Braca IV and Braca XI

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7 years 9 months ago #26584 by photofr
Many years ago, I used Braca as my go-to paddle. When it became difficult to find, I changed over to other brands. About 3 months ago, I went back to Braca – and I am so happy with this decision.

I’ll be the first one to admit that choosing the “right” Braca paddle isn’t an easy task. Unfortunately, I can’t really give you too many specifics, so instead, I will give you feedback from my personal experience, as well as couple of feedback from others who have tried my paddles.

My starting point was simple: Braca IV (4) for the shape of the blade, SMIN for blade size, and 202-212 Braca surfski shaft. The reason for choosing this blade shape was nothing more than: it was and has been one of the most popular Braca model to date.

It took some getting used to this blade at first (had to slow down my paddling) to really get a good feel for it. In essence, the blade felt very powerful, and the catch was far more “positive” than I had been used to for several years. I immediately noticed that my stroke was too long (as usual) – so I went and corrected that as quickly as possible. It felt better and better, and I apparently was getting more speed out of the new blade. Long distances felt good. I also noticed that I was getting less water splashing than other paddles. That’s just bonus.

Overall, the Braca IV is loved my many of my paddling friends. I just liked it a lot, until I tried the Braca XI (11).

This new paddle turns out to be my calling. Here the setup: Braca XI for the blade shape, SMIN for blade size, and 202-212 Braca surfski shaft (yes, identical to the Braca IV, except for the blade shape). Granted, everyone’s different and no two people paddle the same way. For me, the Braca XI is my favorite, and here’s why:

I liked the Braca IV a lot, but I loved the Braca XI. The Braca XI has a VERY positive catch; it’s ideal when you want to accelerate in a hurry to get on that run. It’s also ideal upwind when paddling shorter strokes. It’s the ideal paddle (for me). It also happens to muffle my mistakes a little more than other paddles.

We all know that our technique deteriorates when we paddle in rough open water, and the Braca XI seems to be very forgiving in that respect, but never feels like Jello. I basically get my fastest accelerations with the XI, and I can paddle “forever” with it. As a bonus, bracing with the XI feels more positive than with the IV. It’s basically an improvement in every respect, at least for me.

The adjustable paddle shaft is nice, but does couple of things we may have forgotten. On the positive side of things, it’s adjustable. On the negative: an adjustable shaft is stiffer. Since I am a strong believer that you don’t want to break your shoulders apart, I always try to go with a stiff blade and a softer shaft. I would feel better with a single piece shaft.

The new surfski shaft is really nice. I’d love to see it and try it in a single piece – but in the meantime, I won’t be changing paddles for a while: super happy with the Braca XI setup.

In summary, I find the Braca XI to be more user-friendly. Without a doubt, it's a faster paddle blade for me, and doesn't break me.

Because paddles are so personal, I highly recommend that you give the XI a go and compare it with your current setup. If you are like me, you will ultimately get more acceleration, more overall speed, less fatigue, and way more overall comfort with its forgiveness.

(Brittany, France)
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kayaker Greg, kvort, Bodsy, Atlas, Loris, Pereira

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6 years 11 months ago #28873 by Loris
Replied by Loris on topic Braca IV and Braca XI
It sounds good. I'm interesting in Bracsa XI too but I never had occasion to paddle with it . Just to put your impression i a right perspective can I ask you your weght and your expected time on 10000 meters?

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