Yes, there's an interesting story behind the blank of the new Redington Vapen Red ($350, redington.com)—the X-Wrap Blank Technology creates a lightweight, stiff rod with surprising power—but the bright red PowerGrip handle is what really turns heads.
Redington collaborated with the golf club grip company Winn Grips to develop the advanced polymer grip that has better traction than cork, feels softer and more comfortable in your hand, yet is firm enough that it doesn't drain power when you want to make a powerful cast into the wind. We tested this rod (and grip) extensively at Deneki Outdoors' Andros South Lodge, and found many other advantages—
it doesn't pick up dirt like cork, it's easier to clean, and it doesn't chip, dent, or flake like cork. It was tactile and easy to grip and apply force in the tropics where sweat, sunscreen, and bonefish slime can quickly turn a cork handle into a bar of soap.
The Vapen is also available in a regular cork handle for $50 less, and although it won "Best Saltwater Rod" at the 2013 International Fly Tackle Dealer show, it comes in a range of weights from 3- through 12-weights making it just as applicable for fresh water. For more information, see the video below.