Katana is a new product of a relatively new Slovenian paddle brand Ophion. Ophion innovations and quality set a high standard and produce an ultimate paddle quality. Designed and rigorously tasted by international team members, make this paddle a paddling pleasure. Saša Rejec stands behind this words and makes the innovations real!
I got an opportunity to use Katana carbon with straight fiberglass shaft turned for 45° on the latest expedition to Chile and Argentina, to do some no mercy testing. Katana is designed for river running and creeking. It is strong and durable and at the same time offers great stability and comfort of use; this is why I love it. It has great balance and smooth catch from the start till end. For me quick power distribution from the start is very important for precise and dynamic strokes.
I have done at least 35 class 5 rivers with no significant signs of damage and great feeling of safety. Ophion is not a big company and it hasn’t got long tradition, but let the products speak for them self!
text: Andrej Bijuklič
Next to a never ending debate about which kayak is better and why, kayakers prefer to argue about their paddles. Years of participating in such disputes have led me to believe that we’re mostly all just a bunch of “wise-guys”, that will rather say complete nonsense, than admit that we don’t understand exactly what we’re talking about. Opinions about what length, blade size, shape, material and paddling technique is the best can vary a lot – if not completely. Being a smart ass myself, I will say that the fact is that different things work for different users.
For example, for me one of the worst paddles I have ever owned is one of the most praised ones in the world: Werner Stikine bent-shaft. I loved the shape of the blade but I bought a bent-shaft instead of straight shaft, which I had tested before. That bent-shaft completely clashed with my paddling technique and I just couldn’t get used to it. Most people adore it and I couldn’t stand it. On the other hand, the last paddle I had used before Katana had shorten on the blades for almost 10 cm in one year, without me even noticing – talking about what length is the best for you. The point is, if the paddle works for you, if you’re comfortable paddling it and if you can forget about it when you paddle, then it is a great paddle for you.
So here’s my take on Katana. I manage to forget completely about the paddle and worry only about my lines when I paddle it. It took me only a few minutes to get used to it. And just because of that I find it great already.
If you have to know it, I am 174 cm tall and I have been using a 201 cm long Katana for the last year (ok, it is 200 cm long now). I am not without preferences about paddles, but in years of testing, I still can’t decide whether bigger blades have advantage over smaller, neither can I tell which blade shape is better just by looking at it. I paddle Katana (which is medium sized) and what is most important to me is that the blades are stable in the water and that they don’t twist. That’s a check for Katana. What has become my preference is a flexible and small diameter shaft. That is why I chose to take a Fiberglass straight shaft. In my experience this flexible shaft can take bigger hits, because it can flex and it doesn’t crack on the impact as the stiffer material might. It also feels easier on the joints.
But the truth is that I don’t have any real proof of it as I can only paddle one paddle at a time and can’t compare its performance to any other paddle directly. What’s important is that I love paddling my Katana. I used an old Ophion design in the past and I could never get 100% used to that one. Whether it’s its looks or performance, I don’t have any second thoughts about Katana, which is why I intend to use it in future as well. Great job Ophion!
And if you’re reading this review to decide whether you should buy Ophion or not, take this advice: Try it first and see if it works for you!