Fara paddle review by Dimitri Vandepoele

Posted on Wednesday 8th November, 2023

Some of you have been paying attention to details and noticed that I've been paddling something different the past year. It’s about time to tell you what it was all about! I've been with VE since the early days when Stu Morris, founder of VE, developed the top notch VE Explorers. I’ve been using these for years now, both splits and one piece paddles. A few years ago, VE was acquired by Palm Equipment and have been quietly working away to improve on VE paddles.

About a year ago they asked me to do some testing under the radar with some prototypes. I felt excited and sad because I didn't want to see changes to my beloved Explorer, but I did want to see improvement.

I received two split paddles without a name or model, just a VE logo on only one side of the blade and that was it. Not completely finished but ready for testing. The first thing I noticed was the difference in weight compared to my Explorer paddles. Second thing was the difference in weight between the two prototypes. That was odd, they looked exactly the same and they were the same length and blade size. VE's engineer Grant had heard I was doing a lot of big water surfing and rescue training drills and waned us to push those two prototypes to their limits. In fact, they were more than happy for me to break them – then at least they knew what could be improved. I certainly had my reservations, as always when it comes to lighter equipment, and I planned on abusing them as much as possible.

So now I had two nameless prototypes in my possession. To the point, I have used these two prototypes, both split paddles, for surfing big waves, rock gardening, a bit of tide race paddling during our trips abroad and most of all: rescue training! Most paddles break during surfing or rescues. So that is the thing I did the most. Surfing doesn’t need a lot of explanation, but rescue? Well, we did a lot of self-rescues of all kinds with them. The most important ones being those which involve a paddle-float, which also requires us to put a lot of body weight and stress onto the paddle, and ferrule. We even used it as a lever during scoop rescues. We’ve been about a year further now, and the two prototype paddles haven't broken. The only thing I didn’t do was drive over them with my car. VE was a bit mysterious when it came to the exact composition of these, but with reason as it proved to be a good mix between being reliable, stiff and light. 

Having given feedback, I have since recevied a finished version of those paddles. By now, I have used and tested the finished version in a shorter notice of time but with the same results. A stiff, reliable paddle with reduced weight and real eye-candy due to the Aircore shape in the blades. This means that I can still do the same things with it, but much longer, without getting tired as the weight is reduced even more.

I proudly hold and use the brand new VE Paddles Fara Aircore.


Dimitri Vandepoele