Werner Paddles: Zen 95 Review by Jeremy Cass

Global Partner

Werner Paddles recently released its Zen series of stand up paddles with a new adjustable lever-lock system.  The largest blade in the series, the Zen 95, was sent to Stand Up Journal’s headquarters in Maine for review.

Billed for it’s versatile use, the Zen paddle was tested in frigid winter North East surf and Maine’s whitewater rivers.

Zen Paddle Review Jeremy Cass Werner river
Jeremy Cass, a river surfer, reports the Zen 95 holds up in the white water, able to sustain rock strikes with minimal damage and performs well.

The Zen 95, by Werner Paddles

Upon taking the Zen 95 out of the box, one can immediately see and feel the Zen’s clean lines and solid build quality throughout the whole paddle.

On river, the lever-lock system was rock solid and easy to adjust even when using large neoprene gloves.  While paddling the rapids, there was no noticeable play in the extension system, and the t-grip offers a ton of control for bracing and maneuvering through powerful currents. Cross strokes are smooth and in control when crossing eddy-lines on river.

Werner Paddles Zen 95 adjustable
The adjustable shaft on the Zen allows riders to tighten up or lengthen their stroke according to sport and terrain, from flat water paddling to river surfing.

Werner’s Zen: durability & strength

The paddle held up well to a couple of rock-strikes with only aesthetic scratches. It was even used as a support-staff to climb steep and slippery riverbanks with no issues.

Zen Paddle Werner Paddles Jeremy Cass
The angle of the Zen’s blade and feather light construction allows for smooth transfers of the paddle from side to side while surfing.

Zen adjustability makes for smooth transition

In the waves, adjusting the length of the paddle by using the measurement markers allowed for an easy transition from a large inflatable river board to high performance sup surfing where a shorter paddle is ideal for balance and acceleration.  The paddle shaft is marked in centimeters for length as well as to a person’s height, i.e. 5’10”.

Werner Paddles Jeremy Cass Zen Paddle
The adjustable power of the Zen Paddle is measured in both centimeters and by height making for easy transfer of length according to each paddler’s needs.

Zen shines in the surf

The Zen shines during maneuvering strokes, feathering and cross-strokes. The blade enters and exits the water without flutter or ‘catching’, and really feels like an extension of the body connecting paddler to the water.  The blade’s mellow concave does not trip on the wave-face and transitions effortlessly for cutbacks.

The Zen feels one with the water and really frees your intuition into the next move. In other words, it’s really fluid and fun.

Werner Paddles Zen Paddle Jeremy Cass
Sliding down the wave face, Werner’s Zen had purchase and fluidity, not catching on the water’s surface but creating leverage needed in turns.

Zen 95 = a larger blade for paddlers

Although the larger of the blade sizes were tested, the paddle was short on power, which required some planning when ferrying across big river features and timing entry into waves.  The medium flex on the shaft is easy on the body and shoulders.  Size and flex will work for a variety of body shapes and sizes.

Zen Paddle Werner Paddles Jeremy Cass
Zen colors include: Abyss/blue, Coral/pink and Caribbean/green. A full rainbow of stoke!

Zen line up has full spectrum of color

Additionally, the new colors are fantastic!  Plus, the paddle is backed by Werner’s legendary reputation for durability.  If you only surf or run whitewater and need an adjustable paddle, Werner offers more specific blade and lay-up options with its new lever-lock system.

Ultimately, the Zen 95 will work for almost any paddler and enhances playful movement in all kinds of water.

–Written by, Jeremy Cass

Jeremy Cass Zen Paddle Werner Paddles
Jeremy Cass, another “Maine-iac” who surfs, sups and lives year-round in coastal Maine.

Jeremy Cass is a standup paddleboard athlete from Maine. His paddling career spans all disciplines and includes worldwide surfing, elite level whitewater kayaking and first descents and sea-kayak expeditions. Currently, he searches out the biggest whitewater and best waves on sup. He is a team rider for Starboard North America and an all-around waterman.  During the work week, he runs a small counseling center for youth-at-risk just across the street from Standup Journal’s Headquarters in coastal Maine.

About the author

Evelyn O'Doherty is a standup paddle racer, surfer and yoga teacher from the East End of Long Island in New York. Her passion for watersports drew her to leave a teaching career to pursue her athletic endeavors as a sup instructor, racing coach, sup racer, and now, as online editor for Standup Journal. Evelyn lives in East Hampton NY in the Springs area where she has daily access to the water to train and teach. When the swell is working, you can find her in Montauk rattling around in her Ford Ranger surfboards hanging out the back headed for points East.

Please Support Our Sponsors

Advertise with the best

Harness the Power of the Largest Combined Standup Paddling Audience on the Planet!