A guide to choosing your perfect paddle
Kayaking is one of the best recreational activities. This is because it is fun, intriguing, and very refreshing. Just like any other leisure activity, you need to have all the right equipment for you to enjoy kayaking. These include proper apparel, a great kayak, and most importantly, a perfect, paddle. What most people don't know is that your comfortability on the water depends on a good paddle. That is why they don't take time to analyze the paddle they purchase but instead, they tend to go for any paddle as long as it functions. Well, here is a guide on how to choose the perfect paddle that will serve you well and give you an easy time throughout your Kayaking.
What length of paddle do I need?
Get the right paddle size When paddler makers create paddles, they tend to focus on specific aspects. That is the width of the kayak as well as the height of the paddler. Those are the same things that you should consider when purchasing a paddle. In case you have a wide kayak, go for a longer paddle. This will make kayaking easy and enjoyable. You should also go ahead and check your height. The taller you are, the longer your paddle should be. For a paddle that is proportional to your height and the width of your kayak, you will need a kayak paddle size chart for you to get the right length of the paddle. You should also know which type of stroke you are always comfortable using. If you want to have a relaxing moment on the water, you will require a low angle paddle. On the other hand, those kayakers who paddle with speed and precision use a high angle paddle. These two angles require different paddle lengths. So make sure you keep in mind which angle best suits you when purchasing your paddles.
Is it worth a buying a lighter paddle?
Consider the paddle weight The weight of a paddle is one of the major factors that you should always consider. This feature influences how long you will stay on the water as well as how fast you will be able to paddle your kayak. Most paddles come with weights ranging from 500 grams to 1100 grams. Whenever you are choosing a paddle, make sure you pick the lighter piece. Such a paddle will be easier to lift, swing, and move in the water. At the end of the day, you will find yourself utilizing less energy, and this will make you enjoy paddling even more. A Heavier paddle, on the other hand, will be hard to move along in the water. It tends to exhaust the kayaker faster, and in no time, you will be having problems moving from one point to another.
Does kayak paddle material matter?
Consider the material of the shaft The combination of the blade material and that of the shaft is what determines how good the paddle becomes. The most common materials used to make the shaft include carbon, fiberglass, aluminum, and plastic. Carbon shafts are very light and durable. Same goes to fiberglass shafts. You should, however, note that carbon fiber is much more preferable than fiberglass since it is ultra-lightweight and completely durable. Aluminum is among the most common material used to make a shaft. You should, however, keep in mind that the temperature of the material tends to increase or decrease depending on that of the surrounding. You will thus have a hard time handling it during cold seasons or hot days. It is, however, inexpensive. Plastic shafts, on the other hand, are very hard to come by. This is because of their flexibility. They are, however, cheaper than most shafts. Once you have decided which shaft will make you comfortable, you need to consider how you want your shaft to be. There are so far two types of shaft designs. That is the straight shaft and the bent shafts. You must be wondering why you need to consider the shaft type. Well, the bent shaft tends to come with a unique handling technique. This is because it has a place designed to enable you to position your hands in a more comfortable manner. This tends to reduce fatigue while paddling.
Carbon Fiber Blades
The material of the blade Some of the best kayakers will tell you how important the material of the blade is when it comes to maximizing your performance. Remember, when using a paddle, the part that you usually end up lifting and turning most times is the blade. That means you need a paddle blade that has a good material which is both light and durable. There are different materials available in the market today, for instance: Carbon fiber is a material that is used to create an outstanding blade that is completely lightweight and very strong. These paddles are designed to overcome every challenge to ensure you get the best kayaking experience ever. They are mostly preferred by professional paddlers. That is because the material tends to give your kayak a pull that is directly proportional to the effort you use. You will also be impressed to learn that they are very hard to break or chip. The only problem with carbon fiber blades is that you will have to pay a good amount of cash to own them. Fiberglass paddle blades Anyone who has done kayaking for a long time will tell you that fiberglass blades are very durable. The material is designed in such a way that it cannot break completely but instead chip after long usage. They are known to be lightweight and efficient more so if the fiberglass is well hardened. With a fiberglass blade, every stroke you make counts, and so you get to choose how fast or how slow you want to paddle your Kayak. When you compare fiberglass paddle blades to other paddle materials in relation to price and performance, you will find them to be inexpensive. That is what makes them very popular among kayakers. Plastic blades Most people go for plastic blades because they are cheap and a bit light. But then there is an aspect that makes them less efficient. These blades are known to be flexible. That means that they can bend to some degree under high pressure. Such an aspect tends to reduce the effectiveness of each stroke you make. In the long run, you will find yourself utilizing more energy to paddle since you have to counter for flexibility. They are also not immune to the sunlight, and so they tend to crack more often. You should thus go for plastic paddles only if it is for recreational purposes. They are very similar to nylon blades.
Does the shape of a kayak paddle matter?
Paddle blade design Once you are done checking the material of the blade, you need to examine the blade design. There are numerous designs available including the J-shapes notch design, asymmetrical dihedral blades and wide blades. The J-shaped notch is mostly used by fishermen. The most common blade design is the asymmetrical dihedral blades. This is the type of blade that comes with one side being short and narrow. The asymmetry is meant to balance the blade while paddling, thus making kayaking easy and less exhausting. There are also blades that are wide. Despite the fact that they are usually much Havier than other blades, they come with a number of advantages. One such advantage is that these blades make kayakers go much faster without stroking too much. You will, however, require maximum energy for you to achieve a single stroke.
Are feathered or curved paddles more efficient?
Take note of the feathering Feathering is how the blades are positioned in reference to each other. You can pick either a straight paddle which is also known as a non-feathered paddle or a feathered paddle. A straight paddle has blades placed exactly the same on both ends. A feathered paddle, on the other hand, has one blade tilted at an angle. This can be 15 degrees or more. The idea to feather a paddle is due to the fact that those paddles tend to reduce the amount of wind friction that you will encounter while paddling. This means kayakers who go for straight blade design tend to experience some difficulty paddling, especially if there is plenty of wind. This is, however, not a very critical factor to consider since paddle manufacturers have found a way to incorporate both feathering designs on a single paddle. You can thus end up getting a paddle that allows you to tilt the blade at an angle that you are more comfortable with. With such a paddle, you can decide whether to feather your paddle or not. It tends to make matters much easier. In a Nutshell, Picking the right paddle for your kayak is quite a process that is if you want to end up with the right paddle. A great paddle design will not only ease your paddling difficulty but also ensure you are comfortable throughout. To maximize your performance remarkably, you will have to consider all the above factors when choosing a kayak paddle. When determining the length of the paddle, don't forget to use a kayak paddle size chart. With it, you will end up with the best size of your paddle.