kayak paddle for adventure racing??

I am an adventure racer and am looking to buy my first kayak paddle. Some of the races use 2-person inflatable kayaks. Most use canoes. All are on flat water (rivers or lakes). Lengths of paddle go upwards of 15 miles…fast without rest.

I do not do this professionally, so paying $300 for a paddle is out of the question. I think I want a carbon shaft so it’s lightweight. It also needs to break down because for some of the races I’ll have it in a backpack as I orienteer to the paddling section. Carbon blades?? Not sure.

Is there anything that fits my needs for around $100-$150? I will only use in 5-6 races per year and rarely train paddling (spend too much time running, biking and weight training).

One I’ve seen in some online research, for example, is the AquaBound Eagle Ray. No idea if this is any where close to what I need.

I’m 5’9" tall and 160 lbs, so length is also a question I have.

Any advice would be wonderful.

try before you buy
as there are way too many choices out there in terms of length, construction and brand. Can you borrow any to see what might suit you? Check used as like the rest of us will go through a few before you settle upon the one. I have sent you an email for a few I have for sale previously listed on classifieds here.

I can’t say that I understand what these Adventure races are all about, but most everything you mentioned, except for price, would indicate that you should indeed be looking for the lightest paddle you can find. This is especially true if you have to carry the paddle during running, orienteering, mountaineering and/or cycling events. Considering that cyclist will pay about a $100 premium for every gram of weight saved, spening an extra $100 for a good paddle seems like money well spent if you are serious about doing well.

You mentioned inflatable kayaks or canoes. You would probably use a different type of paddle for these two differnt craft. So I am not sure one paddle will fit all events for you. If the race organizers provided inflatable kayaks, then I assume they would also provide paddles, lifejackets, etc… If you are allowed to use any type of boat for the race, then you should avoid an inflatable boat. It will be slow and you will take significantly longer to complete the 15 miles compared to a team in a composite boat.

I also suggest that you DO spend some time training in kayaks. The difference in speed between an inexperienced paddler and one who knows how to paddle correctly is huge. A good paddler should be able to do the 15 miles at about 6 mph, while the beginner will be lucky to do it at 3 mph. That is a difference of 2.5 hours. Think of how much faster you would have to run, walk or bike to make up that kind of difference.

Good Luck!

Pacific Designs paddles…
These were the cheapest/lightest kayak paddles that I could find. They break down into 3 pieces and seem to be solidly made.

Safety volunteer
I have lead up the kayaking safety end of several kayak adventure races.

The athletes have all been superb runners, cyclists and orienteer’s but their on water navigation and paddling skills have almost always left something to be desired. (With exception of the French team)

For return on dollar I would practice the paddling end of things until you are telling us stuff.(That’s not hard:

racing in CANOES or KAYAKS??

– Last Updated: Jan-24-08 6:36 AM EST –

Most Adventure races I've done were mainly canoe paddle legs and for some reason 99% of the racers are using kayak paddles and paddling same side strokes while the canoe wobbles down strean. Paddling aluminum tubs ( provided by race directors) you can't really put your whole upper body on each stroke. By all means practice paddling technique, the most overlooked part of AR. If paddling mainly canoes, I'd suggest a canoe paddle. Good Luck!

thanks for the info
Thanks for all the info. I’ll definitely review the paddles mentioned.

I certainly realize the importance of the paddling section. By luck or by skill, we actually compete very well in the paddling section today, but I know we’re doing it by brute force and could either get ahead or reserver a lot of energy with some better gear and better paddling skills.

Again, thanks for the info. Keep it coming.

I wrote a blog post on this a few weeks ago. Here is what I found. https://activelifephotography.com/kayak-paddle-length-for-canoe/

Suggest you get a 4 piece fiberglass shaft paddle, easy to pack and carry, cost about $100

This is one of the oldest threads to pop up in a while! 12 years is pretty good. I hope they’re not still looking for a paddle.