Paddles come in a variety of lengths, blade size, blade shapes and of course weight. There are 4 primary types of paddles; wing, flat blade, canoe and dragon boating paddles.
It is generally recommended you start off with a shorter paddle of between 205-214 depending on strength and the craft chosen.
Teardrop paddles are the most popular paddles for competitive flat water racing and of late ski racers. These generally range in length from 205-220cm. These paddles require a stroke rate of between 70-90 strokes per minute to be most efficient. The angle of entry of the blade needs to be precise for the paddler to have a strong power phase. Technique/precise blade placement is key to generating optimal and sustainable power.
Depending on the paddle brand/model chosen will determine how “forgiving” they are with regards to technique. It’s therefore recommended if you are going to chose a tear drop paddle that you have some professional coaching in order to develop good technique.
Recommended use: K1, K2, K4, TK1, TK2, surf ski’s.
Popular Examples: Meek B, Braca IV, Jantex Gamma.
The parallel edge blade paddles have a different power profile than the teardrop paddle. Your able to generate power most of the way through the stoke. It’s often refereed to as being a more stable paddle in the water (especially with poor technique) and may be better suited to sea conditions or those who prefer a long but slower strokes.
Recommended use: K1, K2, K4, TK1, TK2, surf ski’s
Popular Examples: Meek G, and Braca V.
These are common with recreational paddlers as they are easy to use, and cheap. You can have a slow stroke rate – they are heavier but more durable. They are generally long i.e. over 220cm.
Recommended use: Recreational craft.
These are a flat blade due to the array of stroke types a slalom paddler needs in his/her arsenal in order to negotiate the rapids. The paddle is used to steer the boat.
Recommended use: Slalom only
A rough guide is as follows