Ke Nalu has been making stand up paddles for several years now and they have quickly grown to become one of the most favored brands on the market. And as their popularity has grown, so has their selection. Ke Nalu, from the beginning, has refused to produce inferior, bargain-priced, paddles for the sake of selling more product. Instead they have concentrated on carbon construction and state of the art design. Let’s take a look at their newest offering- the Ke Nalu Konihi.
The Konihi blade was designed to give the paddler more power and a smoother draw during the power phase of each stroke. The power comes from the Konihi’s elongated profile that allows more of the blade to dig deeper into the water. The stability comes from the “winglets” that run along the edge of the middle section of the blade. The winglets are slight upturns of the edge of the blade that reduce, or in some cases negate, any turbulence in the water created by the blade. The effect is that there is hardly any flutter or sideways, back and forth movement as the blade is pulled through the water.
The Konihi is not only longer than the original Ke Nalu designs (Wiki, Maliko and Molakai) but it is also narrower. The streamlined profile allows paddlers to have a faster cadence and still retain power due to the depth at which the blade penetrates the water. It does this by having a larger center area across the blade where most of your power is going to reside. There are two main benefits you hear a lot of paddlers talk about after using the Konihi. One is that they felt like they were using up significantly less energy, almost to the point where they thought they weren’t working hard enough. The second, is that they were actually going faster even in comparison to using paddles that were bigger with more surface area. Racers saw their times improve considerably and they were ready to train hard the next day without feeling tired or sore.
In a lot of ways paddle manufacturing has out-paced board manufacturing in technological composition and design. There’s a good reason for this- the paddle is the key to efficiency and performance. You could have the highest quality paddleboard on the market, but if you are using a cheap paddle, that immediately cancels out the benefits the board has to offer. If you go to your local shop you will see a wide variety of paddle blade, shaft and handle shapes as well as different materials that are used in the construction. In addition, the manufacturing techniques employed in building these paddles tend to be unique to each manufacturer and play a huge role in how the paddles perform.
Ke Nalu also makes a Ho’oloa blade that looks similar to the Konihi at first glance but is actually very different. Lane Mead, owner of Ke Nalu, describes the difference-
The Konihi is actually narrower and longer than the Ho’oloas as well as being thinner & generally lighter. It is an entirely different blade, not just due to the winglets.
As such, the Konihi is a big step up in both design, construction and performance. Both the Ho’oloa and the Konihi come in sizes- 84 and 95. So grab a demo or two and see for yourself the difference that a well-designed paddle can make in your SUP experience.