The paddle of a kayak is just as important as the kayak itself. Without it, you can be sure you aren’t going anywhere in your kayak. Therefore, I need not say much about how important it is to learn how to paddle properly.
Furthermore, anyone could easily think that all you have to do to get your kayak moving is just to dip one end of your paddle in the water and pushing against the water. Although they are not entirely wrong, they are definitely far from being right. This is because paddling a kayak requires some special types of techniques that are employed to make every single stroke very efficient.
In fact, the kind of water body you are paddling in sometimes requires that you use some special kinds of paddling techniques. So, the first part of getting to know how to paddle properly is to know the parts of a kayak paddle itself.
Parts That Make Up The Kayak Paddle
Generally, there are mainly two parts that make up kayak paddles and they are the blades and the shaft. The shaft can then be further broken down into some more parts. More details are given below.
The Paddle Blades
The blades are the parts of the paddle that you use to beat back the water. This part is often made of different materials. Some are made of fiberglass while some others are made of plastic.
Another peculiar thing about kayak paddle blades is that some are narrow while the others are wide. The narrow blades offer lesser acceleration than the wide kayak paddles do.
This is the rod that has the paddle blades mounted to its opposite ends. The shaft comes in various designs and is built with various materials.
In their designs, some paddles are kind of bent while others are straight. And as for their build materials, some are made with aluminum while some others are made with fiberglass. The difference between these two materials is that fiberglass paddles are stronger and lighter than aluminum paddles.
However, this is not to say that aluminum paddles are heavy. As a matter of fact, some aluminum paddles are lighter than fiberglass paddles. But because fibreglass paddles are generally lighter and more durable, they are regarded as being better than their aluminum made counterparts and hence, they are more expensive.
The shaft of a kayak paddle can be said to be made of different parts, such as the throat and the grip.
As the name implies, the grip of a kayak paddle is where you would hold it. Some paddles have foams around this part to help the paddler have a stronger grip on the paddle so that it doesn’t slip from their hands. Other grips are ovalized for the same reason. Some paddle makers even go as far as coating the grips to ensure that the paddle isn’t slippery.
This part that lies between the paddle blade and the grip. The throat of a kayak paddle is where the drip guard sits. The duty of this drip guard is to make sure that water doesn’t flow from the upper end of the paddle down to your grips. For this same purpose, some paddle manufacturers make use of rings.
However, not all paddles have this feature. As a result, it makes the drip guards a nice factor to consider when buying a kayak paddle.
Another important thing about the paddle shaft ks the shaft diameter.
Paddle Shaft Diameter
Shaft diameter is one of the most important considerations to make when selecting a kayak paddle. This is because if you get a paddle with a shaft that does not fit comfortably in your hand, it would be extremely difficult to use.
Kayakers with smaller hands should consider selecting paddles with smaller shaft diameters. For those kayakers with bigger hands, a kayak with a slightly bigger diameter would suit you perfectly. Selecting a kayak with an inappropriate shaft diameter can lead to blisters.
Kayak Paddles FAQ
- Which is Lighter between Aluminum and Fiberglass Shafts?
A fiberglass paddle shaft is lighter and stronger. However, I stated earlier that it is more expensive than its aluminum-made counterpart.
- How Important is the Size of my Paddle?
Picking the right paddle size is just as important as picking the right shoe size. Using a paddle that isn’t your size would cause you a lot of discomforts and unnecessary fatigue. So, make sure you take your time in selecting the best paddle size that suits you.
- How Important is the Shape of my Blade?
This mostly depends on whether you are using the paddle for professional purposes or if you are just using it for fun and recreational purposes. Narrow blades don’t make you go as fast as the wide blades would. So, professional kayakers that need to pay attention to every single detail of their kayak gear, no matter how little, tend to go for paddles with wider blades.
- My Paddle was Made with my Kayak. Do I have to use that Particular Paddle?
You definitely don’t. One reason why manufacturers make paddles with kayaks is that they must have designed the kayak for a specific purpose. So there is a need to make the paddle to suit the purpose for which the kayak was made.
However, if you find out that the paddle isn’t convenient for you in any way, by all means, change it and get one that you’re comfortable with.
Wrapping It All Up
Now that you already know the basic parts of the kayak paddle, you can go ahead and learn about paddling techniques and all. Don’t forget, all these techniques are used to help you reduce fatigue and make your strokes more efficient, so it is important that you take it really seriously.
If you have any inquiries, questions, additional inputs or anything else to say, please feel free to drop them in the comments section below.
Don’t forget, never stop kayaking. Cheers!