Jan 05

Maliko Race fin & Epic Pro Premium Carbon paddle – a racer’s review

Ever wondered what a new fin and paddle can do for your racing?

UK SUP racer and all-round paddler Paul Riste thought that he had no need to upgrade until he was convinced by UK Champion and Black Project team rider Joanne Hamilton-Vale to try something new. He sent us his review of our MALIKO fin and EPIC PRO 95 PREMIUM CARBON paddle which be bought last summer after his demo.



“2014 was my first year of SUP Racing, taking part in the UK SUP Clubs series. To prepare, I trained through the winter using an old race board and my trusty old carbon paddle that I had owned since taking up SUP with an all-rounder board the previous year. I upgraded my board to a JP All-Water race 12’6 full carbon at the start of the year but kept with my paddle.

As distances increased, I found that my lower back was aching, I was tiring quickly and I had a slow paddle stroke. I was also falling off more than I should in choppy start conditions. At first I put it down to poor technique and fitness, but after a conversation with Joanne Hamilton-Vale, she loaned me her Black Project Epic Pro 95 Premium Carbon paddle with a MEDIUM shaft and a MALIKO Fin for a 26 km race down the Thames river (the furthest I had ever paddled).

What a difference! The paddle was half the weight (just over 400g) and it had flex, not much but enough to take the edge off. My paddle exit was cleaner and my stroke rate faster. I also felt so much more stable, enabling me to reach further forward with the paddle. at the end of the long race I had no back issues. I felt as drained at the end as I did after running the London marathon, so the fitness is still an issue!

After that I was hooked. I invested in both a Maliko Fin and my own Epic Pro paddle. I find the round shaft more comfortable than the oval I was used to, and the texture on the shaft really helps grip with wet hands, without the use of wax (needed on my old smooth shaft paddle). During the race season I have seen a few board manufacturer branded paddles crack, snap or split but the quality of the Black Project is excellent with no issues through some challenging conditions.

I didn’t believe that changing a fin would make so much difference to the feel and stability of a board, but it does. The rake has meant that I have had no weed or tangling issues during races or training, and the stability has given me more confidence to push myself, especially at the start of races. I’ve used both the fin and paddle on flat water lakes, rivers and in the sea all with no issues.

I’m no pro paddler, just an enthusiastic one. I now have two Black Project paddles; one with a palm grip for racing (that is very comfortable in the hand and helps keep the paddle blade positioned correctly), and the other with the T-Grip, (which is my play paddle used for playing in the surf), and it helps move the blade position about. Overall I’m incredibly happy with the Black Project gear, and would recommend it to anyone wanting to upgrade or improve. Spending money on the “engine” of your board is well worth the investment.” Paul (UK)


paul paddling


Thanks to Paul for the feedback, we wish him good luck for his racing in 2015! Have you got a Black Project story for us, if so get in touch!





More to follow…