Why Are Kayak Paddles Offset?

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Kayaking is a great outdoor activity that doesn’t require a big investment and can provide you with a lot of fun and hours of enjoyment. Whether you prefer spending time in nature alone or with a group of people, kayaking is the way to go.

Apart from being an essential part of your fishing trip, it can enrich your hunting and wildlife photography experience as well. Not to forget, wherever you feel tired of the busy urban life and you want to get a break, it will be as easy as sitting down in your kayak and going for a paddle.

There are a number of things you should consider when investing in a kayak. Apart from the price range, the type, and the color (visibility and camouflage), you will need to know a thing or two about the kayak paddles. 

Unless you want to solely rely on wind conditions for your kayak’s movement, learning how to use a paddle is a must.

Still, there is nothing to worry about as getting a grip on how to hold the paddle just requires you to know a few essential tips. There is one thing that you need to be aware of and that is that paddles should always be feathered the right way.

But what is paddle feathering and how does it affect your kayaking experience? Let’s take a look.

Why is Paddle Feathering Important?

Adjusting the paddle feathering means that you will be adjusting the left and right ferrule at an angle, and not in a straight direction. Different paddles allow different ferrule systems – what you should be looking for is those that offer offsetting between 0 and 60 degrees.

But is offsetting paddles a must? The short answer is no, but there are many situations where it is recommended to do so.

Starting off with harsh weather conditions, if you are facing strong winds, adjusting the ferrule to be flat instead of turned at an angle is the best way to skip wind resistance.

Along with that, experienced kayakers say that feathering paddles will provide you with a more comfortable grip that is essential if you are paddling for longer trips.

Last but not least, if you engage in a kayak tournament, you want to max out on your speed and efficiency, and offsetting your paddles might be the best way to do so.

Why Are Kayak Paddles Offset - hold feathered - yourkayakadventures

How to Hold a Feathered Paddle

There are a number of benefits to using a feathered paddle, but they are not something you can experience unless you know the right technique of how to hold an offset paddle.

First, you should know that the lower edge is shorter than the power face, thus you should always check if you are holding your paddle the right way round. If you are having problems with smooth water traveling, chances are you are holding it upside down.

Although the narrow grip paddle is your best bet if you are in for a long kayaking trip, the one that suits your shoulder and elbow width is perfect for fast and efficient paddling.

Your grip should never be too tight and make sure that your right hand is the guiding one – keep it fixed while the left one remains loose and open for alterations. The main idea of maximizing the feathered paddle movement is to slice the air by rotating the blade in the opposite direction.

Things You Should Consider

If you are just beginning and kayaking is not your area of expertise, you should consult about the feathering angle with people that have more experience. 

At first, it might not seem comfortable as feathered paddles put more strain on your wrists and the technique itself does take some time to be mastered.

That is why your best bet is to try it on a perfect day with little wind, and once you get a grip of it to go ahead and enjoy all the benefits that offset paddling can come with in windy conditions.

While it is not a technique that you need to know if you are interested in participating in certain competitions or becoming a part of a kayaking club, feather paddling is a great way to improve your skills and paddle efficiently.

Final Verdict

As we mentioned above, kayaking is a versatile activity that you can enjoy in different environments doing different activities such as bird watching, fishing, or lazy evening paddling.

Mastering the art of feather paddling is going to go a long way in improving your kayaking experience.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments
Tyler Johnson - February 10, 2020

That’s good to know that offsetting the paddles would make them more comfortable for long trips. I am considering taking my kids on a kayaking trip this summer, and it would be nice to be able to go as far as possible. I should take a look into getting some offset paddles for the trip if we decide to do that this summer.

    Kayaker - March 31, 2020

    Hi Tyler, Thanks for leaving a comment. Remember that offsetting your paddles has a learning curve and they only truly shine in windy conditions. Have fun with your kids and stay safe.


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