Let me start by saying that the first paddle I ever used was a Kialoa and I’ve had Kialoa paddles ever since. They feel comfortable to me and they fit with my price point. I’ve paddled with other paddles occasionally to try them and I’ve liked them. I’m not implying that one or another paddle is the be all, end all, so please remain calm.

I started with a Methane with the Hinano print. Then I had a Pipes with the blue plumeria print. I SAY THIS BECAUSE OF COURSE THE COLOR OF THE PADDLE MAKES A DIFFERENCE IN HOW FAST YOU CAN GO. OF COURSE. THIS IS NOTHING BUT A HIGHLY SCIENTIFIC REVIEW.

Ever since I tried the Hulu I kind of wanted one, but I thought the big blade might be too much. I don’t know. I’m not real excellent at math and physics and muscles. Anywayyyyyy they brought out the Hulu small and I tried one at Carolina PaddleBoard Co. Our local rep, Chad, came by with a bouquet of paddles and I picked one out of the mix and took off.

I love my new paddle, and, almost 5 months after getting it, I’m finally writing a review about it.

Obligatory disclaimer: I was given this paddle by Kialoa. My opinions are my own. I’m not exactly a paddle rep, so if you have SERIOUS TECHNICAL QUESTIONS you might want to ask someone who can give you some more academic answers.

Here are some pictures:

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I have always had the T-grip handle, but this one has the Carbon Palm. That took a little getting used to, but now I find it to be quite comfortable.

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I have the carbon/fiberglass blend round shaft. At first I might have been a little snotty. “Well I am USED to full carbon and an OVAL shaft.” Jason told me that fiberglass would make it a little more flexible, as would the round shape of the shaft. “It can bend in every direction equally,” he said. I have been reading too much smut because I still giggle when I talk about shafts. Round shafts.

AHEM.

The whole paddle IS actually carbon, but the mid section is glassed with fiberglass and has a different carbon fiber weave than the top and bottom.

The blade looks like this:

 

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I believe that has something to do with how it sheds water.

See how you don’t want gear review from me? No matter. The main thing is this:

I find the Kialoa Hulu Small with the carbon/fiberglass blend round shaft to be really comfortable to paddle. I had been having some twingy elbow pain after getting back on my standup. It is possible that my Pipes paddle was too long. Erik cut this one much shorter. I had not paddled for three weeks and then had to jump on my board in nasty conditions to do the Cold Stroke.

NOTHING LIKE NEVER DOING ANYTHING NEW ON RACE DAY.

I had also had the flu the week prior.

OH WELL.

Once I got use to the slightly shorter length, which has nothing to do with the type of paddle, I was suuuuuuuuper happy. I find that with this blade I can easily get a nice catch. (Not a lot of wiggling around.) The water releases cleanly. The shaft is flexible.

Basically, I like it.  Two paddles up! I don’t have twingy pain anymore.

Several people have told me that it is important to try a paddle and see if you like it and that’s about as scientific as it gets. Everyone has different preferences. There are pros and cons to every design and how that design/size/shape meshes with your body type and your stroke.

The Hulu Small is a good fit for me. It would be a good fit for some of you, too, I’m sure. So if you’re in the market for a new paddle, definitely take the time to demo one to see if you like it!

Specifications

From the Kialoa Website

This is our Formula 1 race blade on a versatile carbon/fiberglass shaft. The blended shaft is more forgiving on the joints which reduces fatigue and overuse injuries. The Hulu Fixed Blend is available with a Carbon Palm or Carbon Ergo-TTM, or you can upgrade to a 6” carbon adjustable Pro-TTM. This NEW Pro-TTM allows you to have a state of the art paddle with the ability to adjust on the fly depending on conditions, board thickness or personal preference.

Specs: Small Size Blade
Surface Area: 87 sq in
Blade Width: 7 1/8″
Blade Length: 17 1/2″
Blade Material: Carbon epoxy
Blade Angle: 10 degree

Learn more at Kialoa >>

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