The considerably lower price tag on the SeaSense makes this a tempting option for anyone looking to purchase an affordable paddle so they can get out kayaking without having to break $50. Although the construction and weight of this paddle significantly impacted its performance, it may be adequate for those who just want to get out on the water.
SeaSense X-Treme II Review
Cons: Heavy, locking mechanism wobbly, foam grips prone to slipping.
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The SeaSense X-Treme 2 is a no-frills, entry-level recreational touring paddle. It was a close contender to the Bending Branches Whisper for the Best Budget Buy award, as it is functional and has an exceptionally low price (less than a quarter of the cost of the Aqua-Bound, Camano and Skagit). This model is perfect for a brief lake float or short journeys. The foam grips reduced performance, and the point of connection felt shaky. This model would not be recommended for extended tours (over two hours) or for paddlers who are looking for high performance. It is $25 cheaper than its closest rival from Bending Branches. However, it was also heavier and with a less stable securing mechanism. The Sea Sense X-Treme II is for those paddlers looking to get out on the water without making a significant investment into the sport yet.
The performance of the paddle was compromised once the grips started to move around. This happened within 15 minutes of us first using the paddle. Maybe the temperatures caused the adhesive to unbind, or maybe we just bought an unlucky paddle, however, we were pretty disappointed with this feature. Testers found that you could just pull these up to one end which made the paddle easier to control effectively. The narrow shaft and shaky adjustment point also drew away from the SeaSense X-Treme II's performance. After long days on the water, testers were not excited to be using this paddle.
Ease of Adjustment
The adjustment system was easier to use than most, however, this was partly because the connection point was noted to be inherently loose in the first place.
Locking Mechanism Security
The looser style snap button system used on the SeaSense X-Treme II was not secure. There was a significant amount of give in the mechanism which resulted in a shaky, inefficient paddle stroke. A novice paddler may not notice or care about this shake. However, those looking for efficiency in their paddle strokes may feel frustrated. The Werner paddle's Smart view adjustment system, or Aqua-Bound's Posi- Lock ferrule, delivered a significantly superior point of connection for the two-piece paddles.
Due to the aluminum shaft and plastic blades, this paddle is one of the heaviest paddles tested. This is unlikely to be a cause of concerns for those looking to do very short journeys. However, if you are paddling for more than 30 minutes you are likely to notice the additional fatigue that this paddle will bring. Touring kayakers looking for an affordable option with slightly less weight may also want to consider the Best Budget Buy award winner, the Bending Branches Whisper.
The polypropylene blades were observed to be durable and not prone to easily damage. Testers had concerns how the riveted join would last over time, especially if used by powerful kayakers. Although we noticed no issues during testing, we have seen multiple paddles fall apart over the years that use this same construction technique.
Within 15 minutes of kayaking, the foam grips on the SeaSense started to slip around the paddle shaft, significantly impacting the effectiveness of this paddle. Constructed of plastic blades and aluminum shaft, testers observed no other wear and tear to the paddle.
For those looking to potter around on the water without covering any significant distances, this paddle may be a good option.
This paddle would make a very affordable spare kayak paddle to keep for multi-day touring emergencies, or as a spare for when friends or kids want to join you in your inflatable kayak.
At $40 this is the cheapest paddle we tested. Although the performance difference was notable compared to the Werner Camano or the Aqua-Bound Sting-Ray, this paddle provides excellent value for the introductory kayaker.
It is hard to contend with the great value of this product. If you are looking for a spare paddle for your hardshell kayak, or are considering getting a paddle for your inflatable, this may be a paddle worth spending your money on. For $25 more consider the Best Budget Buy award winner, the Bending Branches Whisper
Other Versions and Accessories
The SeaSense X-Treme II is available in seven different color combinations and lengths 84" or 96".
— Sara James