There are different types of kayaks available in the market today. These kayaks come in two basic designs, sit in kayaks and a sit on top kayaks. Sit in kayaks have a cock pit where the paddler sits and paddles from. Sit on top kayaks assume the design of a surf board.
Unlike the sit inside kayaks, sit on top kayaks have an open top that allows the paddler freedom of movement on the kayak. Both designs have gained popularity and different kayakers chose them for different purposes such as fishing, recreation, adventures, surfing and racing.
Kayaks require human effort to propel them. Unlike motorised boats which have engines, kayaks are propelled by use of paddles. These paddles come in different forms, appearance, feel and performances. Every kayaker has a certain type of paddle that works out best for them. These paddles are designed for use in different kayaks and environments.
One of the most common types of kayak paddle is the European style kayak paddle. These paddles were originally designed by European white water paddlers to help them navigate in the white water rapids.
They later gained a lot of popularity among sea touring kayakers across the globe. Nowadays, they are the most popular type of kayak paddle for paddling in rough waters although they can also be used in calm waters. The large blades enable paddlers to counter resistance of the water.
These paddles are characterised by long slim shafts that are connected to large, curved blades. Some of the European style kayak paddles have straight shafts while others have bent shafts. Paddlers grab the paddle at the bent points to enable them reduce the amount of pressure on their wrists.
European style kayak paddles are available in one, two and four piece designs. One piece designs are the strongest but they are bulky to transport. Two piece designs have a joint at the centre where a paddler can break them into two separate shafts.
Four pieces on the other hand have a joint at the centre of the shaft and at the end where there are blades. A paddler can remove and adjust the shaft together with the blades.
The Greenland paddle is another common type of kayak paddle. These paddles were designed by the indigenous people of the Greenland. They feature relatively short shafts, with long and slim blades.
These paddles were designed for use on more calm waters and can be used in water bodies such as in ponds and in lakes. The small blades make them unsuitable for rough waters and rapids. These paddles are best suited for sit on top kayaks. Various sporting and fishing kayaks such as sport pescador can easily be propelled by the paddles.
Aleutian style kayak paddles is another set mostly preferred by paddlers in sit on top kayaks. They originate from the indigenous people of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. These paddles feature long slim blades with a leaf shaped profile with pointed tips. They provide the best performance in calm waters and are commonly used for sport kayaking.