Video How To: Choose a Whitewater Kayaking Paddle
Choosing the right whitewater kayaking paddle is an important decision. Nolan from the Next Adventure Paddle Sports Center explains how these paddles can affect your performance, give you greater comfort, control, and allow you to spend more time on the water.
Hi. I'm Nolan. We’re here at the Next Adventure Paddle Sports Center, just going to talk to you about whitewater paddles and blade shapes.
We've got fiberglass blades that are super durable and super strong on either a straight shaft or a bent shaft that you'll see a lot of in whitewater kayaking. Having a bent shaft reduces some fatigue, whether you're doing long paddles all day or you are just doing power strokes. A lot of experienced paddlers will go both ways, so it becomes a matter of personal preference when deciding on a bent shaft or straight shaft.
Let’s focus on blade shape. This is a very common dihedral shape here on this Werner Powerhouse. On the Werner Side Kick, we have a little bit different shape. Where the blade meets the water, you get a lot of surface area. The Side Kick is a play boat paddle with a blade shape that allows the blade to dip in the water at right just the right angle. It's going to catch a lot of water on the lower edge, less here at the top. It's almost the opposite on the Powerhouse. We've got more of a pointed tip here, so on those crucial moments like you have in whitewater kayaking, when you really need to get a grip, you can get a good amount of surface area in the water.
Fiberglass is going to be the go-to material for paddlers who want something really strong, that's going to last a long time, and is fairly lightweight. For the serious weight conscious paddler, you will have something like this AT2 standard full carbon. It’s got full carbon all the way through. They've also put some foam through the middle, making it comparable to the feel of older wooden panels where you get some float. This is good for new paddlers as well as experienced paddlers. When you're practicing your roles and you need to get the paddle up towards the surface of the water through your roll, it will naturally float up that way. Same thing with your strokes, it will stay towards the surface of the water where you need it to be.
Many paddles like this will come in a standard full carbon or maybe a flexi, which will actually have more fiberglass and less carbon, which will actually give it some flex. This is most noticeable in the blade, and for instance, might have more or less flex depending on how much fiberglass is in there. Higher carbon content will give you a more efficient power stroke in general, but might give you a little bit more risk fatigue throughout the day and then you have the bent shaft to compensate for that.
When it comes to picking a big blade or a small blade think about surface area. Big blades are going to work better for bigger stronger paddlers and might serve as an inconvenience to smaller lighter paddlers. The reason being, for each stroke that you put this big blade in you are catching a lot of water. So, for the smaller paddler, they're working really hard to pull that blade through the water each time whereas for the bigger stronger paddler it's going to feel fairly easy.
Again, I'm Nolan. This has been a look at how to identify different paddle features and choose one to fit your needs. You can find all these paddles here in the shop. We're happy to tell you more about them. You can also find them on our website at https://nextadventure.net/