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Hands-on Gear Review
Werner Trance 95 Performance Review
Bottom line: The Trance is a breath of fresh air, with unmatched performance and an unbelievably lightweight construction.
Blade Material: Carbon with a foam core
Blade Dimensions: 95 sq in
Manufacturer: Werner Trance
Almost immediately upon beginning our testing, the Werner Trance 95 Performance established itself as a top performer. After hours of trials and comparison, we compiled our stats, and this model came out decisively on top, and our team had little choice but to award it the Editors' Choice honor. The lightest paddle in our test, it features both a carbon shaft and carbon paddle. With a long rectangular blade shape, this model sliced through the water despite choppy conditions and turbulent waves. Testers appreciated the adjustment system, which was superior to any other adjustment system in our test.
This model does feature a somewhat controversial construction, as carbon is known to be slightly less durable than fiberglass and significantly less flexible than aluminum. For a model with a higher level of durability and with similar performance, consider the KIALOA Insanity. If you're after a highly durable model, we recommend our Best Buy award-winning BPS Alloy.
RELATED REVIEW: The 7 Best Adjustable SUP Paddles
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Werner Trance was a favorite among our testers, with many commenting that this paddle was the easiest to maneuver with and the most enjoyable for long paddles around the lake. This model features the lightest construction, weighing in at just 1.2 pounds, which was .3 pound lighter than the next lightest model. Also boosting this model's score was its enhanced adjustability mechanism. Although it lacked the measurements marks that models like the Super Paddle product boasted, this model still proves easier to adjust. Overall, this product was our favorite in the test fleet, and it certainly earned its spot as the Editors' Choice award-winner.
Ease of Adjustment
With three different means of adjustment represented in our test, paddles were broken into three realms of adjustment. The highest performing of these three was, not surprisingly, the Performance adjustment models. Both the Werner and Aqua-Bound models featured this adjustment method. The paddles feature a series of six adjustment holes that a stainless steel button slips into. This process is simple, intuitive, and provides enough adjustment for varying users and situations.
Between the Werner and Aqua-Bound models, the Werner product was superior thanks to its lower-profile adjustment button. This button was as easy to depress as the Aqua-Bound's, but it was much more low-profile, and since these buttons are located on the paddle's handle, they are sometimes located directly beneath the user's hand. We discuss this more in the Locking Mechanism section.
For products that have intuitive and easy adjustability, check out the Own the Wave and BPS models.
At of all our scoring metrics, this proved to be the Achilles' Heel of the Trance. However, it still received a respectable 8 out of 10 points in this metric. This model features 8 inches of adjustment, which means that at its most compact, it can easily fit into most cars. However, if you plan to travel with your SUP setup, you should consider a paddle that is focused more on compactibility. Two models in our review, the IGK and Super Paddle products, are fully compactable, which means they break into three pieces and come with a carrying case. This allows these products to easily be checked onto an airplane.
It is important to keep in mind that if compactibility is not an important metric to you, you should not by a highly compactable paddle. Although these paddles make getting from Point A to Point B easier, they also have more parts and can be more prone to breaking.
The Trance features a Performance locking mechanism. This system features six holes along the handle of the paddle. A stainless steel pin locks into the holes and can be depressed, allowing the handle to be elongated or compacted.
Of all the paddles in our test fleet, the Trance's locking mechanism was the most intuitive, the easiest to use, and the least intrusive when paddling. The Aqua-Bound paddle also features this system, but the two products differ in the construction of their steel pin. The pin of the Trance is extremely low profile, and it is tapered at the edges, which makes it barely noticeable when paddling with it underneath your hand. The Aqua-Bound, however, features a pin that is slightly higher profile. Although this is not a huge deal, some testers found that it was frustrating to paddle with the pin beneath their hand. The Trance's low-profile pin also makes it easier for you to quickly slide your hand along the shaft when switching paddling hands.
The Trance paddle had incredibly high performance. A carbon fiber shaft and paddle allow this product to be incredibly lightweight, which allows users to slice through the water with little effort. Additionally, during long paddles, this model's weight was not an issue. With a long, rectangular blade design, this model shed water incredibly well, allowing users to maneuver easily. This blade is also easier on the user's body, as it allows you to quickly push through the water.
Several of the paddles in this review had noticeably lower performance than the Trance. The Super Paddle and Own the Wave models, while cheaper, have noticeable flutter when paddling. This causes premature tiring for the paddler and can make maneuvering your craft harder. The Trance had no noticeable flutter.
A carbon shaft and blade ensured that the Trance was the lightest paddle in our review. Other paddles with this construction are the Aqua-Bound, which features a polymer-reinforced blade and weighs .55 pound more than the Trance and the IGK, which weighs .3 pound more than the trance. Reviewers consistently commented that the Trance felt incredibly light in the hand, which made paddling easier and more enjoyable.
This is a high-performance paddle made for serious users. With a high price tag and enhanced performance, this is a paddle for someone who engages in SUP more than once in a blue moon. If you are an occasional user or someone who isn't focused on performance, this is not the paddle for you. However, if you want the most from your setup and you expect to paddle many days a year, it might make sense for you to drop a little bit of extra dough and get this suped-up paddle. This model is probably not the right choice for river paddlers, as it would suck to lose such an expensive piece of equipment to the rapids.
The Trance is the most expensive paddle in our review, at $349. However, for the price, this paddle delivers a high-quality experience. A one-year warranty backs the product from manufacturer defects. If you're a serious SUPer than this might be the product for you.
The Werner Trance was an instant tester favorite, with a thoughtful construction and high-quality components. This is a product that is built for serious users who demand high performance and quick maneuverability. Lightweight and agile, this paddle pilots crafts through all kinds of water with ease.
— Shey Kiester
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