C4 Waterman just released their new X-Wing stand up racing paddle from C4 Waterman’s SUBNine line. This is probably the most unique paddle design I’ve seen in a while. For the most part, in the last few years the paddles have has similar blade shapes, widths ranging from 7″ to 9.5″ and dihedral or non dihedral. Weights have dropped to around a pound for the lighter racing versions and different carbon layups have been seen. There are even paddles with different textures on the surface of the blade like the dimples on a Quickblade Magic.
Up to now, my favorite C4 racing paddle has been the XPR with the really thin kevlar blade and carbon shaft. It’s light weight and the entry and release during the paddle stroke are really smooth. I like the flex tip because it has a little give at the catch and seems to be less hard on my joints, particularly my shoulder and rotator cuff area. I also use it for surfing although I know it’s not recommended for that.
The X-Wing paddle is quite a bit different than the other paddles in the C4 line. It’s designed to be longer than your normal paddle, to allow for a catch that’s initiated farther forward. This makes a difference when you’re in downwind bumps and the nose of the board starts to drop and you want to get the paddle buried in the front. I tried it and that’s where the length makes the biggest difference. After doing a downwind run with the X-Wing and my SIC Bullet 12, I liked the way I could get the paddle to catch farther forward, the light weight and the blade design. The neck area above the blade is interesting too. I’m not sure if the shape contributes to the paddle tracking straighter, like a long keel but it sure seemed like it.
The C4 X-Wing neck is much longer than other paddles. It’s also shaped in a diamond, almost keel like shape. I think this helps with strength and to keep the paddle tracking straight.
Full length view of the C4 Waterman X-Wing Paddle
The blade is around 7″ wide which allows it to be pulled through the water a bit easier. Surprisingly, it has quite a bit of bite and torque for a small blade. Must be the design. I’ve used 7″ wide paddles before like the Werner Nitro but this one feels much different.
The X-Wing is enjoying the sunrise on Oahu’s South Shore.
You can see that the blade has a nice smooth top.
Another view of the long neck.
The palm grip handle is a tad bit smaller feeling than the handle on my XPR and I like it. This will be helpful for those with smaller hands. Also, the shaft is narrower and has a round diameter.
Another view of the palm grip handle on the C4 X-Wing Paddle. This handle doesn’t have the foam core so when you pick it up, it feels like nothing due to the super light weight.
Top of blade shows the high aspect ratio
Slight scoop at the tip helps with power at the catch
For the last year, I’ve been using a 79″ paddle for both racing and surfing. It’s the length that seems to be easiest on my shoulders. When Todd suggested I make my X-Wing 83″ long I was hesitant but trusted that he knew better than me and so far he’s right. Both in flatter conditions and in bumps, the length seemed to be a help, more than a hindrance. I thought this may be an issue at the finish portion of the Hawaii Kai run but it wasn’t an issue. I need to try it a dozen more times to really know but so far I really like this new design. I think my paddle is one of the first ones in the water although C4 just got in a batch for sale so I expect to see more soon.
More info from C4 Waterman:
Winged shaft for efficient deep strokes. Extra length for extended reach. Extra light for efficient paddling.
- Full Carbon
- 6-degree angled blade
- Comfortable Carbon palm grip handle
- Patent pending dihedral keel power face
- Deep water designed blade
- New patent pending X-Wing shaft
- Ideal for racers and recreational paddlers looking for more reach and depth in their stroke
- One year limited warranty
- Carbon palm grip
- Round carbon shaft tapering into a wing
- 6.9″ patent pending keel-faced 100% carbon blade.
- Weight: 18.5 oz
- Length: Up to 92 inches.
The rule of thumb for RACING paddle length is 8-10″ taller then the paddler’s height. THIS TABLE shows 9″.