Playak's First Impressions: Seven2 Axiom 2006.
Seven2 just introduced the 2006 version of its Axiom whitewater paddle. Here are Playak's first impressions.
- Length: 194 cm
- Offset: 30°
- Weight: approx. 1030g (36oz, confirming the manufactures specs on weight)
- Material: carbon fiber composite
- The Axiom represents the ultimate whitewater design and bombproof materials and construction.
- Ergonomically correct grips relieve forearm fatigue and maintain correct hand to blade powerface orientation.
- Reduced diameter shaft creates a performance enhancing flex pattern.
- Foam core blades surface quicker for more leverage and power.
The Seven2 Axiom paddle is advertised as a whitewater paddle. Due to drought and cold however, Playak could not yet test the paddle in its natural habitat and we were bound to tests on urban paddling trips.
The overall impression we got is that the Seven2 Axiom has an amazing feel. The Axiom promotes a smooth stroke, provides good control, is nice to roll and has an ergonomic design. I got to admit, the design looks pretty sexy with its soft lines and its uncommon color combination silver / blue.
The Axiom has a medium sized blade. The blade feels well balanced, facilitates a smooth stroke and provides good control in several situations.
Seven2 advertises that its ergonomically correct grips relieve forearm fatigue and maintain correct hand to blade powerface orientation. The grip actually is in an angle to the shaft axis, very similar to a bent-shaft paddle. Indeed, I regularly experience problems with my wrist, which was significantly less the case with this paddle. The material provides good grip. The grip fits my hand size well and seems suitable for various hand sizes. Furthermore, the grip shape helps to intuitively figure out how the blade is oriented.
The position of the grips (66cms width) force me to hold this paddle narrower than I am used to my paddle (btw it's available with 61 cms grip width as well). After getting used to it, this position worked fine for me too. The slightly closer grip position facilitates the blade to completely submerge into the water, to be, in combination with the buoyant stiffener of the blade, exactly were it should be for a smooth stroke.
Compared to other composite paddles, the Axiom has a pretty small shaft diameter with tons of flex. The high flex gets most obvious when hitting a rock but the impact felt by the paddler is less severe as with stiffer paddles. The advertised performance enhancing flex pattern because of the reduced diameter shaft... well, at the end of the day it only counts that the paddle definitely has a good feel.
I couldn't think of many things I didn't like about this paddle. Well, scratches on the blade are better visible than on blades of dark carbon composite paddle because of the contrast between the silver and the carbon composite underneath it.
A carefully designed paddle worth having a look at to see if it fits your paddle style.
Attention: If you live in the UK, you'll also be able to buy Seven2 paddles at the Birmingham NEC 2006 (March 17-19). Steve Fisher will be at the Seven2 booth as well, so that may be another reason to visit the NEC :-)