I have had this paddle for about 4 months now, and it has been tested in decent surf and on distance paddles. To set the scene I normally paddle with a Kialoa Shaka Puu. The guys from System X sent me the Werner Spanker (they are the UK distributors) so we could put it through its paces.
First of all here are the stats. The shaft is an oval shape and its carbon, the blade is also carbon, is tear drop shaped, and has a 12 degree angle against the shaft. The blade width is 9.25 inches at the widest point - quite wide. I cut and set the paddle up to be 82" long, and after I was all finished the weight of the paddle was 578 grams, so its a light paddle !
The handle is comfortable and the grip feels natural. I have been stand up paddle surfing in gloves this winter and there are no problems using the Werner spanker with gloves on.
I took this paddle on afew trips and scored some good waves at Freshwater West in Wales, afew days before the final 2008 BSUPA contest. It has also been out and about with me on the South Coast on some distance paddles and some days with surf.
So how does it perform ? The blade felt wide when I was paddling, my usual paddle, the shaka, is about 1 inch narrower, but I soon got used to it. The blade is nice and light and did not strain my arms or shoulders. It felt good in waves and I was easily able to turn, stall and speed up while surfing using the paddle. The shaft had a decent amount of flex in it (see the pictures). The shaft is very similar in feel to the C4 carbon paddle, but the blade does feel different. Where this paddle really excelled for me was distance work. It is a quick paddle and the extra width on the blade had the board motoring along nicely. It will be interesting to see Boyd Shaw and Elliot Dudley racing with them at BSUPA events (the new Werner UK riders).
The build quality is excellent and solid, as you would expect from a company of Werner's experience. The section where the blade joins the shaft is well made (this is often the weakest spot on paddles) and it has withstood some aggressive paddling with no issues at all.
In conclusion this is a great paddle, it works fine in the surf, but it really excels at distance work. Its light, well made and expect to see plenty of them in the water this year.
For more information or to find a UK stockist contact System X on +44 (0)1189 773 709.