This is my first high end paddle; I've always bought cheap paddles that last a season or two before needing extensive work or a match. The Espresso is light, strong, comfortable, and the finish is almost bullet-proof. I've used it for hundreds of miles for multi-day trips on lakes and rivers, and some very skinny water. I wax it before a trip and then clean and re-wax after and it looks brand new. It enters and exits water quietly and is beautiful to boot.