This summer I had the opportunity to work with students from the CalPolytechnic State University's Orfalea College of Business. Under the guidance of department chair Dr. Lynn Metcalf, a group of seven students spent an entire semester gathering research for Angle Oar, helping us better understand what paddlers, rental shops and retail stores are looking for in today’s kayak paddle. They sponsored a comprehensive survey with our Facebook Fans, conducted interviews and researched industry trends.
Not surprisingly, they found strong interest in our paddle from kayak anglers, with 48% of research participants indicating their primary reason for kayaking was to fish. One respondent summed up the chief benefit of the Angle Oar for anglers, stating, “It will eliminate the storing process of the paddle and is ready to go when needed.”
We get it. If there’s one thing that can suck the fun out of fishing from a kayak, it’s the constant repositioning of the paddle. If it’s on your lap, it limits your ability to easily reach for your line, net or drink, and it’s a balancing act to reel in that big one and not have the paddle end up in the water.
Another research respondent replied, “The most difficult part (of kayak angling) is finding a spot to secure my paddle.” Sure, you can secure it to the kayak with a bungee, but then you have to interrupt the flow of fishing every few minutes to detach and reattach the paddle, even to make the slightest adjustment in your location.
A paddle leash can definitely help, but then you have to deal with your line or other kayak accessories getting tangled in the leash itself. And a leash still doesn’t solve the problem of where to place the paddle when you’re not using it. If it does happen to fall in the water, then you get a nice wet lap for your troubles.
As we get closer to the public launch of the Angle Oar, we think we’ve got a real game-changer for our fellow anglers. Our paddle rests upon a post that is secured into a base mount that is attached to the coaming of the kayak, so when it’s time to cast or change your lure, all you have to do is “let go” of the paddle. It stays in place, out of the water and out of the way of your other gear. If you need to re-position your kayak, you can do so – even while holding on to your rod. Heck, you can even paddle with one hand to troll and still have one hand free to fish. (Check out this short video clip for a demo.)
If you were one of the hundreds of people who contributed to this research, thank you! And thanks, especially, to Willie Blades, Caroline Dozier, Dylan Gonsalves, Dominic Lendino, Emily Newman, Will Rhodes and Danni Sjolander, the CalPoly students who worked on this project. They did an outstanding job!