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Paddles

Choosing a paddle is an overwhelming task; often more difficult than choosing which kayak suits you best. Debates arise in several forms: Flat blade vs. Wing blade, Carbon vs. Fibreglass and length of the shaft.

Flat Blades

Flat Blades have been around for years and are the most common type as they are easy to use for both beginners and experienced paddlers. They are simple and effective. Flat blades give the advantage of allowing the paddler to move regardless of which direction the blade is facing (thus great for novices and tricky surf when paddlers often become distracted).


Wing Blades

Although wing blades require more technique than Flat blades and are often associated with the more experienced paddlers, they offer an increase in efficiency. Thus less energy is required to move further. This allows for the paddler to get through rough condition easier and faster.


Plastic vs. Fibreglass vs. Carbon Fibre

It goes without saying that the lighter the weight, the easier the paddling. However, the best paddles offer a balanced combination of light weight and strength.

Plastic paddles for example are less rigid than their fibreglass and carbon counterparts; they thus require more energy to paddle through the water. Plastic paddles are also heavier than their counterparts and affect the paddlers comfort.

Fibreglass paddles are lightweight, durable and virtually maintenance-free. Fiberglass allows for more complex blade shapes. In the middle of the price range, these are by far the most popular choice. Fibreglass paddles are rigid and allow for the paddler to achieve good distances with less effort than a plastic paddle would require.

The next step up from the fibreglass range is the Carbon Fibre paddles. Carbon fibre paddles are more expensive than plastic or fibreglass, as they are once again more rigid and are lightweight. The lightweight nature allows for the paddler to exert less energy and probably stay out on the water for longer. These are recommended for paddlers who are serious about kayaking.


Length

Choosing the length of a paddle often regards the use of the kayak, the height and strength of the paddler as well as the width of the kayak. There is no general answer to the question of which length to aim for, however most paddlers using stealth kayaks use a paddle of between 210cm and 220cm.