Kayaking is getting immensely popular among those who love nature and adventure. However kayaking is a sport that needs a healthy list of safety equipment and gadgets. Some of them can easily be avoided, and some of them are extremely necessary to enjoy kayaking, one of those is a paddle! You cant kayak without a paddle(unless you have a pedal :)).
Kayaking experts, and the average kayakers alike know the importance of having the best possible kayak paddle!
A correctly chosen kayak paddle not only helps you gain extra speed, but also helps you maintain better control while kayaking. Let’s have a deeper look at the factors that make a specific kayak paddle better than the others.
Best Kayak Paddle Report Card 2017
The paddle length must be chosen with care, the length is the most important thing that provides the kayak speed and control. Apart from this, the length of the paddle must be adequate in order to make the rider comfortable while kayaking. Make sure the paddle’s length is chosen according to your height. Height is essential as a inappropriate paddle will not only make you uncomfortable while on the water, but also will decrease your speed and control. The appropriate length of the paddle also heavily depends on the size of the boat. So, while choosing a kayak paddle, make sure that you have paid enough attention to these two essential factors.
According to surveyed kayak experts the proper sizing’s for choosing the right sized paddle are:
For the relatively short riders (Below 5’5”), the appropriate length of paddle will be 200-230cm.
For the riders who fall in the range of 5’6”-6’, the recommended length should be 210-250cm.
And for those who are above 6’, the length of the paddle should be 220-250cm.
Remember one thing, these are only numbers for reference, you can always look for a paddle that suits you, and with which you are most comfortable regardless of size or other factors.
Low Angle Vs High Angle Paddle Stroke
There are differences between a high angle paddle-stroke and a low angle paddle-stroke a lot of people have no idea that there are actually two different techniques when your kayaking that you can use.
To make it simple for you we will explain and show you so you can see what they look like.
Low Angle Paddle Stroke. As we use a proper low angle paddle the blade design you will notice in comparison to the other has a blade that is a lot longer and narrower and what that does for you is it gives you less fatigue over hours of time paddling- if your paddling from point a to point b and it might be miles and your doing a trek the better blade design would be the longer and narrower since it would provide you less fatigue over time.
The low angle paddle-stroke in the water is done by pushing the hand in correlation to the shoulders at a more horizontal angle, the lower angle is a more relaxed cadence.
The high angle paddle-stroke uses a paddle with a wider blade design and its a little bit shorter. The reason is as you are paddling it uses a-lot more aggressiveness as your dipping the paddle blades a lot closer to your boat.
The pushing hand extends much higher and the high angle is a power-stroke through the water and gets you moving almost like a sprint.
Apart from the length, another factor that can highly affect your performance, is the material from which the paddle has been made. The professional kayak paddles are made up of a variety of materials, out of which the most common and popular ones are fibreglass, plastic, and carbon fibre.
The basic idea behind using the light-weight fibre in making the paddles is simple, it reduces the paddle’s overall weight without actually affecting their performance and toughness.
So, next time while you are out for buying the kayak paddles, instead of purchasing ANY paddle, choose the one which is made up of light-weight, yet strong material which can easily withstand the pressure.
Aluminium – Pros: Cheapest. Cons: Much heavier than other paddle types making you wear yourself out much quicker and worsening the distance paddled for the force exerted
Plastic – Pros: Cheap. Cons: Also heavy and a bit more flimsy then a more expensive paddle leading to more exertion and potential breaks and wear and tear.
Fiberglass – Pros: Lightweight, Less expensive though more expensive than aluminium and plastic. Can withstand more abuse than plastic and aluminium.
Wood – Pros: Less expensive though more expensive than aluminium and plastic. Can withstand more abuse than plastic and aluminium and possibly last longer then fiberglass. Cons: Weight
Carbon Fibre – Pros: Extremely lightweight great for getting the most out of your paddle and taking long trips. Cons: Much more expensive than other materials listed.
Design of the blade
Have you ever noticed the different shapes of the paddles? No, they are not just for making them look good, but they also enhance their productivity too. The common and the most popular designs that the kayak paddles are available in the market are as follows:
All these shapes are specially designed for different purposes and you should know the ideal usage of the kayak paddle. Moreover, if possible, try to consult with the experts for their advice while purchasing the kayak paddle for yourself. Correctly chosen kayak paddle can not only help you perform better, but also will reduce the wrist and arm fatigue that can be caused due to wrong paddle.
Customizable feather angle makes it easier for the rider to change the way he rides the kayak and they can easily cope with the different situations while kayaking. Alot of people dont know what a feather is when choosing a paddle. The feather of a paddle is the angle of the paddle tip in relation to the other paddle tip, for example twisting the tip facing upwards would give it a feather of 90 degrees.
Some people choose split paddles which is great since they give you great variability with shaft length and shaft feather. I would recommend that you might want to start experimenting with the feather you use.
The old adage of having quite a big feather from 45 to 50 degree feather is fine and the old theory was that you could slice through the wind if you paddled with a feather that’s 60 to 90 degrees the only problem with that is that wind directions change over time so that could then mean you would get side wind and you would lose any advantages of that
The disadvantages of having a feather is that you have to do a lot of rotation with your wrist when your touring that could cause a lot of problems especially if you get a tight wrist and cant continue.
See what works for you the less feather you get the less rotation you will need to do with your wrist. The wind problems will always be the same you should find that if you got any wrist problems you’ll find that experimenting with dropping your feather down a bit may resolve your problems. Find out whats comfortable for you!
Ideally, the kayak paddle should be light-weighed so as to provide easy handling and better control. Apart from being light-weight, it is essential that the paddles are strong enough to resist the wind and water flow effectively. A carefully chosen kayak paddle can effectively enhance the performance and level of comfort while you are in water.
Now, in addition to the above things, a few more things that can help you choose the best kayak paddle are:
Frankly speaking, a well-established brand maintains a standard and sells the product according to its market reputation among the buyers. This standard makes the product superior than most of the other brands of lesser value.
Our Top 5 Kayak Paddle Brands of 2017 are:
Moreover, you can expect a better product from a reputed company which has been dealing with the category of the product for the past years. Therefore we can say that choosing a kayak paddle from a company that has a good reputation and is known for kayak paddles is essential since it is easy to get a bad quality kayak paddle.
Reviews are another way to know about a product’s reliability and value. By reading the reviews, you can easily get an overall picture of the things buyers liked about the product and what the possible areas of improvement are. So, make sure that you have thoroughly gone through the paddle’s review before making a purchase.
Apart from reading the online reviews of the product, you can also consult with the other kayak experts who are living near you.
The thing that you should keep in mind while relying on the online reviews is that the reviews should be written by genuine users rather than those that are doing false marketing for the product. Some reviews can be too good to be true. Ex. “This box of Kleenex IS AMAZING, IT HAS CHANGED MY LIFE. Sometimes I lie in bed at night and think how lucky I am to have these Kleenex” This could be a paid review. As a rule of thumb I usually just compare negative reviews between products.