Paddle differences?

Now read his 2nd post

– Last Updated: Jan-31-08 10:10 PM EST –

This guy isn't a newbie. Don't you think he already knew this. Elementary research yields this info.

Some of the best and most-prized WW
paddles are made entirely of wood. I have a classic “New World” 206 cm kayak paddle made by Backlund. Learned to roll with it. The blades are faced with fiberglass, but are thick enough that they would hold up on their own.

Light carbon shafts and pure carbon blades can handle the strongest paddler effort, until they encounter rocks. Then, small patches of damage can cause catastrophic failure. Wood paddles will always have a place in the hearts of WW paddlers. The only deterrent is price. You can’t make a low-cost, strong, durable wood whitewater paddle.

Wood, and GK

– Last Updated: Feb-01-08 3:32 PM EST –

I know of paddlers who still have their original wooden WW paddles from many years ago. I don't know where they stand in swing weight compared to the newer materials, but 20 years and a good number of rocks later the paddles are fine. In fact I got my first roll with one of them. I just don't know anything about who is making such paddles now.

And as to GK's response here... I did read the guy's post as well as his profile and, if there is any actual WW experience in there, it could have only been surmised via ESP. I would have been similarly confused before doing rocky or surfy stuff myself, let alone WW on a river. It's a perfectly reasonable question and the only reason I can see to get "offended" by it (quote) is if you woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

Paddle Design 101

– Last Updated: Feb-01-08 6:24 PM EST –

Euro style paddles are optimized for various purposes along these lines:
White water (WW) paddles are optimized for high-angle, high effort, maximum acceleration, maximum durability. Touring paddles are optimized for low to mid angle, lower effort, maximum efficiency, minimal weight. Recreational paddles are optimized for affordability and patterned after mid angle touring paddles.

Aspect Ratio = length (from shoulder to tip) / width (bottom to top). High Aspect ratio means long and narrow (similar to a glider wing). Low Aspect ration means short and wide (similar to a jet fighter).

Touring paddles tend to have higher aspect ratios to maximize efficiency (output vs effort) but sacrificing maximum power. White water paddles tend to have lower aspect ratios to maximize power (work vs effort) and acceleration but sacrificing maximum efficiency.

Spoon = curvature (concave form) of the power-face of the blade. Flat = no spoon, curved = spooned.

Touring paddles tend to have spooned blades, White water paddles tend to be flatter or may have a bit of spoon but not as much as touring paddles. I can't tell you why exactly, but I believe it is related to efficiency vs power.

Length = The optimal length of the paddle is dependent on the angle of the loom (paddle shaft) during the stroke. Since the paddle blade would optimally be placed just beneath the surface of the water but no deeper - a more vertical stroke (as in WW) would indicate a shorter paddle length. While a less vertical stroke (as in touring) would require a longer paddle length (assuming paddlers of the same height).

Material = paddles that will contact lots of rock (as for WW or surf) need to be thicker, heavier and better able to tolerate abuse. For extra durability these heavy duty paddles may have ribs to stiffen the blade and enhance durability. Paddles that will only contact soft water (touring or deep water paddles) can be made lighter since they should see much less stress and abuse. Carbon is a common material for high-end touring paddles. Fiberglass and fiberglass reinforced plastics are common materials for WW and surf paddles.

Symmetry vs Asymmetrical = the surface area of the paddle blades are designed such that when the paddle is held at the design angle and pulled through the water, the paddle will not "twist" in the hand. Since WW paddle blades are designed for higher angles, they tend to be more symmetric and square (actually a shallow angled parallelogram). Since Touring paddles are designed for lower angles they will have more pronounced asymmetry and the blades may look more like a parallelogram.

Longer / higher aspect ratio / fragile / lighter paddles are appropriate for - low effort and/or high mileage paddling (high performance touring paddles).
Shorter / lower aspect ratio / more durable / heavier are appropriate for - high effort and/or low mileage paddling (high performance WW / Surf paddles).
Longer / mid aspect ratio / durable / heavier paddles are appropriate for paddlers on a budget - low effort and low mileage paddling (recreational paddles).

Note: They above makes lots of generalizations in an attempt to answer the OP's question. In addition, I didn't even try to explain the physics involved (since I am not an engineer) nor did I explain the design of GP style paddles.



Ga yak mouth
Does yak_mouth just cruise the boards to show how superior he is?