The Complete Guide to Choosing a Paddle for Your Kayak

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The Complete Guide to Choosing a Paddle for Your Kayak

Kayaking is a rigorous and exhilarating sport that has remained popular over the years. If planning to embark on a kayaking trip, choosing the correct paddle makes all the difference. When on the water, the paddle is designed to act as the kayak's engine. Paddles range in shape, design, and length, as well as weight, construction, and material. Considering the type of kayaking that is done is a key component to choosing the right type of paddle.

When choosing a paddle for your kayak at retailers such as eBay, consider the different types of materials used to make the equipment, become familiar with the various factors that help when choosing the product, and understand how blade design affects efficiency on the water.

Materials for a Paddle for Your Kayak

Paddles can be found in a wide array of materials. Lighter weight paddles are easier to use. The most efficient paddles should offer a balance between light weight and strength. The various types of paddle materials and the characteristics of each of them are listed in the table below.

Material for Paddle

Description

Wood

Transmits the feel of the water well, helping to achieve a smooth stroke

Retains warmth to keep hands comfortable in cooler water

Maintenance is required for long-lasting use

Often covered with a layer of fibreglass

Tip guards added to improve durability

Fibreglass

Lightweight

Durable

Virtually no maintenance

Allows for more complex blade shapes

Most popular choice for whitewater and sea kayaking

Carbon fibre

Among the lightest available

Slightly less durable than fibreglass

Expensive

Ideal for multi-day touring kayaking or long paddling hours

Aluminium and plastic

Contains aluminium shafts and plastic blades

Plastics include polyethylene, polypropylene, thermoplastic, and ABS

Durable

Economical

Heavier than paddles made from other materials

Aluminium can feel cold in the water

Great for spare paddles

Good choice for beginners or recreational kayakers

When searching for a material for a paddle, buyers should consider the type of kayaking they do. Those that prefer whitewater kayaking should invest in strong paddles that can endure rough water conditions, while those that prefer touring kayaking should search for light paddles that can withstand a long trip.

Factors to Consider when Choosing a Paddle for Your Kayak

There are many factors to consider when choosing a paddle, including the width of the kayak, the paddling style, and the paddle's length. Taking these elements into account helps kayakers to choose the most suitable paddle.

Width of the Kayak

The width of the kayak can influence the choice of paddle. Wider kayaks, such as tandem varieties, need longer paddles so that they can reach the water without straining or hitting the side of the boat during a stroke. If the paddle is too short, this requires extra effort from the kayakers in order to get the entire blade in the water.

Paddling Style

A kayaker's paddling style should be taken into account. Those that make rapid strokes should choose a more efficient, shorter paddle, while those that are into leisurely kayaking should consider a longer paddle because it requires less effort.

Length of Paddle

Paddles vary in length significantly, ranging from about 220 to 255 centimetres. In order to determine the correct size, the kayaker should take into account their height and torso length, as well as the width of the kayak and the type of kayaking they are participating in. In general, taller people, or those with wide kayak, should choose a paddle that is 240 centimetres or longer, while average sized people should consider a paddle that is between 230 and 235 centimetres in length. Shorter people or recreational paddlers should choose a paddle between 220 and 225 centimetres.

Design of a Paddle for Your Kayak

There are many aspects that go into a paddle's overall design, including feathering, shape, and shaft layout. When choosing for a paddle, buyers should consider these elements with respect to the type of kayaking they intend to do.

Feathering

Paddle blades may be feathered or non feathered. Non feathered blades are positioned parallel to each other, while feathered blades are rotated at an angle relative to each other to reduce wind resistance. The exact angle of the blades can vary between 45 and 90 degrees, with most ranging from 45 to 65 degrees. This is because smaller angles place less strain on the wrists. However, larger angles offer greater paddling efficiency.

Blade Shape

Paddle blades may be symmetrical or asymmetrical in shape. Symmetrical blades power kayakers through the water quickly. However, each stroke requires a lot of energy. Asymmetrical blades help kayakers paddle more efficiently because of the narrow shape and the ability to withstand a more horizontal stroke. These blades are ideal for touring kayakers or those that want to reduce fatigue.

Blades may also be flat, cupped, or dihedral. Cupped blades help the paddler remain stable in the water. Dihedral blades have a built-in angle, helping water flow smoothly and evenly over both halves of the blade. This prevents fluttering and twisting. Some paddles may be a combination of cupped and dihedral shapes.

Shafts

Paddles may be made up of a single shaft or multiple pieces that come apart. One piece shafts are considered to be more durable, which makes them ideal for whitewater conditions. Shafts made of multiple pieces allow kayakers to change from a feathered to an unfeathered blade. These types of shafts are ideal for use with touring kayaks where conditions in the water or the kayakers energy levels change.

Shaft Shape

Buyers should also pay attention to the shaft's shape. It may be straight or bent. Straight shafts are more common, lighter, and less expensive. Bent shafts put less strain on the kayakers joints, promoting proper stroke alignment and a greater level of comfort.

Shaft Diameter

There is also a slight distinction between shaft diameters. Those with larger hands should choose a thicker paddle shaft, while a thinner paddle shaft is ideal for those with smaller hands. The choice is ultimately based on comfort.

How to Buy a Paddle for Your Kayak on eBay

There is a significant selection of paddles for your kayak available on eBay. Shopping on eBay is a good idea because you may be able to find some equipment at an affordable price. You also have the pick of the most unique paddles in a range of conditions from new to pre-owned.

To navigate to eBay's assortment of paddles, buyers should use the search bar located on the any eBay web page. Enter keywords, such as "paddle", to see a list of available products. Once you have been redirected to the new page, browse through the paddles and narrow down your options using eBay's filters. Buyers can also narrow down the search results by using the advanced search feature. Or you can browse deals on outdoor equipment if you do not have a particular product in mind.

Conclusion

Choosing the right paddle for a kayak is an important decision as it determines efficiency on the water, as well as comfort. When choosing a paddle, buyers should consider the type of kayaking they participate in as this helps determine the right type of material for the paddle. Whitewater kayakers should choose a fibreglass paddle, while touring kayakers should invest in a more lightweight carbon fibre version.

Buyers should also consider the paddle length with respect to their body size and the width of the kayak. Finally consider the design of the blade. The shape of the blade and the degree of feathering can alter the amount of work required by the kayaker. eBay sellers offer a range of paddles for your kayak.

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