“Technology” is the operative word in a brand that prides itself on cutting-edge technology and thinking outside the box. Thinking outside the box is particularly necessary when trying to come up with “something new” in the fairly complacent industry of kayak paddles. So what did AT do to catch our attention and make us proud to call them one of our partners?
It started with bent shaft paddles. They reinvented the bent shaft paddle. In the reinvention they created a flared egg-shaped grip that is more ergonomic. What does that mean to you? The grip ratio of palm of your hand to shaft is improved. And it just feels better. Additionally, AT’s bent shaft features a dual-axis bend which allows your hand position to be positioned with a slight downward angle (like the handlebars on a mountain bike or an ergonomic keyboard).
So then AT started thinking about straight shaft paddles. Reluctantly. (There was a time when they thought everyone should use a bent shaft). The feeling was they did not want to just reinvent the wheel and come out with nothing more than what was already on the market. So product manager Hastings Blumer and his team thought outside the box and by the time it was done, came up with a new, state-of-the-art paddle series.
What’s so state-of-the-art about AT’s newest series of paddles? Duraweave. Yep – a whole new patent-pending material that is the core material in AT’s Advanced Series whitewater paddles. What is Duraweave? A specific combination of multiple composite fibers including Carbon, Fiberglass, and Innegra that increases durability without increasing weight. Add duraweave to paddles and what do you get?
- Increased durability
- Improved blade durability and impact resistance
- Increased abrasion resistance
- Improved secondary strength – If a shaft happens to crack, duraweave prevents the crack from spreading and greatly reduces the likelihood that it will break into two pieces
- Minimized need to multi-layer composite parts
What does that mean for a paddle? Stronger, lighter, better. Want to know more? Check out the AT video about Duraweave…..
Now – did the first round of this new state-of-the-art design have trouble. Oh yeah, blades fell off on some of the paddles. Not good! But AT took the steps to recall every paddle that had been delivered last spring despite the fact that the issue was isolated to a small portion. Why? Because it was the right thing to do and safety is always the top priority. What caused it? Little lack of quality control. Is it fixed? Sure was. AT was surely not going to make that mistake again!
Are AT Paddles “Made in America”?
Okay paddling community! It is time to clarify “made in America.” And where AT stands in that definition.
AT manufacturers all their components in North America – split between the U.S. and Mexico. None of their components come from China. The paddles are then assembled in their factory less than 10 miles south of the border in Mexico. So per the definition of “made in America” AT paddles are not. Do a little research and you will learn that neither are some of the brands that proudly claim “made in America.” Import data for everything brought into the US since 2002 is public information. As much as we would love to see AT paddles manufactured in South Carolina like Wave Sport boats are, it is not economically viable.
We applaud AT for coming out with something new. Something better. Something interesting in the world of kayaking. And for that reason – we carry AT paddles in our boating store.