Choosing the right paddle can be every bit as important as choosing the right boat!
A larger blade tends to be associated with a more aggressive style of paddling and is primarily used in more of a high-angle stroke. High-angle paddles tend to be shorter based on the angle of entry into the water. While the larger blade high-angle paddle does give more “bite” and quicker acceleration, it does burn more energy and takes some practice getting used to or maintaining for longer periods of time. So the trade off for a stronger more efficient forward stroke is a higher output of energy.
A smaller blade is more common for the average flat water paddler whether for longer distance touring, light touring, or calmer general recreational paddling. A smaller blade is more commonly used with a medium to low-angle stroke and is often refereed to as a less aggressive style of paddling. Less blade will have less “bite” and therefore makes paddling for longer periods of time easier. It can also relieve some of the strain on joints as it causes less “torque.”
In addition to personal preference and paddling style, choosing the right paddle also depends on paddler size (primarily height), as well as boat style and shape/size. Many paddler manufacturers have helpful info on their web sites about choosing a good paddle size. And of course a trip or phone call to ACK can help point you in the right direction as well!
Not unlike the skeg vs. rudder argument, it’s easy to get overloaded on other people’s opinions about paddle length, style, etc… which is why many experienced paddlers own more than one paddle!
ACK stocks, rents, and demos paddles for kayak, canoe, and SUP from these fine manufacturers:
Touring | Recreational | Whitewater | Canoe | SUP | Outrigger | Kids
Touring | Recreational | Whitewater | Canoe | SUP | Kids
Touring | Recreational | Canoe | Kids
Canoe | Kids
Handmade locally with custom options