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NRS Rush Review

This lightweight paddle is not the best in terms of casual performance, but it's a good travel option.
NRS Rush
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Price:  $190 List | $169.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, compactable
Cons:  Not optimal for recreational paddling, slow to adjust
Manufacturer:   NRS
By Shey Kiester ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 26, 2018
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 10
  • Performance - 30% 6
  • Weight - 20% 9
  • Ease of adjustment - 20% 6
  • Locking Mechanism - 20% 7
  • Aesthetics - 10% 8

Our Verdict

While NRS is well-known in water sports, they are relatively new to the SUP scene, so we were curious to see how the Rush paddle stacked up against the competition. Due to its aggressive blade design and shape, it missed the mark in our flatwater focused performance review. It's designed more for power than efficiency. This paddle is among the lightest of our test group, and costs a lot less than the very lightest option, the excellent Werner Trance 95.

Still, for about the same price, you could get the excellent Aqua-Bound Challenge, which is nearly as lightweight and offers far superior performance.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Rush stood out because of its lightweight fiberglass construction, weighing in at just 1.3 pounds. With a flat, teardrop blade design and minimal offset, our reviewers weren't particularly impressed by its performance for recreational paddling, but that's not to say it won't get you from Point A to Point B.

Setting up for the powerful catch.
Setting up for the powerful catch.

Performance


The symmetrical, teardrop blade shape didn't match the efficient paddling performance of other models in this review. The broad surface area along the bottom of the paddle catches a lot of water immediately, which requires power to move. The steeper offset angle (7-degrees) and flat face are also meant to maximize power, but they don't do much to control water flow. As a result, if your stroke varies from side to side, the paddle may slice and flutter.

Our testers found that paddles with a bit of variation in the blade shape, like dihedral designs, are easier to paddle. They require less force and reduce flutter. Additionally, although the Rush's 7-degree offset allows you to generate a lot of power in the water, it requires more strength and precision than the Werner Vibe that features a bit more offset.

This paddle is more optimized for surfing, where you need power at your fingertips to catch a wave, than for a mellow after work paddle. If you are an experienced paddler who enjoys a slower cadence and more powerful stroke, this paddle could work well. But it's not suited for the majority of casual users as it requires more work at a higher price than most of our other options. The Werner Vibe is a better option if you're looking for more user-friendly performance at a decent price point.

The Rush  Werner Vibe  and Kialoa Makai from left to right. Each has a slightly different blade design  and as a result  each performs differently.
The Rush, Werner Vibe, and Kialoa Makai from left to right. Each has a slightly different blade design, and as a result, each performs differently.

Weight


This is where the Rush really shines. At just 1.3 pounds, it's one of the lightest paddles in the review. (The Werner Trance is 1.2 pounds.) As a result, the paddle feels light in your hand. For recreational paddlers, this lightweight might not be noticeable immediately, but it will be felt over the course of a long session on the water.

If you can deal with a little more weight, you can find cheaper paddles that are better suited for relaxing days on the water. (We're looking at the Werner Vibe.) For paddlers who are focused on reducing weight, you might want to splurge and go for the slightly lighter Werner Trance (for about $150 more).

Ease of Adjustment


The Rush features 18 inches of adjustment, which is the longest adjustment range in our review, matched only by the Own The Wave and BPS Alloy paddles. However, unlike paddles like the Werner Vibe, the Rush lacks height measurements for paddlers, which makes adjusting your paddle a breeze. It only features measurement marks for the paddle itself (in inches and centimeters), so you have to know what height works for you.

Although this is a seemingly minor difference, it makes quickly adjusting the paddle between novice users of different heights much more time-consuming. This, combined with the paddle's locking mechanism (which we discuss in detail below), makes the adjustment of this paddle a little slower than other models.

The Rush's locking mechanism.
The Rush's locking mechanism.

Locking Mechanism


The Rush features an Easy Clip adjustment mechanism that is comparable to the Twin Pin mechanism found on the Own the Wave and BPS models. Essentially they all have connection point midshaft with a lever. Simply release the lever to slide the paddle to the desired height before closing it again.

This is a pretty clunky locking mechanism when compared to the handle-based LeverLock found on the Werner paddles. The many moving parts also create play in the locking mechanism, but it works overall.

The Rush might require too much power and precision for most recreational paddlers.
The Rush might require too much power and precision for most recreational paddlers.

Compactibility


A two-piece paddle, the Rush packs down to 38 inches. This is one inch smaller than the iGK Pure Carbon Fiber. For that reason, it scored very well in this metric. It's also available in a 3-piece model.

Best Applications


The NRS Rush is best for those interested in surf SUPing or who enjoy a slower paddle pace that requires power and precision. For those folk, it's a lightweight model that doesn't break the bank. If you're not into causal days on the lake and want something lightweight and packable, this could be a good bet for you.

A look at the Rush  which features 7-degrees of blade offset.
A look at the Rush, which features 7-degrees of blade offset.

Value


The Rush is on the middle-to-high end of our price range. While the paddle is light, it doesn't feature the carbon fiber construction of some of the other paddles in the review. At this price, we think you might be better off with a light and high-performing a model like the Werner Trance 95.

Conclusion


The Rush is a lightweight, compact option meant for power and precision. This works well if you're trying to catch waves but can be overly tiring on flatwater or longer paddles. But, if you like paddling with power and prefer a lightweight set up, this could be a good option.


Shey Kiester