Once you have bought your kayak, kayak paddles are next on your list. So, how do you select the best one for you? You have to choose what is right and works for you. It is a matter of personal preference and there are many deciding factors that will influence your choice.
Kayak paddles are available in a wide variety. They have different uses such as white water paddling or flat water touring. The control you have over your kayak is affected by the different types of blades of the paddles you use. They can differ in weight, length, material, and shapes of blades.
Many kayak enthusiasts select paddles according to lengths. You can decide on lengths by considering the paddles as an extension of your body. Paddle lengths may be influenced by the height and torso of a person as well. Somebody who is tall but with a shorter torso may require shorter one and vice versa. Wider boats could do with longer ones and in some cases paddling styles decide the type of paddles you use. There are paddles specially designed for children.
Kayak paddles were traditionally made of wood. Wood has unique properties which include strength, buoyancy, durability, and stiffness. Each wooden paddle gives a different feel, so you get a wider range of choices when you select wood. Seasoned kayakers love wooden ones. There are wooden ones which incorporate urethane plastic tips and hidden plastic inserts as well. Wooden ones retain warmth and helps achieve smooth strokes.
Now the majority of medium- to high-quality kayak paddles are made inflatable paddle board from plastic composites. The materials used include fiberglass, Kevlar and graphite (carbon fiber), and plastic resin. The biggest advantage of using these composites is the utility of high strength and low weight.
Fiberglass paddles are durable, lightweight, and maintenance-free. This material allows complex blade shapes. They are very popular for whitewater and sea kayaking.
Aluminum And Plastic
These are economical paddles that can be used for kayaks and have aluminum shafts. But these paddles don’t feel warm in cool weather and are more suitable for recreational kayakers and beginners.
Blade Designs And Shapes
Paddles can have feathered or non-feathered designs. Feathering reduces wind resistance. Blade angles may differ from 40 to 90 degrees. Smaller angles are easier on your wrists but larger angles are more efficient when paddling.
Blades can be symmetrical and asymmetrical. Asymmetrical blades are efficient while paddling and good for longer periods of paddling by reducing fatigue. Symmetrical blades power you through water quickly. Shapes of blades differ and you can get flat, spooned or cupped, or dihedral. Some are a combination of shapes.