The Vibe is a high performing paddle that testers set aside often due to its hefty weight.
While the Vibe has some flashy new features, like a sweet locking mechanism and a solid paddle design, our reviewers were initially skeptical of its performance capabilities. However, on almost the first paddle stroke, the Vibe proved its mettle, which is reflected by its high score in this metric.
This paddle features a rectangular shape with a hybrid dihedral/scoop profile and 10 degrees of offset. The result is outstanding performance on the paddle's entry, catch, and a more stable paddle stroke. The paddle allows for a more gentle catch and smooth pull through the water.
The Vibe's blade.
The dihedral shaping, which helps water shed to either side of the paddle as you pull it through the water, is more pronounced on the Vibe than in paddles like the more expensive Werner Trance. It also has a scoop in its profile. The combination resulted in a more stable forward pull. Where the Trance would start fluttering with more powerful strokes, the Vibe stayed straight and steady in the water. The Vibe regularly outperformed other paddles, but because it feels significantly heavier, was not chosen as a favorite.
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.
The lever-locking mechanism featured on this paddle played into the overall performance. Because this mechanism so low profile, it 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.
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 (the Werner Trance is 1.2 pounds). It doesn't sound like much, but it takes a toll during a long paddle.
This weight difference comes with a big price difference. The Trance is about $200 more, 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.
Even a great paddle like the Vibe can't overcome the lure of a lighter weight option.
Ease of Adjustment
The Vibe features 16 inches of adjustability, which is about average among the paddles reviewed. However, while it lacks an extra two inches found in models like the NRS Rush or BPS Adjustable Alloy, our reviewers found that 16 inches were plenty of wiggle room to allow for adjustments between paddlers of varying heights.
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 the helpful measurement marks and a superior locking mechanism (which we discuss in detail below), the Vibe was 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.
The LeverLock locking system of the Vibe.
As soon as our testers took the Vibe out of its packaging, there were oohs and ahhs over its locking mechanism. The Vibe's LeverLock mechanism is the simplest option and our favorite. The device features a lever that pulls 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.
Paddles like the iGK feature a system that, confusingly, is also called LeverLock, or Family Adjustable. However, these systems required screwdriver tightening out of the box. And, thanks to their many moving parts, they aren't as intuitive as the Vibe's system. Additionally, the Vibe presented much less play in the locking mechanism than other models like the iGK.
We tested the one-piece Vibe.
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.
It lacks the ultra-modern look and feel of the Trance, the cool graphics of the Insanity, and the craftsmanship of the Balance. 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.
The Vibe features 10 degrees of offset and an Injection molded fiberglass construction.
The Vibe is available in three configurations, a one-piece, two-piece or three-piece model. Although the three-piece offering is a bit more expensive than the one-piece (about $60), it had the lowest compact profile of any of the models tested at just 34.5 inches. If you're looking for an option that can travel with you whether you're cruising on a moped, hiking into the backcountry, or flying overseas, this might be the choice for you.
While models like the iGK Pure Carbon Fiber are a little less adjustable at 39 inches, it comes with a carrying case. For some users, this might be overkill, but if you're looking for something that you can easily pack up and take with you on the go, these other options might be the right choice.
The Vibe is a high-performing paddle that is a little heftier than carbon options like the Werner Trance or iGK Pure Carbon. However, for the recreational paddler, who doesn't need the very highest level of performance, it is a wise choice.
The Vibe's 10-degree offset is optimal for recreational paddling, while lending high performance.
Prices range from around $115-$170 depending on whether you select the one, two, or three-piece option. No matter which you choose, the Vibe is on the middle-lower end of the price range seen in our review. However, the performance packed into this paddle makes it an excellent value. Although there are cheaper options (like our other Best Buy, the Bullet Proof Surf Alloy), its performance pales in comparison to the Vibe.
The Vibe 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 than 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.