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Reviews Stärke Flow carbon swim paddles review - Training Kit - Swim

Stärke Flow carbon swim paddles review

Are carbon fibre swim paddles worth the investment? Helen Webster finds out

Stärke Flow carbon swim paddles review
Stärke Flow carbon swim paddles review

Triathletes are used to their top-end kit coming with a carbon fibre option and the accompanying price tag – but these revolutionary hand paddles are the first time we’ve seen it added to swim tools. Stärke are based in Europe and have spent five years researching how to design flexible and ultra-light paddles allowing the elusive ‘feel for the water’ which traditional plastic paddles can dull or eliminate. Three designs are available: the ‘Power’ (£85) for strength training; the ‘Wing’ (£75), a fingertip paddle for newbies looking to develop feel for the water; and the ones tested here, the ‘Flow’, which are designed to improve endurance swimming, perfect for triathletes targeting long-course racing.

Due to lockdown restrictions, we tested these in open-water on a 200m course marked with buoys. As you’d expect with paddles, the larger surface area led to quicker lap times but it was more the performance of these paddles that impressed us. Very light, comfortable and easy to use, they gently encouraged us to adapt a good stroke leading to an easy, flowing rhythm (lose the wrist strap to work more on hand entry). Due to the carbon fibre they had flexibility too, sadly lacking in most paddles, which did enable us to notice where our stroke could be improved as we moved through the water.

The day after testing we noticed fatigue in our lats on our ‘strong’ arm and more in the smaller muscles on our less efficient arm.

Verdict: If you enjoy using swim paddles these are the best – albeit at a steep price, 90%

Buy from Stärke

Profile image of Helen Webster Helen Webster Editor, 220 Triathlon

About

Helen has been 220's Editor since July 2013, when she made the switch from marathons to multisport. She's usually found open-water swimming and has competed in several swimruns as well as the ÖtillÖ World Series. Helen is a qualified Level 2 Open-Water Swim Coach focusing on open-water confidence and runs regular workshops at the South West Maritime Academy near Bristol. She is also an RLSS UK Open Water Lifeguard trainer/assessor.

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