Being a fisherman first and kayaker
second I’m always looking for something to make my paddling
experience easier. So when I read the slogan of a new paddle
company “Why dig when you can glide” they immediately
got my attention.
A few months ago I managed to get a hold of Arthur
Carlow the inventor and designer of the Gullwing kayak paddle.
When I expressed my interest in this new design Art immediately
sent one out to be put through its paces.
I received the paddle a few days later; opening
the box I found one solid shaft and two curved blades. I
snapped the blades onto the paddle shaft and everything
fit together smoothly “the blades are removable for
easy storage and replacement”. I did notice the lack
of drip guards in the package and made a mental note to
pick some up next chance I had.
My first trip using the Gullwing kayak paddle
was a few weeks later down in Jacksonville
FL. I was in my Native Ultimate 14.5 and was amazed at the
amount of power I was able to generate from those curved
blades. The high sides and low seating position of the Ultimate
proved to not be the best choice of kayak for the Gullwing.
The curve of the paddles shaft caused my hands or paddle
shaft to bump into the sides of the kayak. I also tried
using the Gullwing like all my other paddles with vertical
strokes and immediately noticed the drip rings I forgot
to purchase! 30 minutes into the trip I was soaked.
I stand in my kayaks almost 50% of the time
so being able to us my paddle standing up is a must. The
curved shaft made it hard to stand and paddle, it wanted
to twist in my hand with every stroke. This also made it
difficult to paddle and maneuver with one hand.
After getting back from Jacksonville I contacted
Art, about my issues and mentioned he should think of adding
drip guards to the paddle. He explained that I was using
the paddle incorrectly; the Gullwing was meant to be used
with low horizontal strokes. With a horizontal stroke water
drips off the paddle blade before getting into the kayak.
With my new found knowledge I took the paddle
out for round 2. This time is was on a much more typical
kayak used for fishing, an Ocean Kayak Prowler Trident 11.
Using the proper horizontal strokes made a world of difference.
My clothes stayed dry the water rolled right off the paddle
just like Art had said. My arms and shoulders didn’t
fatigue nearly as quickly with the Gullwing. The curved
shaft also allowed me to place the paddle down across my
lap without it rolling all over the kayak.
All in all a huge difference paddling the
Ultimate vs. the Ocean kayak with the Gullwing paddle. Your
higher seating position and the lower sides are ideal for
the Gullwing’s curved shaft.
Bottom line, is the Gullwing kayak paddle
for everyone? No… I wouldn’t recommend this
paddle for the kayak angler who stands frequently in their
kayaks or if you own an extremely wide or high sided kayak
like the Native Ultimate. I would recommend this paddle
for everyone else, if used like it was intended the Gullwing
paddle truly does glide instead of dig.
Ergonomic design permits hours of
Seated Paddling - 9.5
Curved bow handle for comfort plus
Comfort (Seated) - 9
Curved blades for enhanced strokes
Standing Paddling - 3
Snap on/off blade makes replacement
Comfort (Standing) - 3
Powder-coated aluminium alloy handle
Power - 9
Conture balances perfectly on the
kayaks prow or side
Efficiency - 8.5
||Overall Rating - 7
27 April 2011
Mark Watanabe - www.yakangler.com