paddle…
The problem relates to the mounting of the plastic mounting clasp to the lower portion of the shaft — the factory failed to use ample adhesive to secure the lower third of the shaft to the plastic assembly hardware (which includes the paddle blade). This resulted in the entire lower third of the paddle coming apart while out on the water. Fortunately, we were able to retrieve the blade, reassemble the paddle, and paddle carefully back to shore.
The (easy) fix: As mentioned, this issue is simply a result of the factory dropping the ball when it comes to skimping on adhesive. The good news is, this is an easy fix that you can perform yourself. If you happen to encounter this problem, simply apply a liberal amount of adhesive to the disconnected portion of the shaft, line up the grooves, and slide things into place. On both of the paddles that we've had this issue with, we've reattached them and not had subsequent issues.
Overall, the 2018 Aqua Marina Carbon Pro SUP paddle is a nice, affordably priced option that looks great and paddles well. If you're shopping around for an Aqua Marina inflatable paddle board and want a lightweight, easy to transport paddle that delivers good performance, this is certainly one to consider — just be on the lookout for adhesive issues like the one we experienced.