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Resized Kayak Paddle Blade

beekeeper

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2009
1,442
13
#1
After disappointed performance of my Greenland paddle, I am trying another idea. All my plastic paddles seem to be 7" to 7.5" wide by 16"+ long. For my usage I'm thinking less surface area should work better. Instead of investing the time and work to build one, I bought a cheap paddle and modified it.
7.25"
IMG_4385.JPG


Reduced it to 6.25" wide.
IMG_4391.JPG

Compare
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beekeeper

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2009
1,442
13
#3
$26.00 clunker from Academy Sports. My budget (Mrs. Bee) does not allow me to experiment on carbon fiber ($).
Easier to alter the plastic one than building from wood. If it does not work out no big loss.
 

beekeeper

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2009
1,442
13
#5
I have used this paddle one time and like it. It will take several more trips to know how it works under different conditions.
Seems to me paddles are like boats. None are perfect for every condition or usage. Best we can do is pick one that works best for our use/needs.
Hard to describe the differences, but it takes less effort to make a stroke. The cadence has to increase to make equal speed. Not so fast as to feel rushed, but just not as leisurely. It was easier to make one handed corrective strokes while fishing because of the less resistance.
 

beekeeper

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2009
1,442
13
#6
I decided to lengthen this paddle like the "canoe double paddle I have been using. The second one from the right is my normal every day paddle. The one on the right is my granddaughter's shown for comparison.
IMG_4563.JPG

I have only used it on one trip but it works well. The slimmer blade reduces the effort need per stroke and seems to cause less side to side movement to the boat.
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Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
13,033
73
81
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
#7
Interesting, JD. I watched an interesting documentary on Canadian TV a couple of evenings ago, one of the "Nature of Things" series. They were comparing olympic records and atheletes of today, and from as far back as the 30's. Records of performance continually creep into better territory. "Are atheletes getting better?"

Turns out that, when they put today's athelete into yesterday's technology, there was only a very slight improvement in the athelete. They laid that to better, more knowledgeable training and coaching. Technology, on the other hand, has what's really been moving firward.

Using the kayak and paddle of an olympian of 40 or so years ago, todays champion was able to only perform as the athelete did then. The newer kayak was much more hydrodynamically clean, with much less drag. The paddle he used simply dud not produce the thrust of modern paddles. The paddles that you and I can buy today have greatly benefitted from that design knowledge.

But, they don't help us to catch fish any better. Anyway, not me.
 

beekeeper

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2009
1,442
13
#8
A good paddle or boat design may help us catch more fish or not. I have learned there are so many variables in fishing and/or boating that absolutes seldom exist. Olympian kayaking may narrow the field of needs to the point of making an improvement in design possible. That does not mean that would be the best choice for other conditions or situations.
Sometimes our skill level and/or needs has to be such that we can take advantage of the improvements. A paddle or boat design that is capable of doing 5 miles an hour is of little advantage to me if I am only capable of doing 4 mph.
I have been totally intrigued with all the aspects boat building since my first one. It fascinates me how they have evolved because of so many factors like materials available, builders skill, location, tasks, esthetics,etc.
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
13,033
73
81
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
#9
Like you, the evolutions of materials interests me. Hulls made of molded carbin fibers are smoother than our wooden hulls. Less drag means less work to go, say, 3-4 mph, and ability to go faster than a wooden hull.

But frankly, I'm often found to be not paddling, but gawking at goslings, belted kingfishers, wood ducks, birch trees, mink, bald eagles, etc. Or, just flicking water over onto a nearby buddy. THEN more speed mkght be nice. But, if bubbles go downstream at speed of current, I'm seldom doing more than a bubble and a half worth of speed anyway. There's too much to see.

If you eant a psddle with less resistance, an Inuit paddle might be useful for you? Might also be handy in close maneuvering too.
 

beekeeper

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2009
1,442
13
#10
To me it is almost wrong to use "fast" and "paddle" in the same discussion. "Fast" calls for a motor. Fast means "easier" to me when discussing our paddle powered wooden boats.
I tried the Greenland type paddles and did not become a fan. May have been too little resistance. May work well for continues paddling over long distances.
Conventional wisdom probably says I should use a shorter, wider paddle with near vertical strokes close to the boat. I have tried that also. Since there is very little conventional about me I'm looking for something better for me. The longer paddles I have been trying leave little or no water drips in the boat. They also make turning the boat easier. Two features that trump a few tenths mile per hour. I just need to get back on the water and test, test, test (ie. fish more).
 
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Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
13,033
73
81
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
#11
My experience with the Inuit paddle mirrors yours. "Insufficient” the kindest word I can think of to describe them. I'm thinking that, when all you have available is a bit of driftwood and animal bones, ANY paddle is welcome.

I prefer a blade that spoons inward both from side to side, AND end to end. The more grip - the better. If it's too much grip for my arms or shoulders, I just pull less. On several notable occurrences, I was VERY glad that my paddle had all of the grip that it did, and wanted even more at the time. Not on all strokes, but once in a while.
 
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