Choosing the right paddle for your kind of canoeing is very important. You don’t want to be stuck with a paddle that does not fit your needs. But then again what do you need? Here is a guide to finding the right paddle for your water needs. This is especially true if you are looking to race with your canoe.
What are Your Needs?
First of all you have to know what your paddling needs are. Are you a family paddler? The type that uses the canoe for family trips and outings? Are you a speed paddler, needing the best paddle for racing? Or are you one that does white water rapid canoeing?
You will first have to consider your needs before going to the store to find a paddle that is just right for you. Remember that paddles are an essential part of your canoeing experience. You do not want to get stuck with inefficient and insufficient paddling equipment when you go for the waters on your canoeing trips.
Paddle Blade Shape
Your choice here is between power and rhythm. Wide blades transmit more power to the water but they are harder to use and force the paddler further over the canoe rail. The paddles with less width, however, catch less water and this translates into less push.
The paddle you choose should match your strength, size, conditioning and rhythm. You may want to try your friends’ paddles a while before deciding on a paddle width and shape. Aside from greater acceleration, larger paddles result in faster turns, and better braces.
However, large paddles are not for everyone. Some paddles, although in awe of the larger ones, feel more comfortable with the smaller paddles, which are better for those that have trouble with their rhythm with larger blades.
Blade length is also reliant on the paddler’s size and strength. Strong paddlers should stick to longer length paddles as they facilitate greater power transfer. The longer paddles measure in at 24 inches, for those who feel that this is too long for them 21 inch variants are available.
Good blades should be shaped in a way to make paddling easier and more efficient. Look for blades that have sloped shoulders. These shoulders allow the paddle to pass cleanly under the canoe during the forward stroke. The bottom should be slightly rounded, with a radius of around 7 inches.
Blade tips should allow quiet entry into the water. This increases the efficiency of the blade as it makes sure the inflatable paddle board blade’s energy is not dissipated on the entry to the water. If your blades do not have such smooth an entry into the water, you will find yourself expending extra energy to gel less results.
Straight and Bent Paddles
If you are a solo canoe enthusiast a straight paddle may be the best choice for you as straight paddles transmit more power. However, sometimes solo cadence and tandem cadence make the use of bent paddles more efficient in a canoe situation. Try both to see which fits your style of canoeing.
Test and Purchase
If possible try the paddles out before purchasing them. The unique shapes and sizes of paddles are there for a reason. And just like baseball bats, they all hit with different results. While for the beginner, these paddles do not seem all that much different, you will definitely feel the results of differing paddles as you increase in skill and experience