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Author Topic: Merlin Ghost  (Read 30079 times)
cjl8651
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« on: September 16, 2008, 12:01:00 AM »

Thinking about getting a Merlin Ghost.  Made in Australia, and weighing in at 270g, it's quite tempting to get it.  I'm just a little concerned about its durability.  Has anyone purchased it, or knows of anyone who has?  What are your thoughts on the paddle?
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"This might be our Commander-in-Chief's navy, but this is my boat. And all I ask is that you keep up with me. And if you can't, that strange sensation you'll be feeling in the seat of your pants will be my boot in your as$."
paddleboy
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« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2008, 09:56:20 AM »

 the problem with lightweight paddles can be wind making it harder to handle
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 2006 CCWC , 2007 D/B World's (AUSTRALIA)2009 D/B World's (PRAGUE) ,2011 D/B World's (Florida)
NoTouchingSasha
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« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2008, 11:24:52 AM »

Don't forget the instability during the stroke with light paddles.  You'll need a ton of top arm drive!
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cjl8651
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« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2008, 11:14:11 PM »

Yeah, the whole top arm drive is another issue to be reckoned with.
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"This might be our Commander-in-Chief's navy, but this is my boat. And all I ask is that you keep up with me. And if you can't, that strange sensation you'll be feeling in the seat of your pants will be my boot in your as$."
rightarm
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« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2008, 10:34:40 AM »

Interesting point about the top arm drive... I'm a ZRE owner which I believe is slightly heavier than the merlin but obviously on the lighter end of the DB paddle spectrum, I hadn't really considered that idea before... and to be honest i've never really noticed a difference in that in comparison to the rare occasions when i've used a wood paddle (though I was probably more focussed on the slow burn in my shoulders from the extra weight!) or even a "heavier" burn water paddle (take that "heavier" with a grain of salt, cuz it ain't that much heavier!)

I will however second paddleboy's comment about the wind.  Both trips I've made to San Fran, paddling into those insane winds in the afternoon, I've found the ZRE tricky to handle with the wind, almost feeling like the lack of weight and its inflexibility led to the wind forcing my paddle backwards, and me having to work a lot harder to get it forwards.  I suppose if I practiced and raced in those conditions more often I'd either get used to it or adjust accordingly but I think in general the inflexible carbon fibre paddlers will suffer in that condition and if they're very lightweight that probably makes it much more noticeable.

I remember seeing the merlin this season at a festival, I believe it was alcan, and the distributor had one opened up so you could see its construction and materials... it does look like an impressive product and they've probably benefitted form other manufacturers early mistakes, but time will tell.  It would be interesting to hear from anyone who has owned one for a season (or longer) and their experiences
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Wet spot
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« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2008, 01:43:56 PM »

Can't comment on the "Ghost" as I am not familiar with it but some years ago I converted from a wood Grey Owl  to an extendable carbon Apex, which was about the best paddle around at the time.

The difference in performance between the 2 paddles was enormous, and all in favour of the lighter Apex...however I did have to make some accommodations:

1. less entry effort (top-hand drive included) required for the Apex because it had less mass, it was less bouyant and its blade was thinner ...all this meant less resistance on entry.  However, by maintaining the same level of entry effort I found a quicker entry and the downward motion of the blade easier to stop as I transitioned into a catch;
2. surface area of the paddles was the same so theortetically wind and water resistance forces on them were the same.  However, the Apex was inherently less stable because of its lower mass, particularly during recovery in the wind and in choppy water...this meant slightly more stablizing effort with the lower hand during recovery in the wind and a much stronger lower hand grip in the waves.
3. All parts of the stroke, except the draw, were faster and tended to drive the stroke rate up...it took a while to become proficient at the higher ratio of propulsion to non-propulsion time in the stroke, particularly when paddling at a racing rate.
4. In training, particularly in steady-state drills, I found I preferred the heavier paddles simply because they gave me more of a workout.

In general, in part because of the high-efficiency, lower-mass, lighter paddles i think we are seeing increasingly higher stroke rates which in the past would have been considered almost "over-rate"....this high-rate paddling capability is key to accelerating during starts and for speed bursts and finishes, especially on the light-weight BUK boats which respond well.

Regarding getting a really light paddle - in my case the benefits far outweighed negatives regardless of effort in wind and waves and the new paddle also met the other important criteria (cost, IDBF conformity, rigid shaft, slim blade profile, durability etc. etc. and feel). 

However if I was converting from one carbon paddle to another carbon paddle, it is a case of diminishing returns in the high end paddles and questionable whether cost would be offest by a measureable improvement in performance (having a large bank account or wanting a new paddle as a fashion statement not withstanding).
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Flint
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« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2008, 05:14:23 PM »

I just bought myself a ZRE carbon fibre paddle before Kelowna.  No experience with the Merlin.

Things that I noticed in the transition between my wood paddle and the carbon fibre

I found that it required a lot less effort for the entire stoke.  I think my paddling gloves weigh more wet than my paddle.

Wind is a factor...as described in the above post, the larger mass of the wood paddle seems better in high wind. 

Waves...not too much of a factor.  We paddled in some rough stuff in Kelowna, and I didn't have any problem punching through the wakes of the speed boats driving by.

There is a big difference in stiffness of the paddle.  There is little or no flex with the carbon fibre paddle, which I noticed in my shoulder of my lower arm for the first while of using it.

Overall I am happy with the switch to carbon fibre and am very happy with my ZRE paddle.
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Lethal Weapon
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« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2008, 06:04:06 PM »

one word....BURNWATER (is it one word?)
they have the new 1 piece carbon blade which I am going to test paddle shortly
Its lighter than my last Burnwater (last year, the new matte black one) so I am anxious to give it a try
I never used the Merlin but to handle it at Alcan but was not over impressed but it was light
Different strokes for different folks!
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Swordfish
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« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2008, 09:36:33 PM »

Burnwater's the next one for me.  Discovered after I bought the Chinook that oval shafts are more comfy.

And the solution for top arm drive and rotation is to find a coach that doesn't do either!
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LittleSchrodinger
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« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2008, 09:54:16 PM »

Personally the wind issue is noticeable when you're going against it, and that's with my 2006 Burnwater. I don't find tailwind to be much of an issue (pretty much most of Kelowna races were in tailwind), but you know weather will be a lovely female dog anyway. Beside, that'd also depend on the teammates' ability to not hit your paddle if you're concerned about its durability. But if you're getting the paddle solely for the races, I don't see it being enough of an improvement over Apex.

Hijacking the topic abit: What did BW do with their new paddle compared to the older ones?
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NFW
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« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2008, 10:29:20 PM »

Once you go black, u never go back? LOL

they have the new 1 piece carbon blade which I am going to test paddle shortly

I talked to the Apex rep over at Kelowna, and they made it seem that the current Apex is the newest 1 piece blade...and it feels exactly the same as the older Apex build (2006-2007) imho.

My paddle is the Trivium S12 and its lighter than Burn Water and Apex substantially, but not as light as the Merlin and I found that the wind/waves has never been much of a factor, its just something that you'd adjust/compensate for.

Trivium FTW lol
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Lethal Weapon
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« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2008, 11:00:12 PM »

Quote
And the solution for top arm drive and rotation is to find a coach that doesn't do either!
WOW!
I gotta meet this guy!
 Laughing
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LittleSchrodinger
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« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2008, 11:22:53 PM »

Quote
And the solution for top arm drive and rotation is to find a coach that doesn't do either!
WOW!
I gotta meet this guy!
 Laughing


I had a guy like that for high school team. <_< It's pretty relaxed.
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cjl8651
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« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2008, 01:58:30 AM »

I started out with a Chinook Diablo, and have switched to an Apex Accelerator.  Currently I have that "lighter is better" mentality.  With the Merlin Ghost at 270g it seems to be the lightest paddle out there.  Does anyone know of any paddle(s) that may be lighter than that?
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elim
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« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2008, 09:41:44 PM »

I've always felt that a paddle doesn't make the paddler.  I feel that it's far more important for me as a paddler to work hard to develop good technique and build a solid understanding of the stroke mechanics.  A paddle is a tool that helps me get my job done, but it doesn't make me a strong paddler, even though it may be the lightest paddle available on the market.
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