The new 230cm AE2035 four-piece carbon/fiber paddle from Advanced Elements is state-of-the-art and upscale without the upscale price. At 31 oz. it is probably the lightest-weight four-piece travel paddle available. Its strength, construction, and effortless action in a paddler’s hands immediately suggest comparisons with top-line products that are double its price. Those top-line products reduce weight through the use of foam-core blades, but the all-carbon/fiber blades of the AE2035 carbon paddle are probably stronger.
The AE2035’s blade is long, narrow, asymmetric, and has a pronounced dihedral or “splayed” design to make pulling it through the water as easy as possible. Power is nevertheless conserved because each dihedral plane is, in turn, slightly concave or “scooped” along the blade’s horizontal and vertical axes. Despite this elegantly complex shape, the narrowness of the blades yields a “low-angle” paddle for extended use in touring, in contrast to a “high-angle” paddle designed for power, with a wider blade that bypasses the easier effort of the dihedral planes for more of a total scooping or enclosing action to move a maximum amount of water with each stroke.
As a low-angle paddle suited to long hours of use, the AE2035’s narrow dihedral blades are almost identical to those of the Cannon Nokomis, which, up to now, has been the smoothest and most comfortably effortless paddle I have used. Their differences are subtle but significant, just as the lighter weight of the Advanced Elements AE2035 Full Carbon means hundreds of fewer pounds over a couple thousand paddling strokes! The Nokomis’ blades are injected nylon, not carbon/fiber; and the blades connect to the carbon/fiber shaft well up on the shaft itself. What this means is that the seam between the blades and the shaft will probably never be under water: hence, no leakage. The Nokomis’ shaft is also “ovalized” to fit the grip of the hand as comfortably as possible. These are design-tricks that testify to Cannon’s long experience in making excellent paddles. It would be possible to connect the blades of the AE2035 Full Carbon further up the shaft, but this would probably increase weight because the connecting diameter of the blade is ruggedly larger than that of the shaft. It would also be possible to “ovalize” the shaft for comfort, but a circular shaft, as it is now, is stronger than an ovalized shaft, which would be weaker in the direction of its shorter radius. In any event, a circular versus an ovalized shaft is ultimately a matter of personal preference. As a “Paddlesnapper,” I always opt for strength. If, as has been suggested, using a Nokomis is like padding air, it must be at sea level compared to the even lighter mountain-top air the AE2035 glides through.
The AE2035 Full Carbon paddle is an excellent alternative to either the Cannon Nokomis or the new Cannon Wave, although all three of these paddles are exceptional for their complex, though elegant, designs that maximize long-distance touring comfort. They are also notable for their quality/price ratios. Thanks to its all-carbon/fiber construction, though, the light weight and strong AE2035 appears to have the edge. And that does not even include its unique and striking aesthetic appearance!
All in all, then, this new Advanced Elements paddle is a serious contender for those who want the best without paying the most – it is truly in a class by itself.
The AE2035 Full Carbon is priced at $249. For more details or to purchase, visit the Advanced Elements AE2035 Full Carbon Touring Paddle product page at http://www.AirKayaks.com.
AirKayaks note: This review was submitted by Lee Johnson from Vancouver, Canada, who spends most of his retired life paddling or star-gazing. Thanks Lee!