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iGK Pure Carbon Fiber Review

The IGK is a traveler's dream, as it breaks into three pieces and comes with its own carrying case.
iGK Pure Carbon Fiber
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Price:  $200 List | $188.89 at Amazon
Pros:  Light, compact, sturdy
Cons:  More expensive than other similar paddles, adjustment system is finicky
Manufacturer:   iGK
By Shey Kiester ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 18, 2019
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64
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SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 14
  • Performance - 30% 7
  • Weight - 20% 7
  • Ease of Adjustment - 20% 6
  • Locking Mechanism - 20% 5
  • Aesthetics - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The iGK Pure Carbon is one of only a few products in our test fleet that are constructed entirely from carbon. This makes these products extremely light, while at the same time making some users uncomfortable with their ability to handle heavy-duty wear and tear. The iGK features a three-piece construction, that's hugely beneficial to those planning on traveling with their SUP setup. But, it can be detrimental in the long run, as more moving parts means more possibility for something to go wrong.


Compare to Similar Products

 
iGK Pure Carbon Fiber
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award  Top Pick Award 
Price $188.89 at Amazon$270 List$135.99 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$189.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$198.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
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Pros Light, compact, sturdyGreat paddling performance, lightweight, compact for travelingCuts cleanly through water, durable bladeEasy and sturdy adjustment, lightweight, high performanceLightweight, strong, easy on the body to use
Cons More expensive than other similar paddles, adjustment system is finickySlight paddle flutterHeavy, looks like a toySmaller adjustment rangeThe handle allows excellent grip but can become uncomfortable
Bottom Line The IGK is a traveler's dream, as it breaks into three pieces and comes with its own carrying case.If you need a travel paddle and don’t want to sacrifice paddling performance, the Lock and Load is the right choiceThe Vibe is a great all-around paddle that moves water well and is easy to manage.The Aqua-Bound Challenge has a a high-performance paddle for serious paddlers.This is a high-performance paddle that is easy to pull through the water.
Rating Categories iGK Pure Carbon Fiber Hala Travel Lock & Load Werner Vibe Aqua-Bound Challenge 85 KIALOA Insanity
Performance (30%)
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Locking Mechanism (20%)
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Specs iGK Pure Carbon... Hala Travel Lock &... Werner Vibe Aqua-Bound... KIALOA Insanity
Paddle Weight 1.5 lbs 1.125 lbs 1.7 lbs 1.3 lbs 1.56 lbs
Blade Design Flat / Asymmetrical Dihedral Dihedral Dihedral Dihedral
Blade Shape Rectangular Teardrop Rectangular Rectangular Teardrop
Offset 12 degrees 10 degrees 10 degrees 10 degrees 10 degrees
Blade Material Carbon fiber Polycarbonate Injection molded fiberglass epX engineered polymer reinforced with carbon Fiberglass fibrlite
Blade Dimensions 85 sq in Unavailible 100 sq in 85 sq in 83 sq in
Shaft Material Carbon fiber Carbon Fiberglass Carbon Durable fiberglass
Adjustablility (inches) 15" 16" 16" 10.5" 16"
Length Range (inches) 72"- 86" 62"-78" 68" - 84" 70" - 80" 70"-86"
Number of Pieces 3-piece 3-piece 3-piece (available in 1, 2, or 3) 2-piece 1-piece (avaliable in 1 or 3)
Compact Size 39" 41" 34.5" 66" NA
Warranty N/A 3 years 1 year 2 years 1 year
Comes with cover Yes No No No No
Locking Mechanism Mid-shaft Lever Handle LeverLock Handle LeverLock "Performance" Snap Button Handle LeverLock

Our Analysis and Test Results

The iGK Pure Carbon impressed testers, as it was both lightweight and highly portable. This paddle excelled in both our performance metric, but it fell far behind other models when it came to adjustability and locking mechanism performance. While some testers did not think this product's locking mechanism was a deal-breaker, others did. Read on to find out more.

While this model did not fare well in the overall scoring metric, this was due in large part to its low scores in adjustability and locking mechanism, which were weighted heavily in this review. However, it performed very well in other areas, so if you determine that the locking mechanism of this paddle doesn't bother you, this could be the paddle for you.

Performance Comparison


The IGK paddle out for a rip.
The IGK paddle out for a rip.

Performance


Despite its locking mechanism debacles, the iGK managed to receive a high score for performance. This model's large rectangular blade moved water well on both forward and backward strokes, and users felt that the lightweight of the paddle contributed to a more pleasant experience on the water. Additionally, this model did not have a wiggle in the handle where the shaft section met the blade section.

Here is the rectangular blade of the IGK.
Here is the rectangular blade of the IGK.

Weight


This paddle, made of all carbon, weighed in at 1.5 pounds, making it one of the lighter paddles in our test.

Ease of Adjustment


The iGK did not score well in this metric. With a Family Adjustment adjustment system, the iGK adjusts by lifting a lever that is on the handle and which releases tension, allowing the handle end of the shaft to move, creating a longer or shorter distance.

You can adjust this with a screwdriver, but how often do you have that handy? Unfortunately, the adjustment mechanism loosened up on us often. When free, the handle slides around in the shaft, which makes paddling extremely difficult. This was annoying, but you can still paddle. With 15 inches of adjustability, this paddle scored in the middle of the pack.

The adjustment system and marking of the IGK
The adjustment system and marking of the IGK

Locking Mechanism


The locking mechanism metric was another point of weakness for the iGK. The Family Adjust system adjusts via a lever located on the handle. It releases tension which lets you slide the parts. While effective, on such a light paddle, this hefty locking mechanism throws off balance.

Aesthetics


Regrettably, the iGK Pure Carbon adjustable SUP paddle somewhat failed to impress in our final testing metric: aesthetics. While the paddle is decently visually appealing with a carbon finish and smooth futuristic lines, it doesn't have quite the same style as other paddles with accent graphics, contrasting colors, or wood veneer. We did appreciate that it doesn't look like a toy. It would be a good option for someone who has a more discreet style preference but most of our judges preferred paddles with a little more panache.

Value


Unfortunately, this model is fairly pricey. However, we feel that if you're set on getting a three-piece model, then this is a good option, as its system secures tightly with very little play.

Conclusion


This paddle is for travel-focused users. If you're hiking with your SUP or flying across the ocean for remote SUP adventures, this is an incredible option for travelers, offering lightweight construction and performance.


Shey Kiester