Wide paddle

-- Last Updated: Oct-27-10 5:03 PM EST --

I am new to Kayaking. I just picked up a Dagger Axis 10.5. I went out today and found the paddle (BB) a little weak. I am a strong man and would prefer to mov emir water with each stroke. Could someone recommend a paddle with a wide head? I plan to do mostly flat water trips. I think I would enjoy the tension a little more. Thanks.

Paddling is about 50% strength and 50% technique. The strength you probably have, the technique you won’t learn the first few times in the boat. You’ll get much more out of the paddle once you learn how, take some time to learn before you buy something different.

Bill H.

Hybrid lay up Carbon and S-glass blades(7 1/4") with carbon shaft (adjustable 10 cm ferrel). He can custom make a paddle any length and width you want. This is the best selling lay up he offers. I paid around $240 about 4 yrs ago. If you want good power in your stroke do not go any wider than 7 1/4". Full carbon will probably run around $300. Just a guess. You’ll have to check website.

Paddle Width
If you are new to the sport, it’s probably not to your advantage to start with a wide paddle just to move more water. Take your time to become familiar with your boat and paddle. Paddle width isn’t all that important. As an example, take a look at the greenland paddles that a lot of paddlers prefer. They are generally in the range of about 3.5 inches wide and they are used by some pretty strong paddlers.

I like wider paddles
I like the bite that they give. Are they faster? No, especially seeing Patrick at ONNO’s comparison. But I still like them.

What’s your budget?

Onno’s are awesome.

Move the boat
You are not trying to move water. You are trying to move the boat. With good technique, the paddle should come out of the water at essentially the same place it entered the water.

Larger Paddle or Faster Boat?

– Last Updated: Oct-22-10 11:34 AM EST –

Do you want to move faster? This Dagger is slow on flat water. If that's what you want, get a different boat.

I used to paddle a 12 foot sit on top, pretty good for its length when I got started. It came with a fairly large and powerful paddle and I liked it at the time. Several years later, I'm a little stronger and paddle better but now I use smaller paddles on the average.

If you want "bite", go for a wing type of paddle - these are the most powerful blades you can get. Even a "mid-sized" one is more than most paddlers can handle and in a boat like yours even the small wing sizes will give you more resistance than you probably want -;)

A large blade should probably have more than 700cm^2 area but the shape of the blade matters too - some spill water around the edges, others have more bite. Some catch faster, some catch slower...

For flat water moving forward fast nothing beats the wing paddles. They also help develop good technique as they tend to show you which way they want to go. For the wing paddle to work its best you want to rotate your body a lot and, unfortunately, your kayak is not conducive to that - it is so wide that you are going to hit the side of it by your feet with very little rotation -;)

As the others said, only go for a larger more powerful blade after you have developed some decent stroke technique - otherwise you are just wasting energy and may actually injure yourself overworking.

I started with a wide,heavy paddle.
It worked great in my 12’ boat. I moved up to a 17’ boat and it quickly became apparent that I had the wrong paddle and bad tecnique.

Learn to paddle correctly , then get a paddle that matches your style.

P.S. A wing paddle in a 10’ boat has got to be an oxymoron.

Paddle variables
As you get into paddling, it’s a good idea to experiment with different shapes of paddles. Avoid paddles that are too long, too heavy, or too flexible. More expensive paddles (all the way up towards $500) tend to be higher quality.

The most important paddling variable is your technique. Twist your torso every stroke, and do not follow through long in back of you with your stroke. Avoid arm paddling, no matter how strong you are. You should never have much elbow bend at all.

I prefer a large blade. Large blades do require good technique, good fitness, and some strength. Larger is not better or faster, real racers tend to use medium size blades.

You guys are so right. There is no doubt I have bad technique. I have a lot of learning to do. Your comments are a great start. I also realize the arrogance in my “strength” comment. My strength in a gym is irrelevant on the water.

I’m just going at this from scratch and with no assistance. Maybe I even bought the wrong boat. I just thought it was a well rounded boat to figure out what kind of paddling I enjoy most. I love lakes and a few slow moving streams. The Dagger Axis looks cool and feels comfortable. I considered the Pungo but just liked the Dagger style and versatility.

Thank you guys for being so helpful.

Most of us start the same way.
My 12’boat is still in the family, although I have graduated (aged) to 2 other boats and carbon fiber paddles.

I am still fairly strong,but when I started I was a horse. I have learned that , with proper technique, paddling anything improves and the chance of injury is reduced.

Thanks for listening.Enjoy the journey.

Lendal Powermaster ?
I also gravitate to the biggest paddle blades I can find. For me, the perfect paddle is one that stays where I plant it so that all of my energy is translated into moving the boat forward, not moving the paddle backward. I have Lendal Powermaster blades, and also Epic and Onno large wing blades. I also prefer a longer paddle. The Lendal is 230cm and the wings are 235cm and 245cm. These have all won me quite a few races, and they get the heart rate up quite nicely for a great workout. Every time I try a shorter paddle or smaller blades it feels like I’m pulling a toothpick through the water and going nowhere. Beware, I am a minority of one here on p-net that uses the strong back/weak mind strategy. Works for me though.

Something else to pay attention to:

– Last Updated: Oct-22-10 5:15 PM EST –

That 10.5-foot boat will only go so fast. As you increase speed, you will "hit the wall" at a speed of less than 5 miles per hour. Try as hard as you want - it won't go faster than that except by a tiny bit if you use all your strength. My first "good" boat was a 12-foot rowboat, and it moved so efficiently that I found myself trying to push my speed "past the wall" way too much of the time, until I learned to percieve what that "wall" feels like so I'd know how much energy exertion made sense. I recommend using a GPS to learn more quickly what you are dealing with in that regard.

Anyway, a boat of that length will move through the water very easily until it starts approaching its maximum practical speed. Until you get a feel for that, the temptation will be strong to try to push faster than what really makes sense, and I would just bet that's exactly what you are doing. Since you have plenty of strength you have noticed a lot of paddle slippage when pushing too hard. If that's the case, you will be able to go just a little faster with a wider blade, but I bet you'd be amazed at how tiny that speed increase will be. Once you get near the practical top speed of that boat, the resistance of the hull moving through the water (and therefore the amount of power you must produce to keep the boat moving) increases at a phenomenal rate compared to any increase in speed that you are able to achieve. I suggest that you become familiar with the speed characteristics of your boat before buying a different paddle, and as others have said, learn to paddle correctly before doing so as well.

If you ever see the term "hull speed", that's what it's about. However, in the world of long and skinny kayaks, the upper practical limit on speed (hull speed) is not nearly as pronounced, so a good paddler actually CAN make the boat go faster. For boats like that, the practical speed limit is not so much like a "wall", but more like a "ramp".

which BB paddle?
maybe what you are feeling is that you want a paddle with stiffer blades and better catch… it’s good to try various other paddles if you can, and maybe end up buying a couple different styles once you’re more certain of what you want.

As your paddling technique further develops, you’ll realize it’s a lot more about form and efficiency than brute strength. With good form you can go pretty far and fast with a “skinny” touring blade and expend very little energy on each stroke.

Having said that, the AT Columbia is a good “workout” paddle with wider blades designed for a high-angle stroke; I use one as my river stick because it works great in currents and the blades are of a very sturdy construction that hold up well against rocks.

First, find someone to teach you proper stroke technique.

Then, if you want to go faster increase your cadence.

Finally, if you still want a bigger paddle get a bigger paddle.

If you’re a strength guy you’re probably approaching paddling like lifting - grunt and rest. Try for a more fluid and continuous motion.

Kayaking is not a resistance exercise.

Compare to bicycling
If all you are interested in is exercise, then get an old fat tired bike with only one gear (high). You will get a great workout because it requires a lot of strength and energy to peddle the bike. So you can get a paddle with a very high blade area and accomplish the same thing with paddling, especially if your technique is bad. Or you could get a rowing machine. But if you want to develop paddling as a skill where you can go fast and efficiently and enjoy paddling itself then a wide paddle might not be the best choice. Even though my comments clearly have a bias I actually see nothing wrong with the equivalent of an old fat tired bike if that is your choice. But you might want to consider something else.

It’s not that I’m obsessed with speed I just want to feel some resistance. I took a lesson today and learned a lot. I’m still hoping that Axis is a good boat.

Again, thanks for all the comments you guys are awesome.

good boat for you is all that matters
The value of the boat is that it got you on the water. Still driving your first car? Only got one pair of pants? After a while you either love kayaking/canoeing or you don’t. I hated SINK’s for years. But as I paddled more and fished less, I started trying out differnet ones till I found one I liked. Now I paddle with a couple of groups when I can get a day off. Sometimes I paddle alone, but I do take precautions. All I am saying is enjoy the watercraft you have, paddle lots and don’t be suprised when you start thinking about your next one. A little experience goes a long ways towards helping decide what you are really looking for out of the sport, John

Big Blade
Paddling with a big blades has some benefits, not all of which are necessarily speed. In my experience, paddling in situations with high blade resistance (towing, upwind, big blade) provides more feedback on your stroke and therefore can actually coach you toward a better stroke.

A bigger blade will first coach you toward a shorter more vertical stroke. (Sweep the paddle too wide or too far back and it becomes a turning stroke). Next it may coach you toward involving your torso (and not just your arms).

Keep in mind that paddling a relatively short boat with a bigger blade may also “coach” you toward wanting a longer & faster boat sooner!

I’d echo the suggestion of Onno.

Werner also makes some nice large blade paddles, but notice this mention is not in the same paragraph. :wink:

I was on the water a lot today and learned a lot. With a better stroke the paddle does work well. I tried to pay a lot of attention to what the water felt like and played with how I took the paddle back out of the water. It is certainly a skill and I see why you guys fall in love with the sport. I appreciate the comparison to buying your first car. I did a lake today and look forward to trying a stream.