We review the Kialoa Methane paddle and find it to our liking. This paddle is slightly narrower than some others on the market, it is targeted at women and surfers, but it has become the distance paddle of choice for a lot of racers.
I was looking for a new paddle (I am currently using the Kialoa Shaka Puu) which I could cut slightly shorter for use in the surf. A quick investigation of what was around and Wouter at SUPUK sent over the Kialoa Methane. I wanted something that was narrower in the blade that would be more reponsive in the surf so I was full of anticiapation when the paddle arrived.
First impressions on getting the paddle out of the packaging is that the built quality is excellent, it has a narrow oval shaft, a tear drop shaped flat blade that is at a 10 degree angle to the shaft. It has a t-bar handle the is also carbon fibre, and not plastic. I quickly cut it to the right size for me and glued it ready for testing. This co-incided with the longest flat spell on the South Coast of the UK I have experienced. Desperate to give this paddle a go I started taking it out on distance paddles. My thinking was, I know it won't work, but at least I would get an idea of what it would be like in the surf. How wrong can you be. I have found this paddle great for distance work, especially when you have some on shore wind or choppy conditions. The 8" x 16 1/2" blade makes wind resistance less of an issue and enables you to maintan better control in rough conditions than a bigger blade. It does get out performed on perfect flat conditions, but in our opinion it is an excellent paddle if you have chop to work against.
I have used it on countless downwinders, races and training sessions and, although I still use the Shaka Puu, the Kialoa Methane has become a regular paddle for me, but I was still desperate to use it in the surf. After almost two months of South Coast flatness I broke and sorted out a road trip for waves on the North Coast of Cornwall. Three foot cross shore slop has never been so good. I was very suprised with how easy it was to use in the surf, I use my paddle a lot when I surf, to counter balance, initial turns, stall and for speed. I found that you are able to apply power into turns really easily without over cooking it and you can use it to stall and rotate very quickly. In fact you can really push you turns hard with this paddle. I have had quite a few stand up paddle surf sessions since my road trip and I am really pushing my cut backs and off the lips into tighter and faster combinations, the Methane has no problem with this at all.
The paddle is light, weighing in at 590 grams when cut to 6ft 8”, I was pretty suprised by the lightness, so many people I speak to with non carbon paddles complain about the weight of them and how tired their arms are, I have never had this issue, if I get tired it is from the action of paddling, not from the weight of the paddle. Another advantage when distance paddling with the Kialoa Methane is that it does not strain your shoulders and the smooth carbon handle means that blisters are reduced. I have used a couple of other brands who put plastic handles on the paddles and but they ripped my hands to bits when I was in the water for any length of time, this does not happen with the Methane, or any Kialoa paddle that I have used.
I would recommend this paddle for anyone, not just surfers or the ladies. People who borrow mine do tend to then get on line and try and buy one so that speaks for itself !!