Choosing the Right Kayaking Paddle

The Kayak’s paddle is as important as the Kayak itself and it is very crucial to choose the right paddle when going for any type of recreation on water. Having the right paddle gives you confident on water, and it enables you to move rapidly on water with less energy.

Your paddle selection choice would strongly depend on the activity you intend to use it for and also your paddling style. The following points should be taken into consideration whenever you are trying to select a paddle for your Kayak:

1. Determine your Kayak dimension:

If you happen to be a person who paddles for recreational purpose, the most vital determinant for your paddle selection would be the width of your kayak. Also, if you happen to be someone who likes sea kayaking, then your style of paddling and physical size will determine your selection type. Kayaks which are really long would also require a really long paddle.

2. Paddler torso size and level of fitness:

Torso length is a very important factor to put into consideration when determining the size of a Kayak’s paddle. An easy tip you can use to measure your torso is by sitting up on a flat chair you’re your back positioned straight up. Calculate the distance between your legs from the chair’s surface to your nose. Here are some examples of torso size with the appropriate kayak paddle size:

Torso Size to Kayak Paddle Size

22inches - 180cm
24inches - 190cm
28inches - 210cm
32inches - 230cm
36inches - 250cm

When you are touring, or out relaxing on the water, another efficient way to determine if you are having the correct paddle length is to stretch out the paddle horizontally with your elbows bent at an angle of 90 degree. If between the shaft center and the shoulder blade, your hands could reach two-thirds of them, then you are definitely having the correct paddle type. Also bear in mind that your fitness level also plays an important role in your selection.

3. The duration of your outing and paddling purpose:

If you are kayaking on a lake, and you are intending to spend quite a large amount of time then the perfect choice for you would be the touring kayak paddle. Touring paddles are the real deal in kayaking and they can be used for camping, river races and also for exploring. On the contrary, if you are intending to paddle for a short period of time, fishing or for the sake of exercise then the right choice would be the recreational kayak.

If you are paddling in a shallow water, your paddling blade shape would also differ as opposed to when you are in a deep water.

4. Your Paddling Style:

High-angle kayakers makes their shaft to be really vertical I.e. perpendicular to the water bodies, during their stroke. These paddlers prefers to use a short and wide paddle with a short shaft. This type of paddling style gives the athletes a really powerful stroke. Most kayakers who race a lot and also those who love paddling in whitewater tends to use the short shaft and wide blade paddle as this allows one to move very rapidly on water.

Study has also shown that for those who wants to paddle on a fast running river, their paddle ought to be long enough. Also, for those who naturally have a short hand, they are supposed to go for a shorter paddle. And has for those who are on playing boat, they would be required to perform more dynamic strokes as they are kayaking and maneuvering their boat around and thus, they would also need a short paddle.

Lastly, feathering angle of the Kayak paddle. The angle you want is totally up to you, depending also on the type of kayaking you are going for. Feathering is basically how two different paddle blades offset each other. A Paddle blade without feathering i.e. with the two blades parallel to each other, is gentle and simple on the wrists, but on the other hand it is difficult to paddle with when there is much wind. Many of the Paddlers this days are being feathered between 15 – 60 degrees. 60 degrees is the most common angle except for those who paddle on white waters who uses about 45 degrees because of the tough challenge they encounter. In order to avoid sore shoulders for those who tend to paddle on a long trip, it is advisable for them to use a light weight paddle with carbon composite blades.

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