S ea Kayaking Skills and Adventures, Ltd.

Quick Class

Topic:   Paddle Selection QC-0509
Resource: Kayak Paddle Selection
Paddle Length

There is much variability in paddles. SKSA has developed a basic paddle guide to help familiarize the novice with paddle principles. Care of your paddle is critical to reliable operation. Better paddles are not designed to press or pry against anything but water. Rinse your paddle with fresh water after use, especially the connector area of a split shaft paddle.


What factors are important in selecting a paddle?


The most basic factor, length, depends on your type of boat, your shaft angle and paddling experience. Blade shape depends greatly on the type of paddling you intend to do. Feather angle is a personal preference. Weight generally corellates inversely to price and the degree of care required to maintain the paddle.


Is it true that "feather" is important in windy conditions?


Feather is the angle between the two blades of the paddle. If there is a large feather, it is true that the blade not in the water tends to slice through the air. However, this offers advantage only when paddling upwind and is disadvantageous in a cross wind. Feather is more important in developing good paddling technique and mitigating repetitive stress.

Advanced Concepts:   You may want to get more information on the following:
  • Blade shapes: touring, racing, surf, slalom, rodeo.
  • Blade materials: wood, metal, polypropylene, fiberglass, carbon fiber.
  • Shaft Materials: wood, metal, fiberglass, carbon/kevlar.
  • Shaft type: split, fixed, variable, selectable, crank.

Please contact us with feedback or questions on this lesson.

Copyright 2000 by SKSA-Ltd. All rights reserved.