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Werner Trance 95 Performance Review

The Trance is a breath of fresh air, with good performance and an unbelievably lightweight construction.
Werner Trance 95 Performance
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $360 List | $364.00 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, easy to adjust, high performance
Cons:  Pricey
Manufacturer:   Werner Trance
By Shey Kiester ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 26, 2018
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91
OVERALL
SCORE


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

The Skinny

Almost immediately upon beginning our testing, the Werner Trance 95 Performance established itself as a top performer. As a result, it's been a long-standing OutdoorGearLab favorite and our Editors' Choice in this review. The Trance is the lightest paddle in our test, featuring both a carbon shaft and carbon paddle. With a long rectangular blade shape, this model pulled smoothly and efficiently through the water. It also features a pleasant and straightforward adjustment system.

Product Updated Since Testing
The Trance 95 has a new adjustment mechanism. Find out more below.

Carbon is slightly less durable than fiberglass and significantly less flexible than aluminum. For a model with a more durable paddle with similar performance, consider the fiberglass Werner Vibe. It offers nearly top-notch performance at a lower price than the Trance. The Trance is pricey, but if you're looking for a high performing paddle, it might just be worth it.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

New LeverLock Versus the Old Performance Adjustment


Since we tested it, the Trance 95 now comes with the same sleek LeverLock adjustment system that we appreciated on the new Werner Vibe, as shown below. Now you can simply flip up a lever in the paddle's handle to extend or contract the shaft. While the old performance, snap button, system on the shaft worked well, this update is an improvement to our favorite paddle.

We love the LeverLock adjustment system on the Werner Trance and Vibe and the KIALOA Makai.
We love the LeverLock adjustment system on the Werner Trance and Vibe and the KIALOA Makai.

Previous Performance Comparison


The Trance was a favorite among most testers, with many commenting that this paddle was the most maneuverable and the most enjoyable for long paddles around the lake. This model features very lightweight construction, weighing in at just 1.2 pounds. It's also effortless to adjust.

Out for a paddle on the Airis  powered by the Werner Trance.
Out for a paddle on the Airis, powered by the Werner Trance.

Performance


The Trance paddle offers incredibly high performance. A carbon fiber shaft and blade allow this product to be incredibly lightweight, which allows users to slice through the water with little effort. During long paddles, this model's weight was not an issue. With a long, rectangular blade shape, this model sheds water incredibly well, allowing users to maneuver easily. This blade is also easier on the user's body, as it allows you to push through the water quickly.


Several of the paddles in this review had noticeably lower performance than the Trance. The Super Paddle and Own the Wave models, while cheaper, have noticeable flutter when paddling. This causes premature tiring for the paddler and can make maneuvering your craft harder. The Trance had no noticeable flutter.

The Werner's blade
The Werner's blade

Ease of Adjustment


There are four types of paddle adjustment represented in our test group. The highest performing of these was the LeverLock method found on the Trance, Vibe and Kialoa Makai. Simply flip a smooth panel on the handle up, and adjust.


The Aqua-Bound model features the Performance method, which also works well. The previous version of the Trance also used this method. The Performance method features a series of six adjustment holes that capture a retractable stainless steel button. This process is simple, intuitive, and provides enough adjustment for varying users and situations.

The Trance's grip  which was comfortable and efficient.
The Trance's grip, which was comfortable and efficient.

Compactibility


Of all our scoring metrics, this proved to be the Trance's Achilles' Heel, though it still received a respectable score. This model features 8 inches of adjustment, which means that at its most compact, it can easily fit into most cars. However, if you plan to travel with your SUP setup, you should consider a paddle that is more compactable.

Two models in our review, the IGK and Super Paddle products, are fully compactable, which means they break into three pieces and come with a carrying case. This allows you to check these products onto an airplane quickly. The Trance does come in a 3-piece model, which we did not test.


It is important to keep in mind that if the ability to pack down is not relevant to you, you should not buy a highly compactable paddle. Although these paddles make getting from Point A to Point B easier, they also have more parts to lose, can have play in the shaft, and can be less durable.

Locking Mechanism


The Trance now has a LeverLock system in its handle that allows the paddle to lengthen or shorten with the flip of a lever. It's a simple, low-profile system and our favorite in the test.


Previously, the paddle featured a Performance locking mechanism with six holes along the handle of the paddle and a stainless steel button that locked into the holes.

Performance adjustment systems. The Aqua-Bound paddle is the top one in the photo.
Performance adjustment systems. The Aqua-Bound paddle is the top one in the photo.

Weight


A carbon shaft and blade ensured that the Trance was the lightest paddle in our review. Other paddles with this construction are the Aqua-Bound, which features a polymer-reinforced blade and weighs 0.55 pounds more than the Trance. Reviewers consistently commented that the Trance felt incredibly light in hand, which made paddling easier and more enjoyable.


Best Applications


This is a high-performance paddle made for serious users. With a high price tag and enhanced performance, this is a paddle for someone who engages in SUP more than once in a blue moon. If you are an occasional user or someone who isn't focused on performance, this is not the paddle for you.

However, if you want the most from your setup and you expect to paddle many days a year, it might make sense for you to drop a little extra dough and get this suped-up paddle. This model is probably not the right choice for river paddlers. It would be a major bummer to lose such an expensive piece of equipment to the rapids.

The BPS and Werner paddles in action.
The BPS and Werner paddles in action.

Value


The Trance is the most expensive paddle in our review. However, for the price, this paddle delivers a high-quality experience. A one-year warranty backs the product from manufacturer defects. If you're a serious SUPer, this might be the product for you.

Conclusion


The Trance was an instant tester favorite, with thoughtful construction and high-quality components. This is a product that is built for serious users who demand high performance and quick maneuverability. Lightweight and agile, this paddle pilots crafts through the water with ease.


Shey Kiester