Kayak Paddle

I’ve only been 'yakin for a couple of years and I’m still using the paddle that came with the kayak. It certainly isn’t what you would call a “top-of-the-line” paddle, but it seems to get the job done!

However, I’ve noticed in photographs that most “yakers” use a paddle that has a tapered blade rather than a symetrical one. WHY?? What are the advantages and disadvantages? And most important, is a tapered blade paddle worth the extra expense?

Other factors

– Last Updated: Jun-03-07 3:38 PM EST –

Not sure exactly what you mean by a tapered blade, but most kayakers over time come to prefer lighter weight paddles than the basic one that may have come with the first boat package. I suspect that what you are seeing is the blade that is associated with such paddles.

“Tapered” Blade
Maybe the word “tapered” is the wrong word to use. On the paddles that many people seem to be using, the blade is not “squared off” on the end like mine is, but rather, one side of the blade is “angled”. Does that make any more sense? (Still not sure I’m using the right terminology!)

Aysemetrical blade shape
is the term you are looking for. They are shaped that way so the water covering the power face of the blade at the catch is more evenly distributed from top to bottom, which will help cut down on some flutter… and will assist the blade movement through the water. The actual working part of the blade on the forward stroke is the back of the blade kind of like an airplane wing.

Consider a DIY…
…if you’re willing to do a little work.

We use a very simple to build paddles - spruce shaft, ply blades, joined with epoxy, that are tough, light and easy to make. I allow about $20 Cdn per paddle, and 6-8 hours of simple work spread over a couple of days. The resulting paddles do everything we need 'em to do. Mine, now in it’s sixth season of use, weighs in at 950 grams; the one my wife did for herself is 970 grams.

If you (or anyone else) is interested in building themselves one (or more), just drop me an e-mail and I’ll send a link to a couple of sites (paddlespot.ca and nessmuking.com) that ahve been kind enough to let me post the instructions, a diagram and a few pix of ours.

Regards,a nd take care out there.


Try a higher grade paddle
any you’ll be hooked! I’m not sure how much diff the asymetrical blades make, but nearly all better paddles have them. The light weight and good quality materials will make paddling feel like a whole new world for you, I predict…

A nice paddle costs, but it’s oh, so nice!


Check out the “GuideLines” articles …
about paddles on this website. Also check some of the paddle manufacturers websites. Werner (http://www.wernerpaddles.com/design.html) has some good information about paddle design.