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 Post subject: Paddles for short woman
PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 9:06 am 
A fellow paddler of mine is going to be retiring and will be buying a folding kayak next month. I would like to give her paddles for her retirement gift. The problem is, however, that we live far from any kayaking store so will probably need to purchase them online and since she is only 5' 2" tall, I'm concerned about whether she should try paddles out first.

Two questions: 1. I am familiar with regular kayak paddles (I have Werner myself) but didn't know if folding kayaks require anything special in their paddes.

2. Do paddles for folding kayaks come in a standard length and, if not, is there a way to calculate the length needed without actually physically trying them out?

I can always get her a gift certificate but it would be way more cool to give her the actual paddles.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 1:15 pm 
lord high faltbotmeister
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Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2005 4:55 am
Posts: 575
Location: Dumfries, SW Scotland
A four-part split paddle is useful - I use a Lendal Paddlock. If the boat is going to fold, most people like the paddle to fold as well.

As for the length, that will depend largely on the width of her kayak. If you can find out what boat she is getting, and post that information here, you might get some feedback from other 5'2" paddlers about what they find suitable.

Shorter paddlers tend to need a slightly longer paddle. On the other hand, a small female will probably want a smallish blade, needing less muscle. But that will also depend on her kind of paddling - leisurely touring, serious keep-fit or whatever. (Probably not whitewater, in a folder.)

There are a lot of variables. If possible, arrange with your retailer that the paddle can be exchanged if unsuitable.

Mary

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 1:41 pm 
I know that she is looking at a Puffin II since she has several friends (including myself) that might join her kayaking. The Pakboat site lists the dimensions as # Length: 4.25 m, # Beam & Depth: 74 cm & 28 cm though it seems to me from the pictures that the forward seat falls at a slightly wider place on the kayak than the aft seat. Would that mean a different size paddle for a person in the stern (which is also where she would sit if she chooses to paddle solo)?

She would be paddling flatwater, primarily mountain lakes, though she also does occasional slow flat rivers. No white water and probably "leisurely touring" since this is her retirement gift to herself. :wink:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 4:33 pm 
lord high faltbotmeister
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Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2005 4:55 am
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Location: Dumfries, SW Scotland
Well, my boats are a Puffin Swift, beam 64 cm, and a Safari inflatable, beam 72 cm. I'm 5'5", and I use a 215cm paddle for both. Although the Safari is wider, the seat is higher, which makes it easier to reach the water, so the same length works for both. Initially I bought a couple of cheap alloy-and-plastic paddles of different sizes, to find what suited me, then bought a better paddle. I decided on 215cm, feathered 65 degrees, and the blades are Lendal Archipelago ("relaxed touring" blade). For the Puffin II, you'd probably want a length of about 220-225 cm.

Folbot sell a standard paddle of 240 cm, but their kayaks are mostly wider than the Puffins, and even then, some people find that too long. If you go on to the Folbot Forum and search on paddle length, you'll probably find some more discussion.

Amount of feather is very individual, too. Whitewater paddles are often feathered 90 degrees, but touring paddles tend to be much less; some people go as low as 45 degrees, or even unfeathered. (I presume you know whether your friend uses a right- or left-handed paddle?) And I'm assuming she prefers a straight paddle shaft, not a cranked one.

Going back to Lendal - simply because they're the makers I know best - "Paddlok" is their trademark joint for 2-part or 4-part paddles. They are easy to join or to separate, and are very solid in use. But they also have something called "VariLok". That's an adjustable centre joint. You can set the paddle to any feather you like, and you can also extend the length by up to 5 cm. That gives you a wide range of settings, but it's expensive.

Let's say you went for a 2-part Lendal paddle, 220cm, Archipelago blades, with a VariLok centre joint, in Lendal's most basic materials, which is fibreglass shaft (much nicer than alloy) and polypropylene blades. That would cost around £130 in Britain, something over $200. To make it a 4-part would need the extra joints at the blades - more cost, but more convenience in use. That would cover most of the options. But as you can see, there's a lot involved in choosing a paddle.

Mary

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 Post subject: Lendals
PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 1:02 am 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
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Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2005 12:57 am
Posts: 1225
Location: Anchorage Alaska
Another cool thing with the Lendals is the blades and shafts are all interchangeable. So if your friend feels the paddle is too long or too short, she would just need to buy a new a new shaft.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 9:30 am 
Thanks everyone. You've been very helpful. And I'll also take your advice to make sure that the retailer is willing to exchange anything I end up buying!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 1:30 am 
that glove seems to have cut off the blood to his brain. He is right about Lendal paddles though.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 4:25 am 
I would try and avoid buying 4-piece paddles, unless really, really necessary. Those that I've seen, had additional joints at the roots of the blades, so normal 2 pieces become shorter by 50 cm or less each, - which still leaves 2 shaft pieces 80 or 90 cm long (some length of the shaft goes into the blade root). I don't see any advantage in making the longest pieces 80 cm long (as opposed to 130 cm), unless for flying. But these additional joints of 4-piece paddle result in additional flutter, and sometimes are very difficult to dissemble (because they are usually not dissembled every time).


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 Post subject: Flutter and loose joints
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 10:59 am 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
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Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2005 12:57 am
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Location: Anchorage Alaska
do not happen in my Lendal. My 4 piece is as solid as a 1piece. May be just a bit heavier, but I like being able to interchange blades.

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Mariner Express ( Miruku Maru ) ( In Storage)
Innova Helios 380
Northwest Sportee (SuperBoat)
Innova Safari
Mariner I
Feathercraft Java
Nautiraid 14
Innova Sunny


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