Paddle Choice for Crossover Kayak

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Maverick777
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Paddle Choice for Crossover Kayak

Post by Maverick777 »

Hi,

I quite like the look of the Celtic Paddles. Based purely on the aesthetic look, which might not make it the perfect choice. I’m looking to spend sub £200.00. It would be mainly used on the River Wye or paddling up and down from Lucksall near Mordiford, Hereford. I’m 6’2 and I use a Dagger Katana Croosover Kayak. L= 10.4 W=27.25”/69cm. Celtic Paddles suggested 208 - 218 Leverlok, which did not seem that specific on which paddle, just the length and the locking system.

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Jim
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Re: Paddle Choice for Crossover Kayak

Post by Jim »

I had no idea Katana's were that wide, could almost be a canoe, but even so, and given your height, 208-218 seems a little long to me.

Boat width is not everything shape and height of deck and type of paddling make a difference. I use 198cm paddles in a 61cm wide slalom kayak, 208cm paddles in my WWR (which although 60cm at the wide point is less than 50cm at the cockpit) and 210cm in my 52cm wide sea kayak. I would think the Katana deck is low enough that you would probably want to be in the 205-210 range, possibly even shorter, but you might need a bit extra due to the width.

In terms of blade shape, sounds like you are mainly going to be cruisy touring kind of stuff, to be honest even if you go playing in the rapids at Symonds Yat you won't really need a full on whitewater blade, but it is kind of hard to work out what is what from the website, especially since they don;t list blade area for most blades. Fortunately I was quite familiar with the range when they were made by Lendal.

I used to use Kinetic Xti and Reef (was called Mystik back then) blades for steep WW, these have somewhere between 700 and 750cm^2 area and aggressive tip geometry - you don't want either of these! They are for delivering high power for normally short periods.
I never really liked the Mania shape, but principally because it was only available in heavy SF construction, it may be a better plan for you, but probably the Fusion (which is new, but looks a lot like the mania) could be a good choice, probably somewhere in the 650-700cm^2 range, I don't know.
Also, because you will mostly be touring, the sea touring range(s) are worth a look. I think the difference between classic and pro is materials, the same blade shapes are available in each, and i would steer you towards the Kinetic touring in either 600 or 650cm^2 size. The Archipelago is in this size range but is a really old design meant for 'low angle' paddling where sea paddlers would keep the paddle low to the water in strong winds, but these days most just use high angle paddling whatever the weather, and if you get any tuition this is the style you will be taught, so forget the Archipelago. The Nordkapp and 700 kinetic touring are probably too big for you. I don't see the Powermaster listed, that was a race blade that you really want to steer clear of!

Blade area is something which people have different opinions about, these days I would probably say that unless you train/work out specifically to go paddling, blades more than 700cm^2 are probably too big for you, and counterintutively, if you don't have the strength to set them properly they can flutter and feel less stable in the water than a smaller blade, so ideally for pootling about 600 or 650cm is likely to be better.

In terms of material, I'm a carbon snob! Well, I like my paddles light and stiff anyway. I would strongly recommend against the SF blades, and in the past I would have advised against the N12 in favour of Carbon/N12 blades, but it looks like Celtic are not using a Carbon/N12 mix (might be worth phoning to ask, maybe the black N12 ones are carbon reinforced). Also Celtic don't offer fibreglass blades only carbon which is out of your price range, so probably Nylon (N12) is your best bet in the current range.

For the shaft, fibreglass is a little softer and more gentle on your joints, personally I like a stiff G1F carbon shaft (contains some glass) but for occasional touring a fibreglass shaft is likely to be more suitable.

So in summary - Blade 600 or 650 cm^2 (Kinetic touring or Fusion probably best options) in N12 (or carbon/N12 if they do it), fibreglass 2 or 4 piece shaft with leverlock centre joint, and I would suggest 205-215 rather than 208-218 but either way you will have a range to experiment with.

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Re: Paddle Choice for Crossover Kayak

Post by Maverick777 »

Hi Jim,

Thanks for the detailed information. Other Celtic. What other blades would you recommend please....if you have the time.

Kind Regards Gary

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Re: Paddle Choice for Crossover Kayak

Post by Jim »

Hmm, I do so much racing (well, training for racing) that I have forgotten what other paddles I used to use (apart from the Lendals, which I have used since about 2000)!

VE have just done a deal to come back through Palm - I'm not sure what their blade area is but they will probably offer fibreglass blades and fibreglass shafts as well as all carbon and options of carbon and glass. A fairly aggressive blade shape I think, to be honest I've only used their canoe/C1 paddle, but the kayak paddle might suit you.

Werner used to do glass blades on glass shafts and I presume they still do although I mostly hear people talking about the carbon versions these days. I think they probably describe their blade options quite well (not sure if they list areas), the touring blades used to be the Shuna and the Corryvreckan but I can't remember which was the least aggressive and they may have moved to new models by now. They do a lot of WW and playboating blades but I don't know the differences these days.

AT used to have a similar construction to Werner, but again I don't know what their range is.

All the other makes that pop into my head are race paddles (slalom or WWR/flat water) - the paddle I use the most these days (as in almost every day) is a Jantex Gamma Small, but thats over £300 of carbon fibre wing paddle and a bit on the advanced/aggressive/large size (they make 2 larger sizes which are too big for me!).

In the ideal world it would be possible to demo lots of paddles back to back and choose the ones you like best, its rarely possible though.

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Re: Paddle Choice for Crossover Kayak

Post by Maverick777 »

Hi,

I’ve acquired this paddle. Which I think is a race paddle. Flite 6 made in New Zealand Length = 220 cm’s. Would this be too drastic for my use. What do you think it’s worth?
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Re: Paddle Choice for Crossover Kayak

Post by Jim »

Yes, that's a wing paddle for racing. Looks like it says Descente Paddle on the sticker - does it have metal tips?

Descent/descente racing is a southern hemisphere thing similar to WWR, but they usually use boats more like marathon boats or surf skis and I think have longer courses than are normal for WWR, they tend to race down rapids and weirs. If it is intended for descent paddling, it would probably also be suitable for WWR if it has metal tips, or sprint or marathon racing if not. Some WWR paddlers do use paddles without metal tips, but most manufacturers offer metal tips as an option. The Jantex I actually use was secondhand from someone who bought it specifically for a descent race in South Africa and hadn't used it since, but I use it for WWR and sea kayaking.

Is it suitable for you?
Well, you don't have to race to use a wing paddle, some tourers use them too. You might be unique paddling a crossover kayak with them, but it is actually not entirely unreasonable.
If the blade size is bigger than the smallest for that model, probably not.
If it is a small blade, then depending on your goals and since you already have it, maybe.
If you are regularly covering distance and want to take some time to learn to paddle efficiently it could be useful, if you are just pottering around watching wildlife and exploring the river bank and such, maybe not. For playing in rapids, definitely not.
Contrary to popular belief you can do any stroke with a wing paddle that you can with a flat paddle (flat encompassing curved and dihedral paddles that aren't wing whaped), but it can feel quite odd for some of them, and you could certainly get caught out and fall in as a result. I have rolled with wing paddles, it really isn't a big deal as some people think.
220 is a long size for a powerful paddle so even if it is a suitable size blade and may suit your intentions, you might want to look at how the blades are glued in, or options for retro-fitting an adjustable centre joint.

Paddling with a wing paddle really requires, and even encourages, good forward paddling technique which may be quite different to whatever you have already picked up. After 20 odd years of paddling I was surprised how much I had to improve in my basic technique, but now that I have, I use it with all kinds of paddle.

To see if you want to take the time learning good forward paddling technique I'd recommend watching Ivan Lawlers lockdown video series - it is mainly focussed on drills and exercises for race paddlers to stay in shape whilst not able to get on the water, but Ivan is really into making the land drills as close as possible to the actions that are used in the boat, so there are loads of great concepts in them. Obviously he is gearing it towards flat water racing boats where your knees stick up in the middle of the cockpit so those of us engaging our kees with the deck have make some adjustment in the leg work to allow for our knees being lower to start with, but it is still a really important element. If this looks like too much to think about and you are happy just muddling along, probably the wing paddle isn't for you. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8KuVU ... FmTwkIyOKA
What I would say, is that if you get used to using wings, going back to 'flat' paddles feels quite odd - it is amazing how much grip and stability a wing paddle can give you when set properly. The other thing is, setting the paddle (or 'the catch') is quite important and quite surprising when you first start to really hit it hard - the blade really wants to push back at you and it can take a lot of effort to get it fully into the water.

Either way, I'm guessing you will want to have a play with them before deciding what to do. Top tip is not to grip the shaft too tight, the blade will tend to find its own position so certainly in the first few strokes try to let the shaft rotate in your hand until you get a feel for the position that lets it pull smoothly. Also if you try pulling straight back on it, you may notice it slices slightly away from the boat - this is normal and once you start paddling with trunk rotation instead of pulling with your arms this is the natural path due to the rotation and you will stop noticing it.

If you decide they really aren't for you, I don't know that brand/model but paddles like that are usually £300-£350 new and you might get 2/3 of that secondhand in good condition, maybe more if really excellent, but possibly less if others don't recognise the brand. There are wing paddles on Ivans website: https://www.ultimatekayaks.co.uk/index.asp and Marsport website: https://www.marsport.co.uk/racing and if you contact them they might know more about your paddle and be able to advise whether it is likely to be at all suitable for your level of experience. I have a hunch it will turn out to be bigger than I reccommended before.

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