There are several different types of kayak paddles available in the market. But, being able to find the one which fits both your needs and budget can be tough. For instance, you should buy the paddle only after deciding upon the kind of rafting you plan to do. Before deciding whether you are touring or using it for whitewater. A shorter than average paddle is preferred for shorter people while tall people should go in for longer than average paddles. Other important features in a kayak include blade and shaft length and shape, and the materials used to make the paddles.
Shaft Shape And Length
The shaft is that part of the paddle on which you keep your hands. Shafts are of two types: straight and bent. While the former kind is light, easily available and thus inexpensive, the latter ones put less stress on your joints. Bent shafts help in proper stroke alignment and are more comfortable. They provide for a stronger and more effective stroke. A lot goes into designing shaft paddles. A sit-on top kayak needs a longer paddle. A long paddle is sturdier and gives more power to your strokes and helps you efficiently cut through water but it also creates more resistance. Whitewater kayakers go in for shorter paddles as they provide better movement, speed, and power. Also, the thickness of the needed paddle shaft is proportional with the hand size increase.
Blade Shape And Length
The maneuverability of kayaks also greatly depends on the length and shape of the blade of the paddle. Paddle length differs according to your height, the kind of kayaking you do, and the type of kayak. Depending on these factors, kayak paddles can be long, short, symmetrical, asymmetrical, wide, narrow, feathered, unfeathered, spooned, or dihedral. Each kind of blade has its own benefits. Also, the length varies depending on whether you are touring or doing whitewater kayaking.
The blade is that part of the paddle which is inside the water. It is the reason the boat propels. While a wider blade can provide greater speed, it will create more resistance and will be difficult for people to wield with less arm strength. People who just prefer kayaking for touring should avoid using this blade. On the other hand, a narrow blade is good for comfort and the kayaker will be less tired. However, the latter will take more strokes in the same amount of water. Kayak paddles that are symmetrically shaped can be paddled with either hand while asymmetrical ones provide a smooth entry into the water.
Feathered paddle blades allow a more efficient stroke. Beginners can use a collapsible paddle which can be adjusted to either feathered or unfeathered. While a spooned paddle increases the strength of a stroke, a dihedral paddle helps direct water around the paddle.
Materials For Building A Kayak
A paddle can be made from different types of material like plastic, graphite, fiberglass, Kevlar, wood, carbon, or aluminum. The weight, performance, price, and durability of a paddle are estimated from the material used.
Although these factors are important yet the personal preference of a kayaker is what matters in the end. For instance, Accent Paddles are suggested for kayakers who want to lose the blade flutter and want to gain grabbing strength. Beginners must also read which paddle to buy to get the most out of their kayaking experience. While it is important to search for the right kayak and adjust the fit, and look for the right helmet, the importance of the right kind of kayak paddles can certainly not be ignored.