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Video: Simon Coward

Hey there, Simon here from AQ Outdoors. Today, I'm excited to share my initial impressions of the new Werner Stealth and Werner Covert whitewater paddles. This is our first thoughts review, so it's the first time I've had them in my hands. I'm really looking forward to getting these both on the water.

Though both these models have the same core design elements, they vary in size to cater to different paddling styles. The Stealth has a large blade for powerful strokes, while the Covert features a smaller blade for precision and a lighter feel. Like with other models in Werner's whitewater line up, both paddles come in a Bent Shaft model and a Straight Shaft model.

In a nutshell, these paddles are designed for paddling fast--definitely falling more into a "racing" bracket than anywhere else. They offer a unique combination of a foam core with a carbon laminate, enhancing strength, durability, and stroke efficiency. Prominent paddler Dane Jackson had heavily influence in the design of these paddles and has dubbed it a "one-and-done" paddle -- suggesting it could be your new quiver killer. But, without further ado, let's get into the specifics.

Design and Build

The Stealth is the large blade model, while the Covert is the smaller blade version. Both paddles share the same core design but cater to different paddler preferences. When I first laid eyes on these paddles, I noticed they look quite different from Werner's previous offerings. The most notable change is the combination of materials used in the blade construction.

Material Composition

These paddles feature a combination of a foam core in the middle, laminated with carbon on the outside. This design makes the paddle nice and thin, which I believe will contribute to a smooth and effortless feathering and slicing through the water. The foam core adds strength and durability, which is essential for demanding whitewater conditions.

Blade Structure

Another standout feature is the typical ridge that Werner builds into their blades, enhancing overall strength. The blade is very narrow where it joins the shaft, which I think will be great for nice vertical paddle strokes. This design minimizes the lower volume that might otherwise bash against the side of your boat.

Performance Expectations

Despite the narrow blade-to-shaft connection, the Stealth's blade volume is substantial and extends all the way to the tip. This design should perform well in shallow water river environments, providing ample power for both forward and backward strokes. The blade’s offset forward design gives a more powerful catch, a feature I’ve come to appreciate over the years. This design element is present in other popular paddles like the Surge, Stealth, Odachi, and Galasport paddles, all of which deliver a powerful catch.

Feel and Durability

In my hands, these paddles feel quite different from traditional Werner paddles like the Shogun. This might take some getting used to for those accustomed to Werner’s older designs. My only remaining concern is how durable these new paddles will be. They might not match the durability of a composite fiberglass paddle from Werner, but I'm hopeful they'll be as strong as the Shogun or Double Diamond models.

Final Thoughts

That's it for my initial thoughts on the Werner Stealth and Covert whitewater paddles. I’m eager to see how they perform on the water and will provide a more detailed review after some rigorous testing. If you have any questions or insights, we'd love to here them.AQ Outdoors.