Ophion Paddles, Slovenia Visit Jan 2010

I have been working with Ophion for near on 2 years now. This came about because Aaron from Squarerock asked me if I would like to test a few prototype paddles and after many different configurations and plenty of hours of testing I made the decision which ones were the best. This was very exciting for me as I had never been involved in any prototype stages before.

So 2 years on, Aaron and I actually put the time aside to go to Slovenia, and I finally got to meet the guy behind Ophion (Sasa Rejec). I have spent many hours, days, weeks and months of the last 2 years working closely with Sasa over the great internet communication software Skype. The working relationship we have is fantastic and Sasa has been a great support to the website I run Thames Valley Freestylers.

I got up at 4:30am on Friday morning as I couldn’t sleep, was this excitement or just anxiety that I was going to over sleep, who knows?! I left my house around 6.15am and arrived at Aarons for 7:35am. We got to Stansted airport around 8:45am with plenty of time before departure as our flight wasn’t until 11:50am.

Despite being very early we still almost managed to miss the flight, as we were still gassing in the shops of departure at 10:45am. With 5 minutes until boarding and a 12 minute walk, time was now very much against us!! Unlike many other departure gates, they didn’t have any doors to shut you out of the gate lounge, so against all odds we managed to get there in time. What a great start to the trip lol!!

This theme of being late, going to the wrong places and misplacing tickets etc proved to be an ongoing occurrence of the whole trip, but after a chilled flight and the school boy errors behind us we were refreshed and ready to hit the Road! After walking up and down the airport grounds we finally found our hire car, which turned out to be parked on the side we had originally started at. The car was a Nissan Micra which to be honest was all we needed, but I am sure those who know both me and Aaron would have a giggle at the thought of us driving around Italy and Slovenia in a noddy car lol!

We somehow managed to get within 10km of Sasa’s house without GPS and only a Google map, this was a miracle, considering the fun and games we had had so far. We had to make the “come and find us call” as we didn’t have a clue how to do the last part of the Journey. We met Sasa about 6km from his house and he lead the way in. I had forgotten how beautiful Slovenia is. The Alps are the perfect picture, beautiful forestry, snow capped mountains and crystal clear blue flowing rivers. We had arrived in Paradise.

After introducing myself to the main man and his lovely wife Renata, we stayed up until the early hours talking.

OK Saturday started at 9am in the workshop, a quick tour around and a low down on the top secret machinery and equipment used to make the Ophion paddle range.

We went through product materials, resins, layers, shaft design/manufacture, blade design/manufacture, colours, lengths angles, configurations you name it when it comes to paddles we discussed it! After a lovely lunch (Thank you Sasa) at a local restaurant we went through pricing and delivery logistics before finally actually making a paddle from scratch. After dinner (Thank you Sasa’s Mum) we talked about Ophion team, media attention, brand awareness and the merits of the facebook group Ophion paddles Facebook Group.
We eventually called it a day about 10pm. Now that was a full days work!

We were up early, especially me as my phone had set its self an hour forward and I was also adding an hour, oops! Up an hour earlier than I needed to be lol! Keen some might say, stupid most will say! We only had a couple of hours to wrap our visit up as we had to get back to Trieste.

This trip was extremely intense and we covered more in one day than we had in 2 years. I thoroughly enjoyed it and can’t wait to go back.

Thank you to Aaron of Squarerock for inviting me along and thank you to Sasa and Family of Ophion for being the perfect hosts.

I have now completed my Paddle Course and am now 100% in the know about Ophion Paddles, so please feel free to ask me about this fantastic top quality Pro product from Slovenia.

Cheers

Gareth

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