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.
iGK Pure Carbon Fiber Review
Cons: More expensive than other similar paddles, adjustment system is finicky
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iGK Pure Carbon Fiber
|Price||$188.89 at Amazon||$270 List||$170.00 at REI||$189.95 at Backcountry|
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|$198.95 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Light, compact, sturdy||Great paddling performance, lightweight, compact for traveling||Cuts cleanly through water, durable blade||Easy and sturdy adjustment, lightweight, high performance||Lightweight, strong, easy on the body to use|
|Cons||More expensive than other similar paddles, adjustment system is finicky||Slight paddle flutter||Heavy, looks like a toy||Smaller adjustment range||The 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 choice||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.|
|Rating Categories||iGK Pure Carbon Fiber||Hala Travel Lock & Load||Werner Vibe||Aqua-Bound Challenge 85||KIALOA Insanity|
|Ease Of Adjustment (20%)|
|Locking Mechanism (20%)|
|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|
|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|
|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)|
|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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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