Welcome to the 2017 season

Our website will shortly be updated so that you can book and pay for your paddling online. Until then, reach us by phone, or by email at enquiries@chesterkayakhire.co.uk, where there will always be a prompt and friendly reply. See you on the river soon!

Tel: 01244 422007

The ins and outs of kayak paddles

When you go on a kayaking trip, the one thing you absolutely cannot do without – apart from the kayak, of course – is a good set of paddles.

Kayak paddles come in a number of styles and can be constructed out of a diverse range of materials. There are also different paddles for different purposes, so whether you are going kayaking in Chester or exploring the wilderness of Canada, it always pays to know a little about kayak paddles, so that you can be prepared for any eventuality. Here’s a brief summary of all you need to know about kayak paddles:

Materials

Plastic paddles

Paddles made from plastic are the cheapest you can find. They are typically given to beginners who are new to kayaking, because it is much less problematic if they are lost or damaged.

Carbon and Kevlar paddles

For more experienced kayak enthusiasts, carbon or Kevlar paddles are much more common. They tend to be a lot lighter than plastic kayak paddles and they are much hardier too, standing up to a lot more wear and tear than the average plastic paddle ever would.

Typically, they are used by more serious kayakers and those who are navigating through intrepid conditions.

Wooden paddles

Wooden paddles are a lot heavier than plastic, carbon and Kevlar paddles, but they are a lot more attractive and much more tactile. Fans of tradition are usually the ones most likely to go for wooden varieties.

Shape

Kayak paddles are available in a variety of shapes.

Flat paddles

The most basic ones are flat paddles, which are good enough for simply pushing water, and are generally used for recreational purposes because they are inexpensive and effective at moving a kayak around.

Curved or winged paddles

As they are better at scooping water than flat paddles, winged or curved varieties work more quickly. They are also more powerful, and because the winged shape enables them to move upward, they help the kayaker’s strokes to be far more efficient.

Feathering

Paddles that are feathered are very useful when navigating the water in blustery conditions. The blades of the paddles are individuals set perpendicular to each other, which enables them to cut through the air and keep the kayak raised. This makes each stroke easier on the arm and faster to perform.

The shaft

All kayak paddles, of course, have a shaft. However, the shaft of each set can vary greatly. The kind you are most likely to come across is a straight one, but this has sometimes been known to cause strain of the wrists of the paddler, which is why it is also possible to purchase paddles with bent shafts, which generally make for an easier grip.

Different shaft materials also have different effects on the paddler, with carbon increasing strain but improving stroke power, and plastic increasing the comfort of the wrist, but producing a less efficient stroke.

At the end of the day, one must simply weigh up the pros and cons of each kayak paddle and its features before making a decision on which one to use.