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Kayak Paddles - A Basic Overview

Jun 5, 2008
Bearing in mind you will be using your kayak paddles for going forwards and backwards as well as turning and bracing you will want to make sure you have a decent set of kayak paddles if you are serious about kayaking.

Paddles are one of the most important kayak accessories to have because without them you are not going to get very far.

Recreational kayaking is one of the fastest growing outdoor sports today. More and more people are finding out the joys of kayaking.

The great thing about kayaking is it s something that just about anyone can do and if its just about having a leisurely and fun paddle around then a cheap set of kayak paddles will suffice and there is no real necessity to learn the more advanced paddle strokes. However if your intention is to do a lot of paddling and especially over long distances then it will pay you to learn some paddling techniques.

Kayak paddles are made from various materials but are usually carbon, fibreglass, aluminium or wood. Kayak paddles have two blades attached to either end of the shaft. I have broken down terms normally associated with the various parts of your kayak paddles.

The Tip - The very top of the paddles.

The Blade - The blades are the 'bat' like part of your kayak paddles which are at the end of the shaft. They are dipped into the water alternately allowing you to propel the boat.

The Shaft - This is the part of the paddle which you hold. The shaft design can be straight or crooked depending on what style suits you.

Convex - Convex simply describes the shape of the blades. If the blades have a scoop like curve then they are convex paddles.

The Power Face - This is the scooped side of the blade, if you imagine the blade was a spoon this is the part of the blade where your food would be loaded.

The Back Face - This is the back of the blade, the opposite side of the power face.

Drip Rings - Drip rings are small rubber disks that normally slide up and down the shaft and are designed to stop water dripping down the shaft or onto the paddler.

For optimum paddling performance you should hold your kayak paddles with a loose grip so that there is minimal strain to your wrists and forearms.

Ideally you should hold the shaft so that your forearms are at a ninety degree angle. A good way to size this up is to place the shaft on top of your head and then place your hands on the shaft so that your arms are at a ninety degree angle. You can move your drip rings along the shaft and use them as a marker.

The best place to get a feel of what paddles will be right for you is at your local kayak dealers. Good kayak dealers will help you with your selection and some kayak dealers will allow you to demo sets of paddles before you make up your mind.
About the Author
Vicki Churchill writes for a site that specializes in Inflatable Kayak Accessories providing you with excellent resources and products including reviews on Kayak Paddles.
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