I’m relatively new to kayaking… but have a solid amount of experience in white water now. I’ve done a bunch of flatwater rec trips on larger lakes where wind brings in some challenges.
Anyways, while taking friends out to paddle, I’ve had to resort to using my white water paddles from time to time… and it has been both my girlfriend and I’s experience that we prefer to use these paddles. They’re a bit shorter (197 and 200cm) but we just dig them.
Is there some advantage to the standard touring paddles we’re missing? I’ve got a nicer 220cm carbon fiber touring paddle, and I just don’t dig it as much.
Go with what’s comfortable for you
In broad and general terms:
WW paddles are heavier and stronger. For long distance lighter is better.
WW paddles have bigger blades and a stronger “catch” for those “I need to move the boat NOW!” moments that happen in white water. For long distance touring that extra effort on every stroke may become tiring.
Neither of those factors is a big deal if all you are doing lily-dipping trips.
If you eventually get into longer touring trips you should think about finding a shorter touring paddle that’s comfortable for you.
But for now, if your WW paddles work for you then go have fun.
I use a 200cm ww and a 210cm touring
I should probably stop wasting money on two different types of paddles.
Paddled a solid distance this weekend
Yeah, I just did 15 miles this past weekend with an AT Eddy paddle for rec/touring usage on a river, spots of quick water. It is significantly lighter than the cheap-o aluminum ones people use, but ball park comparable to the carbon fiber Werner touring paddles I have… Interesting!
I did finally notice a difference this weekend. In high winds the moderate feather (15degrees) and large blade size resulted in catching notable amounts of wind. Other than that though… I think I’ll be using WW paddles a lot more often!
Rethink blade size on touring paddles
You may be working with a larger blade size with your touring paddle than is suited for you. Speed is about cadence, and you might have a higher one from the WW time, In that case, a smaller touring blade could be a better fit for you.
Being tall, I use 206 cm for whitewater
and I find that comfortable for my touring kayak as well.
I made the same discovery using a shorter surfing paddle to paddle on a 13 mile trip in a seakayak. Since then I use 197 cm with slightly smaller blades set up all the time.
Look into having a short Onno paddle made that will be lighter and faster. You can also add slightly smaller blades that work great. Email Patrick at Onno and he can get you set up with a shorter paddle that works really well.