Managed my first trip out with the Viking paddle from Valkyrie Craft. Great service from John W who was able to help me with my choice of a cherry blade and generously allowed me to purchase his display paddle.

This is my first paddle purchase and as a relatively new open paddler this can't be an in depth review. That said, I did use a variety of other paddles during the trip to compare it with.

The paddle is a beautiful combination of laminated woods, very pleasing to the eye and worthy of hanging on the wall when not in use. The shaft is on the long side for me but is comfortable to hold and does not seem to flex when paddled (may be I was not trying hard enough against the current). The blade slices smoothly through the water when 'stiring the soup', gives lots of purchase when manoeuvring.

Reactions from other members of the group were also favourable when it was passed round. I was always pleased to get it back after the swap, which is a good sign for many more pleasurable hours using it.

Picture on the SOTP Facebook page, as I have not worked out how to post on here yet.