Hands-on Gear Review

iGK Pure Carbon Fiber Review

iGK Pure Carbon Fiber
Price:  $200 List | $188.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Light, compact, sturdy
Cons:  More expensive than other similar paddles, adjustment system is finicky
Bottom line:  The IGK is a traveler's dream, as it breaks into three pieces and comes with its own carrying case.
Editors' Rating:   
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Weight:  1.5 lbs
Blade Material:  Carbon fiber
Blade Dimensions:  85 sq in
Manufacturer:   iGK

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 at their ability to handle heavy duty wear and tear. Additionally, the IGK features a three-piece construction, that while hugely beneficial to those planning on traveling with their SUP setup can be detrimental in the long run, as more moving parts means more possibility for something to go wrong. If you're on the market for a three-piece product, be sure to check out the Super Paddle Carbon as well, which was the only other three-piece model in our review. Additionally, if you don't necessitate total compactibility, we recommend the Werner Trance.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Shey Kiester

Last Updated:
Thursday
August 3, 2017

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The IGK Pure Carbon impressed testers, as it was both lightweight and compactable. This paddle excelled in both our performance metric and our compactibility 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.

Performance Comparison


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.

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

Ease of Adjustment


The IGK did not score well in this metric. With a LeverLock 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 slid around in the shaft, which made 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 easiest to adjust paddles were the Own the Wave and BPS models.

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

Compactability


The IGK received one of two perfect scores in this metric. A three-piece model, this product measured just 39 inches when fully compacted, which was nearly half of what the less compactable models measured. The other three-piece model in our test was the Super Paddle Pure Carbon. Both come with a nice carrying system. The bags are similar, but only the IGK comes with a clever stow slots for the handle and shaft. Another point of difference comes in the offset connection point between the shaft and blade of the paddle. The Super Paddle's connection point added a bit more play/wiggle in the paddle that was present in the IGK.

Locking Mechanism


The locking mechanism metric was another point of weakness for the IGK. The LeverLock system adjusts via a lever located in the handle. It releases tension which lets you slide the parts. While effective, on such a light paddle, this heftly locking mechanism throws off the balance. The Performance adjustment system on the Werner Trance and Aqua-Bound is far less bulky. All that said, over time we got more and more used to the weight imbalance.

Performance


Despite its locking mechanism debacles, the IGK managed to receive a high score for performance, and it beat out the other three-piece model in the test (the Super Paddle). This model's large rectangular blade moved water well on both forward and backward strokes, and users felt that the light weight of the paddle contributed to a more pleasant experience on the water. Additionally, this model did not have the same issue as the Super Paddle, which had a little bit of wiggle in the handle where the shaft section met the blade section.

The rectangular blade of the IGK
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. Although the Super Paddle, which is comparable to this paddle, weighed just .1 pound more, the IGK was noticeably lighter in hand.

Value


At $200, this model is a cool $80 more than the Super Paddle offering, which is comparable in construction and design. However, we feel that if you're hell-bent on getting a three-piece model, then this is the one to go with, as its system is tighter and has less play than the cheaper Super Paddle version.

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

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Most recent review: August 3, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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  • 5
 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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