The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

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
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $200 List
Pros:  Light, compact, sturdy
Cons:  More expensive than other similar paddles, adjustment system is finicky
Manufacturer:   iGK
By Shey Kiester ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 3, 2017
  • Share this article:
64
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 10
  • 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. Additionally, 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.

We recommend the Werner Trance as well, which is available in a 3-piece version.


Compare to Similar Products

 
iGK Pure Carbon Fiber
Awards  Best Buy Award  Top Pick Award  
Price $200 List$135.99 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$151.96 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$199.00 at REI$129.00 at REI
Overall Score Sort Icon
100
0
64
100
0
85
100
0
84
100
0
84
100
0
77
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Light, compact, sturdyCuts cleanly through water, durable bladeEasy and sturdy adjustment, lightweight, high performanceLightweight, strong, easy on the body to useHigh performance, relatively inexpensive
Cons More expensive than other similar paddles, adjustment system is finickyHeavy, looks like a toySmaller adjustment rangeThe handle allows excellent grip but can become uncomfortableHeavy, not adjustable
Bottom Line The IGK is a traveler's dream, as it breaks into three pieces and comes with its own carrying case.The 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.The high-performer Makai was a favorite among some of our testers, while others felt it was too heavy.
Rating Categories iGK Pure Carbon Fiber Werner Vibe Aqua-Bound Challenge 85 KIALOA Insanity KIALOA Makai
Performance (30%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Weight (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
4
Ease Of Adjustment (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
9
Locking Mechanism (20%)
10
0
5
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
10
Aesthetics (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
7
Specs iGK Pure Carbon... Werner Vibe Aqua-Bound... KIALOA Insanity KIALOA Makai
Weight 1.5 lbs 1.7 lbs 1.3 lbs 1.56 lbs 2 lbs
Blade Design Flat / Asymmetrical Dihedral Dihedral Dihedral Dihedral
Blade Shape Rectangular Rectangular Rectangular Teardrop Teardrop
Offset 12 degrees 10 degrees 10 degrees 10 degrees 8 degrees
Blade Material Carbon fiber Injection molded fiberglass epX engineered polymer reinforced with carbon Fiberglass fibrlite Nylon reinforced fiberglass
Blade Dimensions 85 sq in 100 sq in 85 sq in 83 sq in 85 sq in
Shaft Material Carbon fiber Fiberglass Carbon Durable fiberglass Textured fiberglass
Adjustablility (inches) 15" 16" 10.5" 16" 16"
Length Range (inches) 72"- 86" 68" - 84" 70" - 80" 70"-86" 70" - 86"
Number of Pieces 3-piece 3-piece (available in 1, 2, or 3) 2-piece 1-piece (avaliable in 1 or 3) 1-piece
Compact Size 39" 34.5" 66" NA NA
Warranty N/A 1 year 2 years 12 months 1 year
Comes with cover Yes No No No No
Locking Mechanism Mid-shaft Lever Handle LeverLock "Performance" Snap Button Handle LeverLock Handle LeverLock

Our Analysis and Test Results

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.

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 light weight of the paddle contributed to a more pleasant experience on the water. Additionally, this model did not have 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 Werner Vibe and Trance and Kialoa Makai were the easiest models to adjust.

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 in 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.

The LeverLock and Performance adjustment systems on the Werner Trance and Aqua-Bound respectively are far less bulky. All that said, over time we got more and more used to the weight imbalance.

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.

Both come with an excellent carrying system. The bags are similar, but only the IGK comes with 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.

Value


At $200, this model is fairly pricey. However, we feel that if you're hell-bent 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