Kayaking & Canoeing for Beginners : How to Use Paddles When Kayaking

We are next going to talk about different
types of Kayak paddles. So looking at the kayak paddles, a couple of things that every
paddle is always going to have. It is always going to have a blade on each end and a shaft.
So looking at the blade, they call this the power face. That is usually scooped and it
is usually facing you. The back side of the blade would be this side and then you have
the shaft. The shaft on these is metal, but they make the shafts out of both metal or
fiberglass or carbon. The lighter the paddle the better it is going to be for you. The
whole time you are out kayaking you will be swinging this paddle. So the less weight that
the paddle weighs the easier it will be for you. So a couple of things you want to look
at when you buy a paddle. First thing would be weight. This one is a two hundred and eighteen
centimeter. That is your basic size. Most people use between a two fifteen and a two
twenty on an average boat. The difference width of your boat and the body heights are
going to change your paddle lengths. So work with an expert at a local kayaking store to
figure out exactly how long a paddle you are going to need. So looking at these paddles
that I have right here, I have got three different styles for you. If you notice, this shaft
is all one piece which is great for rental kayaks because they are nice and sturdy, but
it gets to be a problem when you try and put the paddle in your car. So the next type of
paddle that they sale is a two piece shaft which is great because it is easy to store
in your car. It is easier to take with you. Now the third paddle that I have here is what
we call a bent shaft paddle or crank shaft. If you notice, compared to these, the shaft
on the one in my right hand is actually straight; the shaft on this paddle is bent. It is ergonomically
bent so that when you hold the paddle you don’t need to bend your wrists as much. See
how my wrists are nice and straight with this? When I am holding this paddle I have to bend
my wrists in which causes a little bit of discomfort. That is the only difference between
a straight shaft and a bent shaft. The next thing, if you look at this paddle. If you
look from this blade to the bottom blade, the blades are at actually different angles
to each other. See how the angles are different if the angles on my hands would be the same
as the angles of the blades? The reason for that is when you are paddling; I am going
to take a stroke on this side. And see how this paddle is up in the air? This is going
to cut through the wind. So when I am taking a stroke on this side, again this blade is
cutting through the wind because they are at about a sixty degree angle to each other.
Now the problem with that is that I am going to have to bend my right wrist. So on most
two piece paddles, the paddle is adjustable. So right now I have got these where the blades
are even with each other. WE call that the feather. SO the feather on this would be zero
degrees. So when I hold the paddle like this I could take a stroke on this side, then take
a stroke on this side and I don’t have to do any bending of my wrists. When you buy
a paddle, look at what degree feather you are going to want or if it is adjustable in
that. The last thing is look at the different materials that the paddle is made out of.
This one has a metal shaft. This second paddle has a carbon shaft. One of the problems with
metal shafts is that during the winter time they get very cold and uncomfortable on your
hands. So that is why I like a carbon or a fiberglass shaft better. Next, if you look
you have plastic blades on both of these. The one on the right is actually a carbon
impregnated blade. But you can get blades that are fiberglass, plastic, or carbon. Difference
in them is going to be the weight. So the blades are the more expensive they get basically,
the lighter they get.

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