The defining impact on your kayaking performance is dependent on firstly, your kayak itself, and secondly by your paddle. Whether you are taking a short tour or a long tour, a number of strokes are still involved. Therefore, you need to consider your kayaking paddles.
Over the years, paddles have evolved, becoming more efficient and effective in executing their reason for design- to move your kayak across waters. Nowadays, paddles come in all different shapes, sizes, and materials. The most common paddle makeup is fibreglass or wood. Other materials used to make paddles include carbon fibre, plastic/nylon, and metal. Each material has different attributes, some good and some bad.
Choosing your Kayak Paddle
There are many paddles you have to choose from. With so many options that are out there, choosing your paddle can become a daunting task. What size? What material and what blade? We have got the answers to all of these questions.
● Materials: The lightest paddles consist of materials such as carbon fibre, kevlar, and graphite. Paddles made from these materials can weigh under 2 pounds. They also tend to be some of the higher-priced paddles. Although these paddles are in the higher price range, their durability is somewhat low. Fibreglass falls in the middle of the paddling class. These blades are efficient in the water. They are prone to chip but won’t fully break. The material that is the lowest in price is the plastic/nylon blades. The downside to these blades is that they can crack and do not provide top-class efficiency on your stroke. Be careful not to leave these blades in the sun as they get damaged by the sunlight.
● Blades: The best blade to use depends on many factors. Each kayaker will prefer a different blade, depending on what is the best option for them. Wide blades provide powerful strokes that allow you to move faster. Narrower blades are much lighter than wider blades. If you are doing long-distance paddling, narrow blades are the better option. Most paddlers like to use the narrow blade because it is more simple to use than the narrow blade. Narrow blades reduce fatigue because your hands remain at a low angle.
● Feathered or Matched: This term refers to the alignment of the blades on the paddle. Feathered blades are at an angle and not on the same plane. The positive aspect of this kind of blade is that there is less wind resistance when one of the blades is not in the water. Matched blades are aligned. Most paddles allow you to rotate the blades to either be feathered or matched. Some paddles allow for adjustment on the blades to any angle.
● Length: The two factors that determine what length you should look for is the width of your boat and your height. You need a long paddle if your boat is wide. Taller paddlers also require a longer paddle.
● Kayak Paddling Size Guide (Werner Paddles)
|KAYAK WIDTH||UNDER 23″||23″ TO 27.75″||28″ TO 32″||OVER 32″|
|PADDLER HEIGHT||Recommended Paddle Length|
|UNDER 5′||200 cm||210 cm||220 cm||230 cm|
|5′ TO 5’6″||210 cm||220 cm||230 cm||240 cm|
|5’7″ TO 6′||220 cm||220 cm||230 cm||240 cm|
|OVER 6′||220 cm||230 cm||240 cm||250 cm|
If you happen to be in between two sizes, it is safer to go for the shooter paddle.
● Paddles used for different types of Kayaking
Another factor that will determine which paddle to purchase will depend on what type of kayaking you intend to do. If you are a beginner, you need to choose a paddle that you are comfortable with in terms of length. If you have a portable kayak and you do a lot of hiking with it, it is preferred that you use a four-piece shaft. Low-angle paddles are ideal for flatwater kayaking. High-angle paddles are used for racers and whitewater.
– Touring kayak paddle: This paddle is ideal for kayaking on lakes, rivers, and other slow-moving bodies of water. If you are doing long tours, this type of paddle is also a great choice.
– Performance kayak paddle: If you are a fan of long tours and spend a lot of time on the water, a performance kayak paddle is what you should buy.
– Whitewater paddle: This type of paddle has blades that provide swift cadence. The blades are efficient and ideal for really biting the water. If you are kayaking in rough conditions, this paddle will be durable.
– Recreational paddle: If you are not often on the water, this paddle is the one for you. This type of paddle is the cheapest option and will last long. Some activities you can do with this paddle include fishing and shore exploration.
How to Maintain your Paddle
Just like any other piece of equipment, you need to look after your paddle. How long your paddle will last will depend on you well you maintain it. The average amount of time that most paddles last is between 1-5 years. Here are some tips on how to keep your paddle in good condition to avoid buying a new one each year.
– Clean your paddle: It is not enough just to rinse your paddles off. You can use a lint-free cloth or a glass cleaner to clean the edge guard and the face of the paddle. Take apart the moving and adjustable parts of the paddle, rinse it with clean water. It is also advisable to rinse the ferrule. Be sure that the parts do not have any debris in them. Leave the parts out to dry indoors. Do not leave your paddle wear in the sun. Sunlight will damage your paddle. When you are cleaning the blades, use warm water and a mild cleaning detergent. Wipe off any grime or sweat from the handle with a damp cloth. You can replace the grip whenever you feel you need to.
– Storage: Keep your paddles out of the extreme cold and hot weather conditions. These conditions cause damage to your paddle. Having a paddle bag or blade cover would be beneficial to you. Do not place heavy objects on your paddle when you are not using it.
Sometimes buying a kayak paddle can cost you a fortune. When you are purchasing a paddle, it is important to consider how often you are going to use it and what type of paddle you want to buy, as we mentioned above. For example, you do not want to be spending a large amount of money on a paddle if you only plan on kayaking for a short amount of time.
If you are looking to purchase a paddle at a reasonable price, here are some of our best options for you. These products are available on online stores such as Amazon. These are paddles that will still give you an enjoyable experience on the water while staying within your budget.
– Shoreline Marine Kayak Paddle: This a two-piece aluminum paddle. The paddles offer a simple design and also provide comfortability in the water due to the foam grips added to the paddle. This 96-inch paddle will cost you about $80.
– Attwood Asymmetrical Paddle: The price range of this paddle varies between $140 up to $290. It is a two-piece.
– SeaSense X-Treme II Paddle: This is one of the cheapest paddles available. These paddles price ranges from $36-60. The length is 96 inches and has a feathered blade design.
– TRAC-Outdoor Curved Paddle: This is a lightweight paddle with asymmetrical blades, which makes it convenient for storage. This paddle will cost you from $59 up to $74.
– Airhead Deluxe Paddle: This paddle is a lightweight aluminum paddle. The blades are adjustable for offset and standard paddling. The paddle is 49.5 inches long and will cost you around $50-$60.
– Leader Marine Kayak Paddle: This paddle is one of the cheaper options you can consider. You can expect to pay between $30-$35 for this paddle, depending on which size you choose from the three options available. The aluminum shaft has a two-piece construction paddle, making it more convenient to travel with and store.
When buying your paddle, you need to choose a paddle that is of good quality for whatever your budget may be. Some people prefer to stick to one brand because of the quality assurance the brand provides. Find a brand that works for you and the type of kayaking you do. Here are a few of the best and trusted brands of kayak paddles:
– Werner Paddles
– Gearlab Greenland Paddle
– Aqua-Bound Paddles
Ultimately, whatever paddle you choose to buy, make sure that it is well suited to you and your needs. Having a good paddle will make your kayaking experience more enjoyable. All the above factors mentioned will help you have a better understanding of what to look for. Looking for a paddle does not have to be a challenge if you know what you are looking for. Purchase your paddle and get out on the water!