Last winter Chuck Patterson asked Dave Chun of Kialoa to make him a new race paddle. The new Toro is that paddle. It has a teardrop outline, like that of a Tahitian outrigger blade and a subtle, yet grippy hook on the end of the blade. There is also a spine that acts as a slight dihedral down the back (power face) of the blade. The shaft has been stiffened to transfer more power into the blade. And it is light!
I have been racing with this paddle since May, and I love it. I was dubious at first, because the blade is bigger than I usually use. For the last 3 years, my primary race paddle has been the Methane. But for some reason that I can't explain, the Toro does not work me over like other bigger blades. (It is slightly larger than the Shaka Pu'u.) To me it feels somewhere between the Methane and the Shaka.
The 'hook' on the blade rewards good paddle technique but will kick your butt if your technique falls apart. Straight bladed paddles allow you to pull the blade past your feet (which you should not be doing) but the Toro hangs up in the water and is hard to exit if you pull too far past your foot. However, upon the 'catch phase' the hook grabs and holds tenaciously. Very little slippage or flutter.
So now my Methane & Shaka Puu paddles have become my surf/downwind paddles and the Toro is the new weapon of choice for racing. Thanks Kialoa!