Meeting Ophion’s master Saša (Ophion Catana review)

 

To make my words sound little more like from the movies I invite you to listen a nice little song Kiss with a fist form Florence and the machine while reading http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SmxVCM39j4.

I believe it will go smoother.

w

Ok let’s start now, first time I came across Ophion paddles was few years ago in my friends Kayak and Bike shop Positive sport in Kobarid Soča valley. They were looking all right but I didn’t know who makes them, at that time Ophion was still very unknown. Eventually all the paddles were made under a sharp eye of local master super close to famous Soča valley.  I got the feeling that a patriot should support a local master.

And then after some time I was preparing for a bigger kayaking trip to South America and I needed a proper paddle. That time I was using Ty Warp’s fire 1 version. Truly nice paddle, but safer to put it on the wall, because a bit sharper look might break it on seven pieces. Sorry to Ty warp company but this is the cruel reality. For a kayaker this is dangerous stuff. You want a gear you can rely on and not just look good, also if this is super essential for a metro kayaker who likes to update his Facebook page with brand new shinny photo from the “scout” he did last summer. So this was not an option. I needed something else.

People around me were suggesting me paddles with the same name as one Slovenian infamous singer who likes to take photos of himself at the seaside wearing his white speedo’s (budgie smugglers or banana hemic). WTF. Can you imagine how dangerous it is when paddling very dangerous rapid where you have to be super focused on your line, and then picture of David Backham wanna be flashes in your mind. This is also dangerous and discounting. I again definitely needed something else.

And then one day on Paddle expo I met local master Saša Rejc. Also if we lived 5 minutes away from each other we both drove for 400 km to meet. Blaž from Positive sport introduced us and soon the thoughts about local patriot came on surface again. I didn’t know the paddles well but I heard some good tells so I decided to give Ophion a chance.

Later I visited master Saša Rejec, a super kind and always happy man, the one man in his big white-water story. Man of lots of skills, lots of knowledge, lots of experiences on many different fields. Before we came to paddles, he lighted one cigarette and showed me around his great workshop. This was extraordinary, like a laboratory, many machines which I didn’t know what are they for. Eventually I figured out that all of the machines are his invention. He put some parts of the tools for completely different purpose together and made a machine to serve him. He laughed and said about one tool once: “Look at this! That used to be a truck suspension”! WTF! More, the paddles are not all he makes, basically he can make anything you want, from the carbon to the same material your imagination is. To me he is like Steve Jobs in white-water industry. And that time I knew I made the right choice. Ofcourse I would trust a man who is able to build a rocket to make me one paddle.

Explaining me all the options I have with paddles was putting me in big dilemma. You can basically choose anything you want. From full fibber glass to full carbon. Any length you want, any angle you want, any shape of shaft you want. You can also choose flexibility, just anything. You feel like World Rally Championship rookie driver in the boxes when you have to order your team how to tune your car, but as a rookie you have no farkin idea. I decided I would take Catana full carbon, 45 degree angle and 200cm long straight shaft. I like light and rigid paddle, medium angle and just long enough.

First time I went on the river I feel in love with it. I do not know all the statistics and all the theories why it is good, it just feels awesome. I was feeling more stable as ever before, ready to paddle anything (that’s a lie), my strokes were super strong as well as boofs, it was way easier to keep my boat in wanted line. For me just super size and shape of blades nice and rigid carbon strait shaft made my super choice. I was and still am the happiest man on the planet. My long seeking for the right paddle journey had come to the end. I was ready for the real “scouts”.

After 4 years of using the paddle I am even more satisfied with it. And what is more, master Saša bought a new machine, which can make any design your majesty wants. So now the paddles are not just reliable, they can even look good. So metros, your photos from your “scouts” were looking even better now. Go for it.

As a good friend of mine Andraž Krpič, who is now serving his duty on the land of sasquatch, were explaining in his blog about paddles once that arguing about which paddle is good and which paddle is bad is complete nonsense. We are about 7 billion people on the earth, and so 7 billion best paddles. And I can assure you all, that master Saša has a custom made paddle for you, definitely.

On this place all I can do is to thank to master Saša for having trust in us and most to be creating this magnificent kayaking tools.

K