You want to buy a paddle but you don’t know how to choose between the different models. There are many models of kayak paddles, in aluminium or carbon, fixed or adjustable, in several parts. Each of these differences plays a role in performance and quality. It is important to choose it carefully because it is the latter that allows you to move and manoeuvre.
Double or single paddle?
For kayaking, we speak of a double paddle, with a blade on each side of the handle. Simple paddles are mainly used for canoeing or paddling. It is not inconceivable to use a single paddle to kayak along the shoreline, however it is preferable to use a double model, much better suited to this activity.
Choose according to your level
– beginner: we prefer an aluminium model that will be more robust and less technical. An aluminum paddle is heavier but stronger. It is ideal when you plan to make occasional trips with your kayak. In addition, it is more economical.
– confirmed: we prefer a fiber or carbon paddle that will provide more performance. A fibre or carbon model is lighter and more rigid. However, they are more vulnerable to shocks. The carbon one remains the most efficient, but it is intended for intensive use and is the most expensive.
The different types of models
There are two categories of paddles, fixed paddles or removable paddles.
– Fixed paddles are the most robust, but they are less compact and therefore more cumbersome. For experienced practitioners, it is the model that will have the least amount of play.
– The 2-part paddles are the ideal compromise between robustness and size.
– The 4-piece paddles are the most compact, they can fit directly into the bag of your inflatable kayak and can be carried without too much space.
Some removable paddles have the advantage of having an adjustable length at the handle. This setting allows the paddle to be easily adapted to the use. It is also suitable for a larger number of people and can be lent more easily.
Choose the right paddle size
– Depending on its size: it must be proportional to your size. A 1.50m kayaker will not use the same paddle as a 1.90m person. To find the right size, position the paddle vertically in front of you and raise your arm to reach the blade.
– Depending on the width of the kayak: among the multitude of kayaks on the market, there are mainly 3 widths:
- Small: from 45 to 55 cm
- Medium: from 57 to 63 cm
- Wide: from 65 cm
If your kayak belongs to the small category, you must remove 5 cm from the size of your paddle. On the other hand, if it belongs to the broad category, 5 cm must be added.
Choose the right blade angle
Most kayak paddles have a more or less important angle at the level of the blades. What is the purpose of this angle? The angle of the blade allows the air to be cut off with the upper blade of the paddle when it is not in the water, so as not to slow down the movement.
Many removable paddles allow you to adjust the angle of the blades according to your practice.
Note that there are different blade shapes. For long hikes, a rather thin blade with little surface area is used. This allows less effort over time and helps to preserve the joints. To acquire more power, we prefer a paddle with a larger blade surface.