How to Choose a Kayak Paddle

02/28/2020

When it comes to kayaking, a paddle is one of the most important pieces of equipment you will need. It can make all the difference once you are in the water. The right paddle will have an impact on your comfort and performance. While it all boils down to personal preferences, there are a few things you need to consider. Read on and learn from the tips we’ll share about how to choose a kayak paddle.

Blade Shape

One of the first things that you need to consider is the shape of the blade. If you are a casual or long-distance paddler, go for wider and thinner blades. On the other hand, if you are an aggressive paddler, go for wider and shorter blades.

The right shape of a kayak paddle also depends on whether you paddling style is high-angle or low-angle.

When it comes to the shape of kayak paddles, you will choose from symmetrical and asymmetrical. If the blade has an asymmetrical shape, it means that its top edge is longer than its bottom. It prevents your hand from twisting while also keeping the water pressure even. There are also symmetrical blades, but they are common only amongst budget paddlers.

As you consider the shape of the paddle’s blade, you will also have to choose from dihedral or spoon. A dihedral blade has a ridge at the center and the most popular choice. The ridge improves water flow and prevents fluttering. With dihedral blades, you can enjoy more stable and smoother strokes as you kayak. A spoon paddle, on the other hand, comes with a scooped shape. This is great for providing instant power in your every stroke.

There are also wing-shaped kayak paddles. With this shape, one face of the blade has a shallow scooped shape. This helps in improving the power of your forward stroke. It also makes your strokes more efficient. If you are a racer, this is a good choice for kayak paddles. If you are a recreational kayaker, on the other hand, this type of paddle is not recommended since it can be quite complicated for you to use.

Blade Size

Aside from shape, the size of the blade will also affect the performance of the paddle. Logically, you need to find a paddle that suits your size. Smaller paddlers should choose smaller paddles, which will be easier for them to maneuver.

The length is also a crucial consideration. This will depend on the type of boat that you will be using. As a general rule, longer paddles are suitable for wider boats. Taller paddlers will also need longer paddles.

If you are using a recreational kayak, the length of the paddle should be anywhere from 230 to 250 centimeters. On the other hand, if you are using a touring or sea kayak, choose a paddle that is between 210 to 230 centimeters. If you use different types of kayak, a good decision is to choose one with a telescoping shaft that you can adjust accordingly.

Material

There are many factors that can affect the quality of the kayak paddle, and one of the most significant is the material that it uses. This will also impact the price of the paddle. Plus, it affects your comfort when you are in the water.

If you are looking for affordable kayak paddles, plastic and nylon are the most popular blade materials. They are common amongst recreational paddlers. The flexibility of this material, however, can compromise the efficiency of your strokes.

Fiberglass is a good alternative if you are looking for a mid-priced alternative. It is lighter compared to plastic. One of the problems with fiberglass, however, is that it can be prone to chipping.

Wooden paddles are also available, however, they are not as popular as their counterparts. One of the biggest problems with wood is its weight, which can be heavy for most paddlers. It will require considerable effort to use wooden paddles, which can easily make you tired.

For a high-end kayak paddle, you can never go wrong with carbon fiber. It is light and stiff, making it easy to use. This material is also known for the efficiency of energy transfer in every stroke.

Shaft

The shaft is the part of the kayak paddle that you are holding. It is equally important as the blade. This will also affect the performance of the paddle and your comfort.

It is rare that you will see plastic shafts because of its inferior quality. For budget-friendly paddles, aluminum is the most common option. However, it can easily get hot or cold, which can make it uncomfortable depending on the weather.

If you are looking for better alternatives and you don’t mind the price, we recommend that you go for carbon and fiberglass. They are lightweight and durable.

Aside from the material, the design of the shaft is another thing to consider. First, you will need to choose between a straight or bent shaft. This will affect your comfort as it dictates how you will be holding the paddle. The diameter of the shaft is another essential consideration, which should depend on the size you are most comfortable with.

Ferrule System

Speaking of the shaft, the ferrule system is another important consideration. There are some with a one-piece system, but we don’t recommend them if you are looking for portability. Because they cannot be broken down into pieces, it is hard to travel with such paddle because it is not space-efficient.

Most of the ferrule systems are two or four-piece paddles. This will allow you to separate the paddle into smaller parts, which will also make it more portable. If you are looking for versatility, on the other hand, we recommend that you go for a telescoping kayak paddle. It will give you the freedom to adjust the length depending on the requirements of the user.

You also have to think about the connection system. The most common is a snap-on button. If you are looking for the best, we suggest that you pick one that comes with a posilock system. It is more secure.

In sum, choosing the best kayak paddle is not as straightforward as it may seem. It’s not as easy as choosing the cheapest paddle you will find in the market. There are many things to consider, such as size and shape. It is important to consider these things as they will impact efficiency, comfort, and quality, among other things.

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