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Werner Vibe Review

The Vibe has a unique shape that functions as a solid all-around paddle that moves water well
werner vibe sup paddle review
werner vibe
Credit: werner
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $178 List
Pros:  Cuts cleanly through water, durable blade
Cons:  Heavy, looks like a toy, flutters under water
Manufacturer:   Werner
By Megan Ferney, Shey Kiester & Jenay Aiksnoras  ⋅  Oct 26, 2022
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 14
  • Performance - 30% 8.0
  • Weight - 20% 5.0
  • Ease of Adjustment - 20% 8.0
  • Locking Mechanism - 20% 10.0
  • Aesthetics - 10% 4.0

Our Verdict

The Werner Vibe initially might look a little different to those familiar with the traditional shape and design of most modern SUP Paddles. However, we found that the significant curve of the paddle offers some of the best performance of any tested with a high-functioning blade design. The shaft has 16 inches of adjustability and is easy to modify when switching between multiple users of varying heights, although it does not get as short as other paddles. The Vibe's LeverLock mechanism offers efficient adjustability. Thanks to this model's smooth performance, easy adjustability, and superior locking mechanism, this is an excellent SUP paddle at a reasonable price point.

Editor's Note: We updated this review on October 26, 2022, to re-test the Vibe paddle against some new competitors to our review lineup.

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werner vibe sup paddle review
This Product
Werner Vibe
Awards Best Buy Award   Best Buy Award  
Price $178 List$199 List
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$166.28 at Amazon
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$65 List
$59.99 at Amazon
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Pros Cuts cleanly through water, durable bladeEasy to adjust, sleek, great paddle performanceEasy and sturdy adjustment, lightweight, high performanceInexpensive, large adjustment range, durable nylon bladeInexpensive, easy to transport
Cons Heavy, looks like a toy, flutters under waterHandle more prone to hotspotsSmaller adjustment rangeHeavy, top grip feels cheap, shaft bends during power strokeSo-so performance, looks cheap
Bottom Line The Vibe has a unique shape that functions as a solid all-around paddle that moves water wellThis top-tier SUP paddle is designed with female paddlers in mind, offering easy adjustability and excellent paddling performanceThe Aqua-Bound Challenge has a a high-performance paddle for serious paddlersAn affordable and highly adjustable paddle that will stand up to multiple users and rough usageThis paddle is one of the least expensive options but performed commensurate to its price tag
Rating Categories Werner Vibe Kialoa Tiare Fiberg... Aqua-Bound Challeng... Barrel Point Surf A... SUPply Co 3-Piece P...
Performance (30%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
5.0
Weight (20%)
5.0
7.0
9.0
4.0
3.0
Ease of Adjustment (20%)
8.0
10.0
8.0
5.0
5.0
Locking Mechanism (20%)
10.0
10.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
Aesthetics (10%)
4.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
5.0
Specs Werner Vibe Kialoa Tiare Fiberg... Aqua-Bound Challeng... Barrel Point Surf A... SUPply Co 3-Piece P...
Paddle Weight 1.9 lbs 1.5 lbs 1.3 lbs 2.2 lbs 2.1 lbs
Number of Pieces 2-Piece 2-piece 2-piece 2-piece 3-piece
Shaft Material Fiberglass Fiberglass Carbon Aluminum Aluminum
Length Range 68 in - 84 in 66 in - 82 in 70 in - 80 in 65 in - 83 in 67 - 85 in
Shaft Adjustablility 16 in 16 in 10.5 in 18 in 18 in
Blade Material Fiberglass reinforced injected molded nylon Fiberglass Fibrlite epX engineered polymer reinforced with carbon Nylon composite Nylon
Blade Dimensions 100 sq in 80 sq in 85 sq in 95 sq in Not listed
Blade Shape Teardrop Teardrop Rectangular Teardrop Teardrop
Blade Design Dihedral Dihedral Dihedral Dihedral Concave/Flat
Offset 10 degrees 10 degrees 10 degrees 10.5 degrees Not listed
Compact Size 34.5 in 66 in 66 in 65 in N/A
Includes Cover No No No Yes No
Locking Mechanism Handle LeverLock Handle LeverLock "Performance" Snap Button "TwinPin" Collar Clamp Dual-Pin Collar Clamp

Our Analysis and Test Results

While not the lightest or highest-performing paddle in our lineup, the Werner Vibe offers solid all-around performance at a reasonable price.

Performance Comparison


werner vibe sup paddle review - the werner vibe might not look impressive, but it performs...
The Werner Vibe might not look impressive, but it performs incredibly well.
Credit: Jenay Aiksnoras

Performance


Out of the box, we will admit that we didn't have the highest hopes for this paddle. While Werner is quite the respected name when it comes to paddles, the Vibe strongly resembles the type of paddle that you would find included with a cheap inflatable raft. The shape is reminiscent of a kayak paddle. While it does have some flashy new features — like a sweet locking mechanism and a solid blade design — our reviewers were initially very skeptical of its performance capabilities, doubting that it could hold its own against some of the other top candidates. There was a bit of a learning curve when it came to using this paddle, but it ultimately proved its mettle, earning a high score in this metric and claiming one of the top spots overall.


The Vibe is a solid all-around paddle, providing both power and maneuverability when on your board. It features a blade with a rectangular shape and a hybrid dihedral/scoop profile and 10 degrees of offset. The result allows for smooth performance on the paddle's entry, the catch. The paddle allows for a more gentle catch and smooth pull through the water. Those familiar with the traditional teardrop shape may find that this paddle initially flutters. It may take some practice to become familiar with how this design moves through the water.

werner vibe sup paddle review - the vibe provides both power and maneuverability on the water
The Vibe provides both power and maneuverability on the water
Credit: Jenay Aiksnoras

The dihedral shaping, which helps water evenly shed to either side of the paddle as you pull it through the water, is very pronounced on the Vibe. It also has a scoop-shaped paddle blade. Together, these make for a great catch and an exceptionally stable power stroke when pulling the paddle through the water, even at maximum power. Where other paddles would start fluttering with more powerful strokes, the Vibe stayed straight and steady in the water. It regularly outperformed other paddles but missed out on higher scores because it feels significantly heavier.

werner vibe sup paddle review - here you can see the yellow vibe's unique scooped and dihedral shape...
Here you can see the yellow Vibe's unique scooped and dihedral shape as compared to (from left to right) the Kialoa Insanity, Werner Trance, and Bending Branches Balance.
Credit: Megan Ferney

The lever-locking mechanism featured on this paddle plays into the overall performance. This mechanism has a very low profile that significantly reduces fumbling when switching your paddle stroke. The Vibe's locking mechanism allows it to have versatile adjustability while its profile resembles that of a non-adjustable paddle. This system does sacrifice comfort in the handle. The shape is less bulbous and more round compared to those with traditional locking mechanisms. The major benefit of the lever-locking system is that the top shaft feels solid. Unlike other paddles, this one felt stable and solid while in use.

Weight


Its heft is where the Vibe falls short. At 1.7 pounds, it is a half-pound heavier than the ultralight models in our review. It doesn't sound like much, but it takes a toll during a long paddle. Much of this weight is in the shaft rather than the paddle.


This weight difference comes with a big price difference, depending on the models you choose. We found that this paddle does not feel super heavy when in hand, and it might be worth the little bit of extra weight for its low price and high performance.

werner vibe sup paddle review - the weight of your paddle can effect your stroke resulting in...
The weight of your paddle can effect your stroke resulting in quicker fatigue.
Credit: Jenay Aiksnoras

Ease of Adjustment


The Vibe features 16 inches of adjustability, which is about average among the paddles reviewed. Our reviewers found that 16 inches provided a reasonable amount of wiggle room to allow for adjustments between paddlers of varying heights. One of our testers is under 5 feet tall and was unable to get the paddle short enough to feel confident using it.


The Vibe features marks for both the height of the paddler and the paddle measurement itself, a feature not present on all models in our review. This makes figuring out your ideal paddle size much easier. With helpful measurement marks and a superior locking mechanism (which we discuss in detail below), the Vibe is one of the easiest paddles to adjust. This makes it ideal for use between multiple paddlers of different heights, or when you're transitioning from one area of water sports to another. We did find that most of our testers added 2 to 4 inches to their marked height on the paddle for comfortable recreational paddling.

We never once had any issues fine-tuning the length of this paddle while we were on the water, even in the windiest and waviest conditions imaginable.

werner vibe sup paddle review - the leverlock locking system of the vibe.
The LeverLock locking system of the Vibe.
Credit: Megan Ferney

Locking Mechanism


The Vibe features a mechanism that is not commonly used. The LeverLock system is the simplest option and a favorite. It's convenient and very easy to use particularly when making on-the-water adjustments. Built into the handle is a small lever that is lifted upward. When in the up position the shaft of the paddle easily slides up and down. There are very few moving parts associated with the mechanism, which our testers found to be a huge benefit. We also like that there isn't a ton of force required to raise or lower the LeverLock lever. You can feel the spring drawing the paddle shorter, so two hands are required to secure the length in place. Other mechanisms took so much force to engage or disengage that they can almost cause you to lose your balance, particularly when the water is a little rough.


Other paddles also feature a system that, confusingly, is also called LeverLock, or Family Adjustable. However, these systems required a screwdriver to adjust the holding pressure. They aren't as intuitive as the Vibe's system and can be a pain to adjust while you are out on the water, especially if conditions are a little rough.

werner vibe sup paddle review - the lever lock results in a less ergonomic handle shape, but...
The lever lock results in a less ergonomic handle shape, but increase ease of adjusting while on the move.
Credit: Jenay Aiksnoras

Aesthetics


The Vibe has a low rating in this category, as beauty is not its strong point. It is a basic paddle with a black handle and a yellow blade. At first glance, it resembles a toy. It reminded one tester of the paddles that come with inflatable rafts for kids. As we mentioned before, the shape is unique and testers noted that it is more like a kayak paddle than a traditional SUP.


It lacks the ultra-modern look and feel, and the cool graphics prevalent on other top paddles. However, its looks don't deter from its value as it's a high-quality paddle with a modern locking system and great performance. If beauty and weight are deal-breakers, this might not be the paddle for you.

werner vibe sup paddle review - the lack of modern graphics and a familiar style shouldn't deter you...
The lack of modern graphics and a familiar style shouldn't deter you from considering the Werner Vibe.
Credit: Jenay Aiksnoras

Value


Prices for this paddle differ depending on whether you select the one, two, or three-piece option. No matter which you choose, the Vibe is on the middle to lower end of the price range of the different paddles we have tested. Overall, it is a phenomenal value option and is a paddle that we would recommend to anyone shopping on a budget. It isn't the most stylish or lightest paddle but holds its own against top-tier products when it comes to paddling performance, all while retailing for a fraction of the price. It is still a bit more expensive than the bare-bones paddles, so it probably isn't the best choice if you are shopping on the tightest of budgets, but it is a great option for the budget-conscious paddler who is willing to invest a bit for a whole lot of performance.

werner vibe sup paddle review - while the vibe might not look like much, it is one of the best...
While the Vibe might not look like much, it is one of the best paddles we have tested to date.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Conclusion


Once you've adjusted to the style of the Vibe you'll find that it offers impressive performance for an introductory price point with a gentle catch and steady forward pull. Adjusting the paddle is simple and easy, thanks to a locking mechanism that is our favorite in the review. While it is a little bit heavier and not as pretty as other options, the three-piece version is the most compactable option in our review. If you're looking for a recreational paddle with high-performance points, we think this is a good pick.

Megan Ferney, Shey Kiester & Jenay Aiksnoras
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