Kayaking Paddle works hand in hand with your Kayak. It is your main means to maneuver the boat. There are different kinds of Paddles which vary in shape, size, and material/s they are made of. In this section, take a closer look at what it is about a Kayaking Paddle that you should be aware of.
Length is an important feature to consider when choosing Paddles. Long Paddles are suitable for tall people and for those who are using wider Kayaks, while short Paddles are ideal for shorter people and for kayakers who are using narrower boats.
A Kayaking Paddle has a blade on each end, and the shape and length of the blade affect the way the Kayak is steered. It can be symmetrical or asymmetrical, feathered (offset) or unfeathered, spoon-shaped or dihedral.
The blade shape affects the way the blade slices through the water and steers the boat. Paddles with asymmetrical blades offer efficient forward Paddling strokes and minimize Paddle twisting, while those with symmetrical blades are general-purpose Paddles and are ideal for beginners.
Blade feathering (turning the blades at 45-60 degrees to one another) is done to minimize wind resistance to the blade that is not in the water. Paddles which are offset or feathered at 45 degrees offer more driving power and more effective strokes.
For more power in each stroke, try using a Paddle with spoon-shaped blades. Their concave surfaces offer more grip on the water, though beginners may find these blades difficult to control. Dihedral blades enhance the Paddle’s performance by directing the water to flow smoothly off the blades, thus minimizing the flutter.
Plastic, metal alloy, wood, carbon, fiberglass, Kevlar, and graphite are materials commonly used in making Paddles. Those with plastic blades and metal shafts are the most inexpensive type and are used for easy paddling. Composite and fiberglass Paddles are lightweight, durable, and have good shock-absorbing qualities, but they are very expensive.
Just like when choosing the right Kayak, determining the appropriate Kayaking Paddle entails time and better understanding of the makeup of the Kayaking Equipment. Get familiar with the features, strengths, and drawbacks of different kinds of Paddles so it will be easier for you to determine the right Paddle for your trip.
Arthur G. Moore is a veteran paddler. He has over 10 years of whitewater kayaking experience in his kitty. When he was young, he used to love kayaking in rapid III and rapid IV but as time went on, he decided to concentrate mainly on covering long distances on a standard touring kayak. He is currently working as a senior editor for Kayak Manual.