The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Werner Vibe Review

The Vibe is a great all-around paddle that moves water well and is easy to manage.
werner vibe
Best Buy Award
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $170 List | $170.00 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Cuts cleanly through water, durable blade
Cons:  Heavy, looks like a toy
Manufacturer:   Werner
By Megan Ferney and Shey Kiester  ⋅  Oct 18, 2019
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
85
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 14
  • Performance - 30% 9
  • Weight - 20% 6
  • Ease of Adjustment - 20% 10
  • Locking Mechanism - 20% 10
  • Aesthetics - 10% 6

Our Verdict

The Vibe established itself as a front-runner early in testing. The paddle offers some of the best performance of any of the paddles tested with a high-functioning blade design. With 16 inches of adjustability, the paddle was easy to modify when switching between multiple users of varying heights. Plus, the Vibe's LeverLock mechanism offers efficient adjustability. Thanks to this model's smooth performance, easy adjustability, and a superior locking mechanism, this is an excellent SUP paddle at a reasonable price point.


Compare to Similar Products

 
werner vibe
This Product
Werner Vibe
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award 
Price $170.00 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$270 List$364.00 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$151.96 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$198.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
100
0
85
100
0
92
100
0
92
100
0
84
100
0
84
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Cuts cleanly through water, durable bladeGreat paddling performance, lightweight, compact for travelingLightweight, easy to adjust, high performanceEasy and sturdy adjustment, lightweight, high performanceLightweight, strong, easy on the body to use
Cons Heavy, looks like a toySlight paddle flutterPricey, blade can flutterSmaller adjustment rangeThe handle allows excellent grip but can become uncomfortable
Bottom Line The Vibe is a great all-around paddle that moves water well and is easy to manage.If you need a travel paddle and don’t want to sacrifice paddling performance, the Lock and Load is the right choiceThe Trance is a breath of fresh air, with good performance and an unbelievably lightweight construction.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 Werner Vibe Hala Travel Lock & Load Werner Trance 95 Performance Aqua-Bound Challenge 85 KIALOA Insanity
Performance (30%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
Weight (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
6
Ease Of Adjustment (20%)
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
10
Locking Mechanism (20%)
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
10
Aesthetics (10%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
Specs Werner Vibe Hala Travel Lock &... Werner Trance 95... Aqua-Bound... KIALOA Insanity
Paddle Weight 1.7 lbs 1.125 lbs 1.2 lbs 1.3 lbs 1.56 lbs
Blade Design Dihedral Dihedral Dihedral Dihedral Dihedral
Blade Shape Rectangular Teardrop Rectangular Rectangular Teardrop
Offset 10 degrees 10 degrees 10 degrees 10 degrees 10 degrees
Blade Material Injection molded fiberglass Polycarbonate Carbon epX engineered polymer reinforced with carbon Fiberglass fibrlite
Blade Dimensions 100 sq in Unavailible 95 sq in 85 sq in 83 sq in
Shaft Material Fiberglass Carbon Carbon Carbon Durable fiberglass
Adjustablility (inches) 16" 16" 8" 10.5" 16"
Length Range (inches) 68" - 84" 62"-78" 70" - 78" | 74" - 82" | 80" - 88" 70" - 80" 70"-86"
Number of Pieces 3-piece (available in 1, 2, or 3) 3-piece 1-piece (available in 1, 2, or 3) 2-piece 1-piece (avaliable in 1 or 3)
Compact Size 34.5" 41" NA 66" NA
Warranty 1 year 3 years 1 year 2 years 1 year
Comes with cover No No No No No
Locking Mechanism Handle LeverLock Handle LeverLock Handle LeverLock "Performance" Snap Button Handle LeverLock

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


The Vibe is a high performing paddle that testers set aside often due to its hefty weight.
The Vibe is a high performing paddle that testers set aside often due to its hefty weight.

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. While it does have some flashy new features — like a sweet locking mechanism and a solid paddle 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 paddles. However, we couldn't have been more wrong and were thoroughly disproved upon the first paddle stroke. The Vibe immediately proved its mettle, earning a very high score in this metric and claiming one of the top spots overall.


The Vibe is an excellent all-around paddle, providing both power and maneuverability when on your board. The Vibe features a blade with 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 Vibe's blade.

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 shape paddle blade. Together, these make for a great catch and an exceptionally stable power stroke when pulling the Vibe 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. The Vibe regularly outperformed other paddles, but because it feels significantly heavier, just barely missed the top spot.

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.
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. 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.

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.


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.

Even a great paddle like the Vibe can't overcome the lure of a lighter weight option.
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. 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.

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.

The LeverLock locking system of the Vibe.
The LeverLock locking system of the Vibe.

Locking Mechanism


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. It's convenient and very easy to use, making on-the-water adjustments a breeze. 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. We also like that there isn't a ton of force required to raise or lower the LeverLock lever. 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.

We tested the one-piece Vibe.
We tested the one-piece Vibe.

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.


It lacks the ultra-modern look and feel of the or 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.

The Vibe features 10 degrees of offset and an Injection molded fiberglass construction.
The Vibe features 10 degrees of offset and an Injection molded fiberglass construction.

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, the Vibe 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.

While the Vibe might not look like much  it is one of the best paddles we have tested to date.
While the Vibe might not look like much, it is one of the best paddles we have tested to date.

Conclusion


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.


Megan Ferney and Shey Kiester