My custom built Whetstone T1 paddle arrived yesterday. I thought I would share my impressions. First, they built it quickly and delivered it properly. Second, the craftsmanship was excellent... perfect alignment of the glass on both blades and the shaft... tight rubber fitting at the junction of the shaft and blade... nice drip rings... and a pretty tight fit at the ferrule.
The shaft has a teeny, tiny bit of play because the button is just a smidge smaller than the feathering hole. I consider it within the acceptable range though my Current Designs paddles (Feather & Medusa) are both a little tighter. It is not enough to downgrade the paddle's quality. Indeed, they may have done so on purpose to make it easier to take the paddle apart. When it gets hot out, I always have trouble separating my Current Designs paddles.
The paddle shaft is a bit larger in diameter than my Feather. It feels very strong. The paddle is a bit lighter than the Feather. The oversize blades are quite a bit larger than the Feather blades though they feel good and stiff. I also like the fact that the non-power face has a flattened centerline instead of the more rounded shaft extension. I have never really bought into the "dihedral advantage" nonsense.
One last point... lots of people couldn't imagine me using a 240 cm paddle. Well... I measured the T1 and my Feather. Damned if both of them did not come in at 240 cm! Without knowing it, I have been using a 240 cm paddle for the last couple of years. The Feather had a Current Designs 230 cm sticker on it at the store when I bought it.
The loom of the Feather is shorter than the loom of the T1 but the overall length is identical. What's up with this? How can a 230 cm paddle and a 240 cm paddle both measure 240 cm?
Anyway, I won't have any problem with this new baby... This is a powerful, well-built paddle. It feels good and I will paddle test it this weekend on the big lake if she lets me.