Dear Kayak Yak
I'm new to kayaking and I get confused by all the different kinds of paddles and blades. Can you offer a short paddle primer?
Baffled in Banff
One paddle primer coming up!
This is what a conventional paddle looks like. While there is some variation in the blade shape, most paddles look like this. Some expedition paddlers prefer longer and thinner blades, while some whitewater paddlers like shorter and wider blades.
There can be even more variation, like this wing paddle...
...but most conventional paddles have the same basic look.
Then there's the more traditional Greenland paddle.
This paddle is usually made from wood and features a long but very thin blade. Generally shorter than a conventional paddle, it is surprisingly efficient. Many Greenland paddlers swear by them and would never go back to a conventional paddle.
Then there's the Canadian paddle.
This paddle is similar to the Greenland paddle in that it is made from wood (although new versions made from graphite are now on the market). The hook of the blade allows for more efficient paddling, and should allow for a harder shot from the point and more goal scoring.