The Performer CF is a nice all-around paddle with a wide range of length adjustability which is nice if you plan on lending your paddle to your family and friends. It comes with great graphics and a very smooth and comfortable relatively lightweight shaft. We found that the blade on this product was heavy.
The Zen 95 on the Explorer and the Performer CF on the Raven.
Ease of Adjustment
The LeverLock adjustment system is an easy to use system that has all of the moving parts in the handle. You flip up a lever in the palm of the handle and slide the handle half of the shaft up or down to your desired height/length. The Performer CF has adjustment measurements printed on the handle side of the shaft that make it easy to adjust to the perfect height every time. On the left side are measurements in inches and on the right, in centimeters.
Just remember the general rule of thumb and if you are paddling in surf or whitewater, add 8" to your height, and if you are touring, doing fitness or yoga paddling, add 10" to your height. So, if you are 5'4" tall and are paddling for fitness, you would stop at the 74" mark on the shaft. We like that the measurements are marked on the CF. While testing different products we constantly switched paddles back and forth between paddlers and these marked measurements made it a breeze to make sure that the shaft length was adjusted correctly. The Werner Vibe and the KIALOA Insanity also have the same adjustment system, though some have different measurements.
The adjustment system measurements of the Performer CF on the left and the Vibe on the right. The Performer CF uses inches on the left and centimeters on the right and the Vibe uses inches on the left and feet and inches on the right. The Vibe even marks the left side "Paddle Length" and the right side, "Paddler Height". The Insanity has the same markings as the Vibe.
The Performer CF's length range is 67" x 83.5" so the smallest that it compacts down to with both the handle and blade pieces still attached is 67". If you take the two pieces apart the blade and the majority of the shaft piece measure 65". The Vibe and the Alloy have similar length ranges, the Zen and the Kialoa start at 70",, and the Original AP is the most compact product we tested, with 59.5" being its shortest length.
As we mentioned before, the Performer CF has a LeverLock adjustable locking mechanism that is sturdy and offers 16" of adjustment. It is constructed out of polycarbonate, fiberglass and stainless steel. The locking mechanism is in the T shaped handle of this paddle. Having the main locking mechanism in the handle of the paddle is not our preferred style for maximum comfort. Though it is comfortable enough, we prefer the handle of the Werner Zen 95 that doesn't have any locking mechanism in it. Its locking system is in the shaft. Others might prefer the system in the handle because having the system in the shaft might be uncomfortable for them and their paddle pulling hand.
Handles left to right: Vibe, Zen 95, the (rubber coated) Insanity and the Performer CF, all of which have LeverLock locking mechanism except for the Zen 95.
We loved the feel of the smooth, comfortable shaft of this product, but upon testing we found this paddle to be very blade heavy. We wanted to love the Performer CF, especially because it has such cool graphics, but the blade doesn't cut cleanly through the water. It takes much more effort than expected and we were tired and disappointed after testing the CF.
Based on the scores in our metrics, the CF's main competitor in our testing is the Werner Vibe. The Vibe's blade cut through the water more cleanly and effortlessly than the CF's.
All of our testers agreed that it just took more effort to paddle with the Performer CF. We took both paddles apart and weighed the blade ends individually and completely expected the CF to weigh more than the Vibe. They were the same weight. Both blades are 17.5" wide but the Vibe's blade is 1.5" longer at 19". The Vibe blade is constructed from molded nylon and is only reinforced with fiberglass while the blade of the CF is constructed solely of fiberglass.
Unlike the Vibe the CF's blade has a very small amount of arc to it and very minimal dihedral.
Vibe (yellow) on the left and the Performer CF (pink and black) on the right.
The Performer CF weighs 1 lb 14 oz. This is pretty middle of the road for the selection of products that we tested. We tested two products that were heavier and two that were lighter and one that was almost the same weight (the Vibe). We do think that is product has an overly heavy blade.
We tested the standard size version of this paddle. There is also a large size available that has a 75-90 inch adjustment range.
This product might be good for a family, as it has a nice range of adjustment heights (67" x 83.5"). We recommend it for casual lake touring in calm weather.
This product comes with a year warranty. We think the price is a bit steep. The blade is super heavy and doesn't move water very efficiently compared to other products that we tested.
The Performer CF is a nice all-around performer.
The blade feels a little heavy to us but the locking mechanism is good and has printed measurements, which we liked. The T handle is fairly comfortable and the graphics are awesome. Don't be too rough on it though because the paint can easily chip off. The price is a bit steep; check out the award winning KIALOA Insanity
, which runs $11 less and performs like a dream.
An interesting note to end on is that the BIC SUP company was founded in 1979 by Baron Bich from the BIC pen family fame.
Original AP and the Performer CF. Both these paddles tested are BIC SUP products.
Other Versions and Accessories
This product also comes in a large size that has an adjustment range of 75-90 inches.