New paddle questions

First, I have been pedal/paddling a Hobie Adventure for a couple of years almost exclusively for fishing. The stock paddle from Hobie has been used as a push pole, stake-out pole and even a weapon to ward off the big lizards encountered here. Only paddle when it’s to shallow to use the pedals. Most trips were in the 5-10 mile range. Now I have the idea to get another yak, 16 to 18’ long and a few inches less width to use to get a little more distance and not always fish. I have tried out a few buddies paddles, Epic, Onno, Warner and such for just a few minutes. Noticed how light they were but with the old scuffed up Hobie hull, I didn’t notice much else.

Now the questions

Since the areas I fish are shallow, 6" or so, and the areas I may traverse on longer paddles may be deeper, do I need 2 different paddles or just 2 different styles of paddling?

With all the different styles of blades, I need a base idea to start before I begin annoying the local shop to test paddle his large sellection of paddles! Is there a blade style that could be used mostly for a high style paddle that would be suitable for a low or the other way?

This might help

Lots of good info there.


– Last Updated: Nov-08-08 7:57 AM EST –

The link that sissy mentions is a perfect starting point. You might also want to check out some of the manyfacturers' websites - I may be wrong but I think that there are one or two with some advice on length.

You mention the high/low angle thing. Another part is blade size - the bigger the blade the more a single stroke can affect your speed, up to the point that the blade is handling more water than you have the strength to mange easily. Going for too powerful a blade surface against your strength is an invitation to injury. For example, while I love my Epic Signature paddle and will continue to use it some, this winter I am getting a Werner Cypress because it is a smaller blade and that makes it easier for me to increase cadence.

As to bent shaft/straight shaft - I paddle with both. My WW paddle with a bent shaft felt completely natural from the moment I held it and I love it. But the Werner bent shafts feel forced and I'll be staying straight shaft for the Cypress. Lendals are somewhere in the middle. But that's individual - I know some who find that the Werner bent shafts feel very good.

paddle questions
Thanks sissy, I have read all those and many more articles including reviews. Kinda like asking which yak to buy. Any forum operated by a business always advises to try before you buy.

I was and still am hoping someone with my type of experience will chime in. It’s hard to try before you buy with limited available resources, both mine and those of local kayak stores in the area. Mailorder return of a paddle can be a pain, but I’m willing to once I get some real life experience stories

Trying before you buy
I know what you mean, it isn’t easy. I’m lusting after a Hemlock Nessmuk solo canoe, but I’ve never actually seen one, let alone paddled one, and it is a lot of money to commit on my tight budget.

Paddles aren’t cheap, either. Good luck!

AuquBound StingRay
with the carbon shaft and plastic blades. $130 to $160.

Light at about 31 oz, good for touring (smaller blades), and all but indestructible when you’re likely to bang the blades, pry, etc.

Used mine a little over a year now from Class II rapids to 14 mile river trips and hasn’t let me down.


Aquabound also makes a carbon
fiber paddle you can get from Campmor for $175.

What kind of fish
do you get in ( 6" )of water?

shallow fish
Bones, snook, reds, permit and trout are common fish found in and around the flats of the Keys, Flamingo and Biscayne. Sometimes you even see a shark or tarpon that seems to be struggling to get to deeper water. I sometimes think that the fish enjoy the sun, but the water temp can be noticibly warmer on the flats that in the channels.

Paddling on the flats can get very productive when you come upon a sudden depth chance like a hole or channel that may only be a few inches to a foot deeper than surrounding areas. Nothing finer than sightfishing to a wake caused by a fish in shallow water!

I probably won’t be fishing for a few trips in the new kayak. The old Adventure is 28" wide and rigged for fishing and the new to me Skua is at least 4" less.

paddle questions
I settled on a Lendal modified bent shaft with the touring elite blade. This is the paddlok system so I can just change the blade and not have to buy the whole paddle. Good if there are more than one yaks in the stable.

It sure makes a difference from the aluminum and plastic paddle I was using