Paddle matched to boat

-- Last Updated: Mar-26-13 4:32 PM EST --

How come so many people "settle" for a paddle
instead of "mating" it to their kayak ?
Being the powerplant of the system, shouldn't it get more thought,
matching the unique individual sitting in their kayak....
I think this is often a big drawback of the big box store purchase,
versus actually doing an "on water" demo tryout to understand it all

Folks who know something about paddles, do not, usually, get their paddles from big box stores - I’ll just safely assume that in your lingo big box store equals sub 50dolar 250cm wonder.

Folks who typically purchase those said sub 50dollar 250cm wonders lack understanding that would enable them to match kayak with a paddle.

At least that’s the reason I hear a lot, from people who just haven’t gotten to a point where that amount of money makes sense against their paddling time.

We got it when we were staying on the coast and paddling every day. Until then though - inland lakes and rivers - it didn’t seem such a big deal to have lesser paddle.

I can only speak for myself,
but when I graduated to a higher end boat, I also graduated to a paddle that was adjustable in 10CM increments, and also adjustable on the feather.

Now the only time I use my old one length paddle is for a beater in shallow rocky rivers.

I think it would be foolish for a newbie with a $400 kayak to have a $300 or $400 paddle.

jack L

generally agree
with the notion that paddle is very important and for me a good paddle in a crappy boat is better than crappy paddle in a nice boat. Good paddle - more control, less fatigue - in the end more enjoyment. IMHO, it makes sense to spend a little bit more on the paddle than you are prepared to - boats come and go - especially beginner ones, paddles stay. I had a chance to paddle Cetus LV - gorgeous thing - with a aluminum paddle with 90 degrees(!) feather - it was torture. When I go with friends out of town for a day or two and we plan to rent something - I don’t drive - so can’t bring my boat - I always bring my own paddle. People look at me strangely sometimes, but I could not care less. A paddle is like running shoes. It has to “fit to a T”

its a bit different in the whitewater
world. Paddles can take a lot of abuse. I’ve seen a lot of people lose paddles. Myself included. I think I’m about to the point of buying a nicer paddle- I have two werner rios I bought used. It has plastic blades but i can throw them up on shore, loan them out, and not worry about it. I’m not going to be out to much if I lose one but most of my friends use better/more expensive gear than I do. It would be nice to paddle with something light weight. I do have some nicer wood canoe paddles I break out to canoe with. Not running much whitewater when I do that.

Like most things
Having a really nice paddle makes the paddling experience sooo much better. Having ten nice paddles is even better.

Good paddle make learning easier ?

– Last Updated: Mar-27-13 10:42 AM EST –

I think it's easier to learn how to paddle on a straight path
when someone isn't using a heavy war club from day one.

my current paddle
Is 218-208. In my first kayak it wouldn’t have reached over the deck. A good paddle can mean a bb paddle that cost $89. Sure its not as light, but the design is functional for a low end boat. My $400 dollar paddle would have looked pretty silly in my $400 boat.

Ryan L.

As always, not everyone can justify …
… having good gear. It wouldn’t make any sense at all for the average person who shoots photos hastily by the point-and-shoot method to use the same camera gear as someone who painstakingly sets up their photos and strives to get high-quality shots. By the same token, a person who paddles occasionally and no more than two or three miles at a time on quiet water isn’t likely to justify spending the bucks for the kinds of boats and paddles that a lot of people on this site would prefer. Big-box stores aren’t the drawback in this case. Instead, they are a logical place for people to go for gear that need not be extremely good to function at their level of need.

a few things
Good stuff is more expensive. Obviously everyone would be better off using the best stuff but that’s not reality.

Also, the paddle has to fit more than the boat, it has to fit the setting, the paddler’s build and stroke.

My favorite paddle is still an old beat-up straight shaft Werner.

to play devil’s advocate
How many NBA stars grew up rich and using the best gear?

Hard to get matching color…

Getting advice at the shop…
The people selling the equipment can make all the

difference in the world, especially if they actually use the gear

Matching Blade Size to Boat Length…
On a different note, I personally find blade size to be something that needs to be matched to your boat as well.

To me, longer waterline boats generally are better to use with a mid-sized blade like a Shuna or Cyprus. With shorter boats (which require less effort to paddle at typical paddling speeds but max out their speed pretty quickly) I find bigger blades preferable like my Ikelos.

You need to match the gear ratio to your vehicle.


best gear in NBA?
Maybe the proper question would be - “who ever did a armature cross-country even on a city bike and got a decent time?”

I’ll give you another

– Last Updated: Mar-28-13 5:44 PM EST –

Lots of great ballplayers coming out of central and south america to star in MLB. Do you suppose they all had brand new $100 bats and $250 gloves?

I don't think so.

This isn't absolute, it's meant as a mitigating perspective to the OP.

Looks like you got done-in by your …

– Last Updated: Mar-28-13 5:51 PM EST –

... spell checker! It looks like changing two of those words to something else ("armature" to "amateur", and "even" to "event") will probably do the trick.

Skilled and experienced people can use any paddle but typically use better, more expensive paddles. Cheap, heavy, badly designed paddles make it harder for new paddlers. But since they aren’t sure they want to continue in the sport they don’t want to invest much. The same dilemma exists in almost all sports. Almost no one invests in a high end Ping set of golf clubs when they are just starting out. So, mostly, new paddlers will start using clubs and find it hard to paddle well or long. Doesn’t matter what the boat is.