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I have a fairly short torso so I cannot tighten the waist straps effectively. The chest strap, at least on me, is sufficient to keep it in place so that is not a deal breaker. The neck area is a little high, I have to keep my chin up and look where I am going. That said, it does lie flat against my chest and it does not rub anywhere as long as I keep my chin up a little. If NRS were to lower the front top about 1 1/2 inches and shorten the entire torso about 2 inches this would quite possibly be a 10.
I will review again after some more use.
I paddle a WS Tsunami 125 or a WS Tarpon 120 and have never had an issue with either my shoulder or my wrist since I bought the Athena. Not even when we wound up going against the wind current and the tide in a fairly tight river. It may not be the paddle for everyone, but it you have wrist/shoulder issues consider it. Even if your paddle costs twice as much as your boat, you will get more pleasure from your boat because of the good paddle.
It is minimalist, 6 straps. You have to pull it over your head to put it on. It will work for men or women, I am a 56 year old woman. It is light, comfortable, and it did not make me break out. Neither did it ride up so that I had PFD in my chin.
The drawbacks so far! I need to play with the shoulder strap adjustment. The shoulders did rub my neck a little, not badly. After the first use, the front did "pinch" my chest somewhat so I have to figure out how to get it a little lower. That would be the difference between an 8 and a 10.
The ventilation is superb under it, NO HIVES. I still get a little heat rash from it, but I do not get hives. It sits really well on me in my Tsunami, I also have used it on a SOT twice. Fit is good and it stays in place in the water too. The fact that I still get a rash keeps if from rating a perfect 10, but it really is close.