while practicing our towing skills i wondered if the tow rope could get caught up in the spare paddles on the aft deck.I am using a Beluga waist tow system. It looked like an accident waiting to happen when changing direction or in a lot of wind. any thoughts on this? is this why some paddlers put the spares paddles on the front?
Spare paddle carry:
It sure is easier to get to your spare if carried on the front deck. A two piece paddle behind you is pretty tough to access in any kind of conditions, even with assistance. In fact assembling a two piece off the front deck can be quite a challenge. Just about all of us Greenland Paddle enthusiasts carry the spare on the front deck. It’s instantly accessable and no assembly required. A GP spare might make a lot of sense for you Euro paddle enthusiasts, too. You may even like it!
I carry mine at the back but don’t tow, reaching is easy enough, they are on a paddle leash so I feel for that and just pull it towards me
On the towing issue, never had a problem. I have mine on the back deck, with blades facing forward and the power face of the blade facing down. Doesn’t leave much sticking up to catch a tow line. On my Looksha Sport (American style boat with rudder and no day hatch), one half is on each side of the back.
On my Valley Aquanaut (Brit boat with low back deck and day hatch), I have been considering moving them to the front. I put them both to one side on the back deck, so the day hatch is not blocked. The two together don’t stick up too high for me to worry about a tow rope catching, but I am concerned the stacked paddle blades may get damages during a rescue. So I am planning to put tubes at the front connected to the deck lines to hold the paddle shaft. One downside is that in more aggressive water (when water comes over the front deck - like in surfing), these tubes and paddles will cause more spray to be kicked up. Northwater has a product called Paddle Britches which is made for this, but I was going to make my own with some PVC.
A second downside is cluttering up the deck. I haven’t put a pump mount under the deck on the Valley yet, as I have on the Looksha. So I keep the pump there (I don’t like the pump on a back deck, as I feel it interferes with rescues). And if I am using a GPS, that goes on the front deck also. And sometimes I have a video camera. Makes for a busy front deck, which I don’t like.
I have seen some folks with Brit boats that put one half in front and one back. This way they don’t block the day hatch, but also don’t stack the paddles.
"…is this why some paddlers put the spares paddles on the front?"
Besides snagging tow ropes, it is also wise to keep a clear rear deck for rescues wherein the swimmer is brought onto the aft deck or you are re-entering over the aft deck.
That being said, some expert paddlers, i.e. Nigel Dennis, stow half forward and half aft.
I put mine up front.
I like to be able to see it.
I just got a brand new yak, and was
complaining to my wife that I didn’t want to be scratching up the deck with my spare and she came up with the great idea of putting it in one of the compartments.
Why didn’t I think of that years ago ?
It wouldn’t be a good idea for solo paddlers, but for paddling with a partner like I always am it sure is.
Prefer the front deck
for the reasons mentioned already. Also if you lose your primary rather than breaking it and have to temporarily resort to your spare, try restowing it on the rear deck after you recover the errant paddle. Not so easy.
easy to see, easy to reach, back deck clear for rescue purposes (mine or others).
I made paddle parks out of paint rollers which are basically plastic tubes w. soft plastic cushiony fibers. Rigged it w. shockcord drilled thru both tubes so paddle butt ends can’t move forward, and so it is removable & transferable to other boats.
Nary a scratch.
Other people have made theirs from kit sink trap parts… the one that is straight w. a slight J to keep the paddle butts from going forward is used a lot.
also see gnarlydog’s site for more ideas. He made one that is quite nice looking and efficient.
and it ain't a spare. It's my 'upwind paddle' or my 'downwind paddle' depending on what's in my hands.
It's on the foredeck 'cause it's so easy to get to... right side up or upside down.
‘upwind paddle’ or my 'downwind paddle’
Yup, most often if I’m pulling a paddle off my foredeck it is either to change from Euro to GP or the reverse…
Stowing, retrieving, and restowing when necessary seems much easier on the foredeck.
My aft decks have been used for too many rescues, my own and others, to choose to stow paddles back there.
Bad Stuff Happening to Good People
Practicing towing folks is fine and good but have you practiced ‘tow prevention’? A good exercise is to go upside down with no paddle in your hand. While upside down retrieve your other paddle from wherever you stowed it and roll up. Last year my buddy found himself upside down with half of a broken paddle in his hand.
I have gotten a GP off my front deck for a roll, and there are a couple in our bunch who practice this tons. I try less often than I should. But I have also found that pulling the Euro half wearing the long-fingered neo gloves I prefer is less likely. I can’t get a good grip on the slick skinny ends of the foam core paddle. And my hands get cold easily - I wear these gloves into much more of the year than most.
If I paddled solo a lot, I’d probably rig a Norsaq or a glorified ping pong paddle for easy retrieval. Better grab since it’s wood, and faster than orienting a split.
The boater’s gloves from places like West Marine or Hamilton Marine are a nice compromise. The fingers are longer than paddling gloves because they are set to handle ropes, the grip is good, but they are still not full length fingers. Going into this warm weather season with them after seeing a couple in our bunch give them a shot - see how it goes.
GP Storm on the “strong” side of the
foredeck. Small, light, efficient, and out of the way. I never leave home without it. As for the strong side comment, one could argue that you would want it on the set up side, but I find I am more coordinated and handle the paddle better on the side I come up on. Works for me. The storm sliding stroke can be a relaxing and very efficient stroke if you work with it. I like to use it in longer paddles where my mind and muscles need a change. Too often I space out and forget to use it. Bill
Thanks…such great advice
that’s what i love about coming to PNET. :o) I am going to try and fit the spare paddles to the front. They do not block my rear day hatch, but would still be a real stretch especially for me being just shy of 5’ 2" if i really needed to get to them. A lot of great pointers though from this thread.I did do a wet exit and self rescue after our towing last night and would not want to climb onto paddle blades. Just more stuff for a spray skirt or something to get hung up on. I want my aft deck clean.Thanks everyone!
Consider Padddle Britches
Two reasons -
The first is that that are the lowest profile but very secure way of anchoring the ends I’ve seen yet. You’ll have to rerun your perimeter line to install them, but you’ve been paddling long enough it might be time to put on new static line anyway.
The second reason is that, especially for someone with shorter arm reach, you may get a more flexible distance to carry the spares than you’ll get from relying on the preset bungies.
Re the line, you can get nice stuff from climbing stores including in pretty colors. Better yet for rescues, get a different color static line than your bungies, so that you can tell a less than calm person to grab the line by color rather than description of not stretchy or whatever.
(This is not my idea - a guy in our group started or tripped over this.)
I’ll second the North Water
Paddle Britches. They attracted a bit of humor when released by NW last year, but the d@m things work real well!
I place my spares on the fore deck for the all reasons already stated. I recently watched a fellow paddler attempt to tow a ‘victim’ and have his tow line snag on his aft deck mounted spares.
Knew that it could happen. i can make some paddle pants if i really want to.pretty handy. Do i really need to replace my deck line after i season? doesn’t some cords stretch more than others? Just wondering. I think adding a diff. color is a great idea!
Regrettably I’m home improvement
challenged, but I do have home-made spare paddle holders on my one boat based in Steve Scherrer’s ‘waste pipe’ set-up. They do work, but they are butt ugly compared to the Paddle Britches. Also it is not quite as easy to holster the spares on the water as it is with the Britches.
I replaced my deck lines last year with reflective ones, so it was a great time to install the Britches on my other boat. I will eventually replace the ‘waste pipe’ holder with a second set of Paddle Britches.
Another Advantage of the GP…
No "butt-ugly" paddle holders. Western Red Cedar won't scratch the finish, either.