Tested: Anfibio Fly ultralight paddle

Paddles for packboats

anfibiologo
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In a line: Cheap, light and fully adjustable but may have too much flex for heavier paddlers/ boats or against headwinds

Cost: 99 euro from Anfibio Packrafting Store (supplied free for editorial work)

Weight: 451g (verified); length: 178-210cm, shaft 24mm; blades 34cm x 15.5cm

Where tested: Sardinia sea and lake kayaking; loch packrafting in Scotland

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tik
• Very light
• Inexpensive
• Collapses into 5 parts of 49cm or less
• Single lock clamp to vary length and blade offset
• Telescopes down to 178cm – good for short paddlers or kids
• Would work as an adjustable tarp pole

cros
• Feels flimsy
• Small, 34cm flexy blades
• Thin 24mm shaft diametre
• 210cm is a minimal useful length for chubby packrafts


pad-fly

What they say
Those who pay close attention to boat weight and packability should also make the right choice with the paddle. The Anfibio Fly has a minimum weight of just 460g making it an ideal ultra-light companion. It can be broken down into five segments none longer than 49cm so can be easily stored in any daypack. Despite its minimalist features, the Anfibio Fly is well featured for a wide range of uses.


Review:

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Fly set at 178cm and a big-bladed, 220cm Werner Corryvreken
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Held up and powered by your arms all day, a paddle wants to be light, but it also needs to be rigid so none of that input is lost in power-sapping flex. Combining the two effectively usually means spending hundreds while still compromising a little on durability.
The Anfibio Fly is about as light and compact as a usable paddle gets (a Supai Olo is lighter still). Paddling my packraft downwind I found the 5-piece Fly’s OK,

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but the thin shaft and small, bendy blades lacked the solid feel of a conventional, full-sized paddle. Add my ‘Maori-war-party’ paddling style (as I was told, once), and the Fly’s flex didn’t produce the sort of confident propulsion needed in a principle paddle. Even the much lighter and less energetic g-friend didn’t take to it – though that was in our 17-kilo kayak.
Used back-to-back against my Werner Corrywrecken, I paddled about 15% slower (5kph vs 6kph max). My other Aqua Bound Manta Ray 4-parter (left) may weigh all of 880g, but without spending at least $500 on something like a Werner Ovation (from 460g), this is simply the mass needed to get the job done at a reasonable cost.

A day later I was paddling into a 10-15mph wind with the solid Corry. It was hard on my arms and hard on the paddle; I needed to rest every 10 minutes and progressed at about 1mph. I’m sure I would have damaged the joints and maybe even broken the Anfibio Fly in such conditions, and yet at some stage, you may find yourself having to do paddle like this to get to shore.

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In calm conditions or as a back-up it will be fine and would suit a packrafting trek in a light packraft like an Anfibio Alpha XC where you’re crossing small calm lakes or briefly following benign rivers where you don’t need to power through rapids. The thin-diametre shaft, light weight and length adjustment down to a flex-minimising 178cm would also make the Fly an ideal children’s paddle.

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