Werner Paddles recently released its Zen series of stand up paddles with a new adjustable lever-lock system. The largest blade in the series, the Zen 95, was sent to Stand Up Journal’s headquarters in Maine for review.
Billed for it’s versatile use, the Zen paddle was tested in frigid winter North East surf and Maine’s whitewater rivers.
The Zen 95, by Werner Paddles
Upon taking the Zen 95 out of the box, one can immediately see and feel the Zen’s clean lines and solid build quality throughout the whole paddle.
On river, the lever-lock system was rock solid and easy to adjust even when using large neoprene gloves. While paddling the rapids, there was no noticeable play in the extension system, and the t-grip offers a ton of control for bracing and maneuvering through powerful currents. Cross strokes are smooth and in control when crossing eddy-lines on river.
Werner’s Zen: durability & strength
The paddle held up well to a couple of rock-strikes with only aesthetic scratches. It was even used as a support-staff to climb steep and slippery riverbanks with no issues.
Zen adjustability makes for smooth transition
In the waves, adjusting the length of the paddle by using the measurement markers allowed for an easy transition from a large inflatable river board to high performance sup surfing where a shorter paddle is ideal for balance and acceleration. The paddle shaft is marked in centimeters for length as well as to a person’s height, i.e. 5’10”.
Zen shines in the surf
The Zen shines during maneuvering strokes, feathering and cross-strokes. The blade enters and exits the water without flutter or ‘catching’, and really feels like an extension of the body connecting paddler to the water. The blade’s mellow concave does not trip on the wave-face and transitions effortlessly for cutbacks.
The Zen feels one with the water and really frees your intuition into the next move. In other words, it’s really fluid and fun.
Zen 95 = a larger blade for paddlers
Although the larger of the blade sizes were tested, the paddle was short on power, which required some planning when ferrying across big river features and timing entry into waves. The medium flex on the shaft is easy on the body and shoulders. Size and flex will work for a variety of body shapes and sizes.
Zen line up has full spectrum of color
Additionally, the new colors are fantastic! Plus, the paddle is backed by Werner’s legendary reputation for durability. If you only surf or run whitewater and need an adjustable paddle, Werner offers more specific blade and lay-up options with its new lever-lock system.
Ultimately, the Zen 95 will work for almost any paddler and enhances playful movement in all kinds of water.
–Written by, Jeremy Cass
Jeremy Cass is a standup paddleboard athlete from Maine. His paddling career spans all disciplines and includes worldwide surfing, elite level whitewater kayaking and first descents and sea-kayak expeditions. Currently, he searches out the biggest whitewater and best waves on sup. He is a team rider for Starboard North America and an all-around waterman. During the work week, he runs a small counseling center for youth-at-risk just across the street from Standup Journal’s Headquarters in coastal Maine.