The HYDRO standup paddle racing range has grown in prominence during the past two seasons, and in the hands of French SUP racer Olivia Piana, claimed its first world title at the end of the 2018 season. Even with the paddle’s success, we continued to test and develop behind the scenes. As a result, 2019 marks the biggest upgrades for the line since the initial paddle launch. Working closely with our athletes Mo Freitas, Olivia Piana, Martin Vitry and Lara Claydon, retail partners and passionate customers, we were able to improve upon the Hydro’s champion design with new materials, new blade sizes and slimmer shaft options to broaden and enhance the collection.
XL95 – A new blade size for increased power & heavier athletes
For paddlers in the 95+ kg range and those athletes looking for immense power for short high intensity races. This is the paddle which Mo Freitas will be using for the explosive technical race discipline this season. Most of the increased area comes from increasing the width of the blade compared to the L88 which results in a powerful and compact blade. At 185mm / 7.28″ wide this is 11mm wider than the L88 blade while maintaining the optimized length of 450mm / 17.72″. This will be an ideal blade for those paddlers in the 95kg+ range (209 lbs & above) range looking for a little more forward drive with each stroke.
M83 & S78 SLIM – A new reduced diameter 26.5mm shaft option designed for Olivia Piana
With encouragement from women’s SUP racing World Champion Olivia Piana and the success of the XS73 blade with our new reduced-diameter 26.5mm (0.984″) shaft, we decided to expand the appeal of the Hydro by introducing new slim-shaft options to the public market. Rather than fit a slim shaft with a 1mm shim (like some other brands do) we built the new blades from scratch, slimming down the neck of the paddle to create a seamless look and feel. The most challenging aspect of the project proved to be developing stiffer reduced diameter shafts. But with research, time and lots of practice runs, we honed in on the flex sweet spot. We also narrowed the M83 blade slightly to work better with the new shafts and suit the target padder. The new M83 SLIM blade is 1mm narrower with 10cm² less area. We are thrilled with the new Hydro SLIM fit line with three sizes M83, S78 and XS73, each with two shaft flex options.
New Palm Handle – A new redesigned and smaller palm handle, ideal for smaller hands
Together with the new reduced diameter shafts we wanted to adjust the handle grip to fit smaller paddlers better. The new design is more comfortable in smaller hands and helps improve grip and power transfer.
TEXCARBON Construction – Our lightest, strongest & Most Technically Advanced Paddles Yet
The most striking aspect of the new paddles is the enhanced construction. Our 2019 paddle line is equipped with a Texalium and carbon shaft, a material developed in San Diego, CA, that over time has proven to be superior. Texalium has some fantastic properties to offer SUP paddles. The increased impact resistance helps keep the paddle safe during flight or in the impact zone, while the silver finish reflects UV rays reducing damage and keeping the shaft cooler on the water—an important aspect for some of our paddlers in the Middle East and other excessively hot climates. The finer 2k texture of the Texalium shaft also helps to enhance grip. We paired the new shafts with blades and handles in a red kevlar and carbon construction for a unique and sleek aesthetic. On the inside, we reconfigured our laminates to increase strength and reduce weight while maintaining an optimized flex. Not only are the TEXCARBON paddles the lightest and strongest made to date, they also look pretty cool!
While the first small batches of TEXCARBON paddles were mainly reserved for our team members and a few of our partner stores, the first sizable batch will be ready to ship in just a few weeks. Supply is tight right now so we suggest placing a pre-order online to ensure that you are one of the first to receive the new paddles ready for the season-opening major event—Carolina Cup—where we will have plenty of paddles and fins on display/demo.