To get the most out of your kayaking experience, ensure you have the right paddle for the job. No matter how well-built your kayak is, it doesn’t matter what paddle you use.
The performance will be affected if you use the wrong paddle. Your hands will continue to hit the sides of the boat if it is too short. It should not be too long.
The kayak will zigzag in the water, which can cause exhaustion. The right length and shape of the blade for the activity are essential.
This guide will help you choose the right kayak paddle.
Different types of kayak paddle blades
Your paddle blade shape is essential. It determines how your paddle interacts with the water during strokes. The type of paddling you do will determine which blade shape is best.
High Angle Paddle
A high angle paddle means the paddle is made to be held vertically when performing a forward stroke. This more vigorous stroke can propel the kayaker through the water faster.
If you are racing or paddling on rough or whitewater, a high-angle paddle is an excellent choice to give you lots of control in more challenging conditions.
High-angle paddles have shorter blades and are more expansive.
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Paddle with Low Angle
Low angle paddling is when the paddle is held horizontally, and the hands are closer together during the stroke.
This kind of paddling is less tiring and is suitable for constant paddling while kayak touring. Blades on these low-angle paddles are more extended and skinnier than on high-angle paddles.
This is the best choice if you’re looking for a multi-day kayak trip or a day trip on flat water.
The wing blade has a single edge with a shallow-scooped design that increases the power and efficiency of a forward stroke.
This is a good kayak paddle choice for racers and may be uncomfortable for the recreational paddler who prefers more mellow, low-angle strokes.
It would help if you paddled the blade vertically through the water to maximize the unique wing shape.
A kayak blade described as a dihedral means it has two power faces. Look at the shape of a kayak blade with two faces. A dihedral paddle will have two faces that slope slightly to the left from the blade’s center.
This paddle style is popular because it allows for a fast cadence and natural buoyancy. The middle is raised like a spine. This design minimizes vibration and flutter during strokes and allows your blade to catch water better.
It can also make rolling easier since the paddle rises above the water surface. You may find it easier to control your paddle in highly choppy water or use fast bracing or sculling strokes.
Greenland paddles look nothing like other paddles you will find on the market.
These slim, wooden paddles have been used for centuries in Greenland and are shaped like an aircraft propeller.
These paddles are great for kayak touring and can be used in many different ways.
CHOOSING A PADDLE BLADE SHADE
How the paddle blades interact with water will depend on the shape of the blades.
The type of kayaking you do will determine the condition of your paddle blades.
HIGH ANGLE PADDLE
High-angle paddle blades, also known as paddle blades, are made to be held vertically in a forward stroke.
High-angle paddles tend to be shorter and broader. These paddles are great for paddlers who race or paddle on whitewater or rough water.
These paddles allow you to propel yourself through the water faster and provide more control in difficult conditions.
LOW ANGLE PADDLE
High-angle paddles can be held vertically, but low-angle paddles can be stored horizontally. Through your stroke, your hands will become closer in height.
This is an excellent technique for multi-day kayak tours and other activities that require less effort.
The blades of low-angle paddles are longer and more skinny than those of high-angle options.
The wing blade can be used to make a more vertical paddle than the high-angle blade. It is an excellent choice for racers but can be uncomfortable for recreational paddlers.
These blades feature a single face with a shallow-scored shape that helps increase efficiency and power in your forward stroke.
Two power faces are found on dihedral blades. These two power faces reduce vibration and allow your knife to catch more water.
An edge with two faces that slope slightly towards the center of the blade will be a dihedral can be identified as such.
PICKING YOUR KAYAK PADDLE SIZE
These factors will help you decide how long you should kayak paddle.
It is easiest to measure your torso by sitting in a straight-backed chair. Measure the distance between the seat and your nose. This is the length of your torso.
Another option is to use a paddle if you are already on the water. You can hold your paddle in front of your face, but ensure that your arms are at 90 degrees.
The paddle will fit you well if your hands are approximately two-thirds of the way from the blade and shaft.
Your kayak paddle size will depend on the type of kayaking you do. Whitewater racers and those who are tackling whitewater will appreciate a shorter paddle.
This allows them to make shorter strokes.
A simple rule of thumb is that the kayak paddle length should be longer the more significant the kayak you are paddling.
This allows you to correct your paddling form when reaching beyond the kayak’s edges. You could lose the power you get from the paddle when it is in the water.
Consider your preferred stroke angle. A shorter paddle is better if you are looking for a fast stroke.
A slightly longer paddle is best for a lower stroke angle, often used in casual touring.
If you need more flexibility in your paddle length, why not opt for an adjustable paddle?
They can be extended up to 10cm (e.g., 230 cm to 220 cm) and offer more options.
There are many materials available for paddling. Your choice of material will depend on factors such as price and durability.
We’ll show you some of the most popular paddle materials on the market.
Plastic paddles are standard due to their price and durability. They are easy to maintain but will be heavier than the fiberglass or carbon fiber alternatives.
These have thicker edges and greater flexibility than other options, making them less efficient. Plastic is an excellent choice for recreational paddling or as a spare.
Aluminum paddles are also cheaper than their plastic counterparts but are still as heavy as plastic ones.
Although heavier paddles can be tiring, the shaft can become colder in cooler temperatures. However, they make a great beginner paddle or spare.
They are similar to plastic paddles in this respect.
Fiberglass is a popular material for paddles because it is inexpensive, and unlike aluminum and plastic, it is also light.
Fiberglass paddle shafts are strong and can withstand some abuse. A common choice for touring and recreation, the mid-range paddles often have fiberglass blades and carbon shafts. This allows for a compromise in weight, price, and durability.
A wooden paddle, similar to fiberglass paddles, is light and inexpensive. Wood paddles are famous for some people, even though they won’t be seen very often. Wooden paddles can be durable and robust and last for a long time.
The shaft is lighter than aluminum paddles and will feel warm to the touch. Be aware, however, that they will need to be maintained, including varnishing and sanding.
A carbon fiber kayak paddle is top of the range. This is the best and most expensive material for your paddle. Carbon fiber has many benefits.
This paddle is ideal for long kayak tours or sea kayaking trips. It is light yet strong and stiff. The shaft feels more comfortable than aluminum and is the most versatile.
Their price point means that they are not for everyone.
You can try a kayak paddle out on the water if you aren’t sure which one is best for you. Contact your local paddle shop for demos to find out if they have any or organize testing events for other gear.
To test before you buy, hold the paddle above your head. This is the place you should keep your kayak paddle. You should feel comfortable reaching the water once you have gotten into the boat.
It would help if you also noted whether your paddle could stay close to the kayak or is too far from the boat’s side.
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