So, has anyone with the newer AI lost a paddle? It would need to be swept out of the clip on the rear aka and from under the elastic retainer on the front aka. Gotta agree, you can buy a damn fine paddle for the price of a Hobie paddle, considering it doesn't usually get much use anyway.
Absolutely, I have. Hobie paddles have curved blades. All it takes is for a wave to cover the blade, and its forced out, gone in a flash. One reason I bought a flat bladed paddle as a replacement. I spent 40 minutes trying to get it, saw it twice, but I had an outgoing tide, and strong wind. I fitted the mirage drive, but just could not find it after the second sighting. But I need to warn folks, that its possible to break a strut brace at the same time as losing a paddle. What happens is the paddle is driven blade down, six foot, and that's pretty near an immovable object when the aka tries to sail over it. I found that testing my paddle leash.
And I don't know about $25. The cheapest I could get was about AUS$70. And its showing signs of corrosion.
The leash I am using cost me $5 at a clearance. It's a body board leash, and its no inconvenience at all. Clips to the cross brace behind me. Never even bothered me. The "wrist velcro" I wrap around the paddle shaft.
The conditions under which you could lose a paddle are such that you will likely need it then, and you won't likely be able to get back to it. I had to further furl the sail to effect a gibe, because the AI would not go down wind with the full power on the sail. I had to stop and fit the Mirage Drive. Too much time. Then I had to peddle into a 20 kt wind, although with the tide.