The Premier Rogue Bent from Accent is a very powerful, highly durable whitewater paddle for those looking for more power on the river/creek while reducing shoulder and joint fatigue. How is the user experience of the Accent Premier Rogue Bent whitewater paddle (MSRP $340)? Well, first things first, I have general criteria that any whitewater paddle must have.
Kyle’s Whitewater Paddle Criteria
- Durable: I live in the southeast, and our rocks seem to punish paddles.
- Ease of use: I prefer a paddle designed to reduce paddler fatigue.
- Powerful: When I make a move, I usually need to make it quickly.
Kyle’s take on the Accent Premier Rogue Bent
Locations used: Cartecay River (GA), Chattooga River (GA/SC), Cheoah River (NC), Ocoee River (TN), Pigeon Gorge (TN), Saluda River (SC), Tuckasegee River (NC), West Fork of the Tuckasegee River (NC)
My first experiences with the Accent Premier Rogue started at one of the locations where I first learned to kayak, the Chattooga River. This wild river is a perfect environment for trying out new gear. My day on the river was focused on teaching and demonstrating the fundamentals: paddle strokes, boat control, surfing, and more. Each teaching topic helped me to become better acquainted with the paddle. The large blade surface area, the asymmetrical blade shape, the natural bent shaft, and the weight distribution of the paddle.
The power achieved by the blade surface area is incredible! …especially for a paddle that is so lightweight. I had been using a Werner Powerhouse for the past few years, and the Accent Rogue brings even more power than that (whoa!). When paddling with the Accent Rogue on my favorite rivers in the southeast, I was able to accelerate quickly, make the small adjustments necessary for tight creeking lines, and plant big boof strokes (I like to play with rocks). Whether it was a high(ish) volume river like the Cheoah, or something a bit more shallow like the West Fork, I was able to engage the paddle blade in high shaft angle and low shaft angle maneuvers. In the southeast, we don’t always have enough water to engage the full blade, but I was able to get the amount I needed to make my lines. A tip for this paddle: be sure to power up the paddle by rotating your torso through the stroke. Rotating through the stroked helped me to utilize all that surface area without adding stress to my joints.
The asymmetrical blade shape and natural bent shaft improved my paddling technique throughout the day, especially in the later hours of the day (and especially with end-of-day trips across a lake) when my body tired and form slipped. The blade cut through the water during the initiation of a stroke, generated significant propulsion during the power phase, again cut through the water upon being removed, and was ready for another stroke. The natural bent shaft supplemented this by reducing strain on my wrist and shoulder joints, especially during rudders and draw strokes. The shaft design features a subtle bend and placed the center of my grip slightly in front of the paddle blades, leading to much less wrist and shoulder discomfort. By the next day, I was ready to go for another full-on day of whitewater adventure, and I owe a lot of that to the design of the Accent Rogue.
Even the weight distribution of the paddle appeared to be designed for reducing strain on my joints, but it took a little while for me to come to this conclusion. I held the paddle in a variety of ways with minimum grip, and it would always rotate to a position with the power face of the paddle blades facing down. Initially, I thought this was a problem with the design, and that I should just return to the paddles that I had been using previously. But I thought more on it, and I paddled more with it. This was designed with intent. I was using less wrist rotation during my strokes and especially with my bracing. Ah ha!
The Accent Rogue is durable! Durability may not be important to other whitewater paddlers, but for paddlers in the southeast U.S., it is essential that a paddle be capable of withstanding significant punishment from rocks and low volume flows. I have only had this paddle for a short while, so I still have a ways to go in understanding its long-term durability, but by the looks of it after weekends of playing with rocks at the Chattooga, the tri-axial weave fiberglass is holding up like a champ! I’ll keep reporting back on my experiences with it, as I continue to travel to as many kayaking destinations as possible in 2014, including a trip to Chile at the end of this year.
Okay, okay. I have not provided many negatives about the paddle. One area of concern I have for this paddle is the slickness of the bent shaft surface. The bent shaft features a different surface than the straight shaft paddles, due to a difference in a paddle construction. In my experiences with the paddle thus far, I have not had any issues with the surface, my hands stay where they are. I do plan to experiment with adding minicell foam to the center of my grip and wrapping it with grip tape. I’ll report back with my findings.
All things considered, I recommend the Accent Premier Rogue Bent for those looking for more power on the river/creek while reducing shoulder and joint fatigue. This has been a good all-around paddle for creeking and playboating. I am currently playing with the play-specific Accent Premier Fluid Straight Shaft, so keep on the lookout for that review.
Photos and words by Kyle Thomas