During my preparation for the Hawkesbury Classic I’ve been experimenting with different paddles to try to find one I like. Thanks to Sydney Harbour Kayaks I’ve been able to try a few different types, and here I’ll review each one.
The first paddle (and the one I bought with my BD Nanook) is a fibreglass BD Orca. This beast has a big blade and pushes a serious amount of water, making it an absolute powerhouse in the right hands. Not one for small people, as it puts a pretty serious strain on the shoulders, and to be honest not really right for long distances. But as a strength training aid it is magnificent. On a recent paddle with a friend he told me I was taking long, slow, powerful strokes without much thought and was absolutely flying. Great for a big man like myself… as long as I don’t have to paddle too far.
The second paddle, and the one I’ve been training with the last few weeks, is a carbon-fibre BD Archipel. Now first of all these carbon-fibre paddles are just brilliant. It is incredibly light to use and I can see why the best paddles are all made of this material. The shape of the Archipel blade is more inline with most Euro-blades and offers a good turn of power with far less resistance than the Orca. And with its gold writing on black carbon-fibre looks, it just looks damn sexy!
The third paddle, the BD Aloonaq, is inspired by traditional Greenland paddles and has a long flat and very narrow blade. The great thing about this paddle is that it pushes far less water and therefore puts a lot less strain on the shoulders. This would be ideal for people with any joint complaints.
For my test paddle today I had three different feelings using this paddle. For the first third of the paddle I was frankly disappointed with the lack of power (compared to the previous two paddles) and the fair bit of flutter. This of course suggests a problem with the engine rather than the blade! Anyway, for the second third of the paddle, once I had formed the right rhythm and technique, I started to really enjoy its ease of use during my kayak on the Harbour. I was starting to catch a fair bit of water with the blade and could feel like I was getting alot of efficiency from it. By the third third of the paddle I was starting to get tired from the days paddling and started to REALLY appreciate how easy it is to use!
In conclusion, I liked them all for different reasons. For short paddles the BD Orca is great – a powerful brute that loves to gather speed. For general paddling the carbon-fibre BD Archipel is hard to go past. Light, powerful, and a pleasure to use. Plus you look good – haha! The BD Aloonaq would make a great spare paddle, as its narrow profile makes it easy to store on-deck and it is great to have when you are getting tired. And ideally, I’d like them all in carbon-fibre thanks! Happy paddles people – FP