Frequently Asked Questions | Epic Kayaks Australia

Can you give me advice on how to choose a kayak

What is the difference between your different boat constructions?

What is the difference between the L, XL, XXL ICF boats?

Why did you place the rudder at the stern of your sprint boats?

Should I get the V10 or V10L?

What is your new rudder system?

Should I get the Medium (Burgundy) or Stiff (Blue) shaft with my Mid Wing paddle?<

I currently use a 230 cm paddle. Why are you recommending a much shorter paddle? <

My Length-Lock connection slips. How can I prevent this?

How does paddle shaft flex affect performance?

Looking for more speed? A bigger paddle is not always the answer.

Which paddle is right for me ?

What are the advantages of a wing paddle ?

How do I install a weed deflector ?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a rudder ?

 

 

 


Can you give me advice on how to choose a kayak

In today's world there is a kayak designed to fit almost any recreational need. There are kayaks for white water, placid water, ocean waves, sit in side kayaks, sit on top kayaks, sea/touring kayaks, Olympic racing kayaks, fishing kayaks, marathon kayaks and ocean racing kayaks, kayaks for one person and kayaks for two. Whew! With so many options where does one begin? The best answer is to try before you buy! Go on a guided tour from a local kayak outfitter, participate in a demo day held by kayak retailers, or visit your local kayak shop and talk about paddling.

In a perfect world all kayaks that are used in open waters; ponds, lakes, estuaries and oceans should have positive flotation in the bow and stern of the kayak. Two of the best ways to insure positive flotation are with bulkheads, which create water tight compartments at the front and back of the kayak and will keep your kayak floating even if the cockpit is full of water, or with flotation bags that are placed and secured in the front and back of the kayak that perform as bulkheads in keeping the kayak from sinking. The need for positive flotation in a sit on top kayak is not essential since they are built as an airtight pontoon and will not sink if you fall off.

Proper outfitting for touring kayaks used in open water should include safety lines around the perimeter of the deck that allow you to grab and stay with the kayak in case you fall out or off. For a sit in kayak, a crisscrossing arrangement of thick elastic deck lines behind the cockpit is essential since this is where you secure your paddle when performing a paddle float self rescue in the event of a capsize. A good specialty outdoor paddle shop or outfitter can give instruction in these important safety aspects of kayaking.

Foot braces that are adjustable are an important feature so that you can rest your feet comfortably in the kayak against a proper support. In addition, a good seat and back rest will help you to sit upright when paddling and make you feel and look good on the water. In kayaks that are 12 ft. long or shorter the back rest is usually very substantial. Kayaks that are longer than 12 ft. usually have a lower lumbar support back band that allows greater freedom of movement for the paddler.

Most experts in the kayak world agree that a kayak under 12 ft in length does not go very well in a straight line when paddling open water, so, look for a kayak that is known to track well (go in a straight line). These kayaks will almost always be 12 feet long whether they are sit in kayaks or sit on top kayaks. They are usually designed without rudders or skegs and are called recreational kayaks as opposed to the longer kayaks that are called touring or sea kayaks. White water kayaks are specifically designed to be paddled in rivers with fast currents and whitewater rapids. Whitewater kayaks are not used to paddle coastal areas, large lakes, lazy rivers and oceans.

Some kayaks are equipped with foot controlled rudders that assist you in staying on course. These are often found in touring/sea kayaks over 12 ft. A common misconception is that rudders are used for steering a kayak, while rudders can be used for casual steering to the left and right, rudders are actually designed to help keep you going straight when there are currents, wind and wave action effecting your travel.

A popular activity with touring/sea kayaks is self sustained travel along coastal areas, oceans, estuaries or down lazy rivers with no whitewater. These touring/sea kayaks have hatches in the deck that allow for a week or two worth of groceries, fine libations and all your camping gear. Another popular activity with touring/sea kayaks is fitness paddling and racing. The longer the water line length and a narrow beam (or width) generally means more speed with your double blade paddle. Kayaking for fitness is exciting, cruising along with dolphins is fun, and you will learn to sprint if you kayak in gator territory.

Fishing kayaks are very popular and allow you to sneak up on your fish with all your favorite rods, bait and tackle and are much less expensive than a power boat to operate. In the southeast fishing kayaks are usually sit on top models that allow you to get in and out easily in shallow water.

Kayaking is a wonderful life time sport and can be almost anything you want it to be, floating down a river leisurely dipping your paddle in and out of the water basking in the sun. Shooting down the rapids in class I to V whitewater. Racing long or short distances over the water or letting the miles glide under the hull of your touring kayak as you journey to your next destination. Paddle to your favorite fishing spot and bringing home the “fish for dinner”. Some kayaks make great photo platforms for wildlife photographers allowing close encounters with wildlife and marine mammals.

Kayaks are made from different materials:
1.) Polyethylene which is almost an indestructible plastic used in all types of kayaks, the major drawback with this material is the heavy weight.
2.) Thermoplastics- which are used by some manufacturers in short recreational kayaks and some touring kayaks are lighter than polyethylene but not known for being very durable and difficult or impossible to repair.
3.) Fiberglass is used in touring/sea kayaks and is lighter than polyethylene, easily repaired, very durable and gives better performance
4.) Kevlar also used in touring/sea kayaks not because it is bullet proof but because it is lighter than fiberglass and has the same durability and ease in repair.
5.) Carbon Fiber is the ultimate in lightness, an 18 ft long touring kayak can weigh 36lbs! This material gives great performance and is very tough and is easily repaired contrary to wide spread rumor to that it is difficult to work with.
All kayaks are easily transported on the roof of your car, SUV, truck. I never leave for a vacation (or a day at work) without my kayak. There are even bicycle trailers for kayaks. Kayaking is fun, healthy and adventuresome and there is no better time to begin kayaking than today.

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What is the difference between your different boat constructions?

Value (club):

The Value construction, also called the Club version, got its name simply because it is the most economical construction option we offer. It is also our heaviest construction, yet comparable to most competitors standard boats.

  • Fiberglass on a core mat

  • Vacuum bagged with polyester resin

  • Available with GPX kayak and all surfskis

  • Value construction boats have a blue seam line

Performance:

The Performance construction is a composite hybrid. We consider it to be the best value in the industry. Performance kayaks are significantly lighter than the competitions equivalent products, yet are offered at a comparable price point.

  • Foam core

  • Composite hybrid of fiberglass, carbon fiber and Kevlar

  • Vacuum infused, heat cured epoxy

  • Available on all kayaks and surfskis (kayaks have option of red, yellow or white deck; surfskis all have white deck and hull)

  • Performance construction boats have a black seam line

Ultra:

The Ultra construction is very light and popular with the fitness and racing paddlers. It is light, stiff and extremely strong in the water. Our Ultra disclaimer states that while stronger in the water than the Value and Performance lay-ups, the Ultra is more susceptible to impact damage and requires more care when handling.

  • Nomex foam core<

  • Woven Kevlar fabric

  • Vacuum bagged, heat cured epoxy

  • Available on all kayaks and surfskis (white decks and hulls only)

  • Ultra construction boats have a red seam line

Elite:

The Elite construction is extremely light and stiff, a step up from the Ultra lay-up, but with similar durability. Priority for these boats is lightweight and strength, perfect cosmetic finishes cannot be expected.

  • Nomex foam core

  • Woven carbon fiber

  • Wet laminate, vacuum bag

  • Available on surfskis only

  • All black carbon (no gel coat) with white decals

Super Elite:

The Super Elite was the first Elite construction, and is the lightest and strongest of all the lay-ups. All the stops have been pulled out to make these the lightest surfskis on the market. Priority for these boats is lightweight and strength, perfect cosmetic finishes cannot be expected.

  • Nomex foam core

  • Unidirectional pre-preg carbon fiber (adds strength)

  • Available on surfskis only

  • All black carbon (no gel coat) with white decals

Click here to see the step by step process of making an Epic kayak

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What is the difference between the L, XL, XXL ICF boats?

Our K-1 M, L and XL designs all use the same deck, but different hulls. The XXL has a different deck and larger cockpit (to fit larger people). While the overall width is nearly identical (and is identical on the M, L and XL versions) the waterline width is different. The following items have all been optimized independently on each model by Dr. Ted Van Dusen:?Waterline width?Draft or depth in water at design displacement?Prismatic Coefficient (volume distribution)? Rocker profile?Rather than simply scaling the various models as some other manufacturers do, Van Dusen optimized all four of the above variables in calculating the lowest drag for each displacement. He has the benefit of all test results from extensive tank drag testing that was done for the US team.

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Why did you place the rudder at the stern of your sprint boats?

Our drag calculations show that a rudder at the stern of the boat rides in the slipstream from the hull and therefore has less drag. Further, the rudder at the stern gives more resistance to cross winds. While the effect is minor, the decreased drag can play a part at the highest levels when races are sometimes won or lost by hundredths of a second. By contrast, our marathon version has the rudder further forward beneath the hull. This provides greater control when riding wakes, making turns or in choppy water conditions. The further up position also allows the boat to be carried with the stern dragging on portages (hull tipped to side) without hitting the rudder - as is commonly done in international marathon races. How do I re-mount a surf ski after falling off? See this article at surfski.info

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Should I get the V10 or V10L

Any of the V10’s would be perfect for training and ocean racing, in all conditions. The V10 and V10L have the same hull, but as many of you probably know the bow volume on the “L” is decreased and the seat is moved two inches forward, making the boat more suitable for smaller paddlers, and providing a boat that is less affected by the wind (particularly side wind.) Many people have commented that having the seat further forward also seems to improve the ergonomics of the boat. This will be true especially for lighter paddlers, as having the seat further forward helps keep the bow of the boat from lifting up and out of the water. The V10L is quickly becoming the ski of choice here on mainland USA, particularly on the east coast, where ocean conditions are not consistently in the “huge” category. The regular V10 was built with big conditions in mind, such as those found in S. Africa and Hawaii, which we generally don’t find here in the states. When in big waves and ocean swell, the high volume bow on the V10 helps keep the boat from plunging into oncoming waves, providing a smoother and dryer ride. Much of this can boil down to personal preference and body type as well.

Advantages of V10L

  • Better for lighter paddlers

  • Accommodates shorter paddlers – roughly 5’0” – 6’2”

  • Less affected by side winds

  • Runs better in high winds with smaller waves (protected waters)

Advantages of V10

  • Better for heavier paddler

  • Accommodates taller paddlers – roughly 5’4”-6’6”

  • Runs smoother and dryer in big conditions

  • Runs better in high winds with big waves (open water)

The reality is that both boats are exceptional in all conditions, and display both great speed and stability. You just need to find the right one for you. We also have the V10 Sport which is two inches wider and a foot shorter. It technically is not as fast as the V10 ’s, but many people find this a comfortable boat to start on, and will in fact be faster for many entry level and intermediate paddlers because they can apply power to their stroke instead of worrying about their balance. It is a good idea to try a boat out before making a decision.

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What is your new rudder system?

We have integrated our new rudder right into the hull of our new 16X and 18X. We call it the Epic Track Master steering system. With our new system, the stern of the boat pivots to redirect flow along the stern of the kayak. Combined with a small fin on the stern, this provides positive and reliable control.Because the fin is much further forward than overhanging rudders, performance is improved in rough water conditions that may leave overhanging rudders high and dry out of the water. The fin is low profile and does not catch weeds. It's even suitable for beach launches, provided the beach is sandy and not rocky. The Track Master is light weight and the cables are internal to the hull for a clean profile and less maintenance.The foot brace and pedal system of the Epic Track Master allows your feet to be placed out to the sides (conventional position) or together in the center of the kayak (fitness position). The paddler can move and steer readily depending on water conditions and the paddler's preference.

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Should I get the Medium (Burgundy) or Stiff (Blue) shaft with my Mid Wing paddle?

The choice depends on your needs and the type of paddling you intend to do with your wing paddle.The Burgundy shaft is our lighest shaft and has medium flex. This is often preferred by those paddling or racing over longer distances. The common thought (although not confirmed) is that a more flexible shaft will be easier on your joints (shoulders, elbows, etc.). The Burgundy shaft is not as strong as our Blue shaft. It will not break at a full sprint by a strong paddler, but is more suscpetible to impact or a direct hit to the shaft - such as dropping on rocks, getting hit by another boat in the surf, etc.The Blue shaft is our stiffest shaft. This is often preferred by sprint racers, where flex in the shaft is lost power. The Blue shaft is also stronger than our Burgundy shaft.

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I currently use a 230 cm paddle. Why are you recommending a much shorter paddle?

There is a definite trend towards shorter paddles. While long paddles may have been popular many years ago, wehave foundthat they are less efficient than today's shorter paddles. Extremely long paddles are heavier, tend to go too deep into the water and make it difficult to maintain a consistent cadence.For an efficient technique, most men today will want a paddle in the 210 to 220 cm range, while most women will want something in the 205 to 215 cm range. Even a wide kayak with low angle paddling style rarely warrants a paddle as long as 230 cm.

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My Length-Lock connection slips. How can I prevent this?

The Epic Length-Lock is a high precision system and will give you years of use if properly cared for. If you find that your connection is slipping during use, try one or all of the following:

1. There may be sand and/or salt in the threads of the collar. This prevents it from easily tightening down. If it's salt, then unscrew the outer collar completely and rinse both pieces with fresh water. If it's sand, then unscrew completely, take a rag and completely clean both collar pieces on the mating surfaces - taking extra care on the threads by pushing the rag with your fingernail down into the thread groove and turning the collar around & around until you have completely cleaned the threads.

2. Lubricant on the threads and mating surfaces helps a lot. We put some on when the paddle is new, but will need to be replaced after cleaning out sand. We use a stick lubricant that won't run into the ferrule. You can order lubricant from Epic (we use Door-Ease available at some hardware stores), oruse paraffin in a pinch. Put a moderate amount of the lubricant on the threads and a micro thin film on the outside of the "prongs" of the inner collar and mating surface of the outer collar. A micro thin film is done by putting a tiny dot of lubricant on your fingertip and spreading it all over the area. DO NOT PUT ANY LUBRICANT ON THE FERRULE OR THE INSIDE OF THE INNER COLLAR. Click here for a diagram.?Following points 1 & 2 will solve 90% of connection slippage problems. Other things you can try.?

3. The inner collar should be rough in the area that touches the ferrule. We use a 36 or 50 grit drum sander and abrade this area for better holding power. You can also use a small piece of 50 grit sandpaper by hand.

4. LIGHTLY sanding the ferrule to roughen it up will give better grip. Use 60-80 grit sandpaper and sand just enough to put scratches in the ferrule - you don't want to actually remove anything as it will make a looser fit. If you have an older paddle with the decal type markings, then use 220 grit wet sandpaper.

5. You can use the Length-Lock wrench to tighten the collar harder for more holding power.

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How does paddle shaft flex affect performance?

Question: “I’m interested in how different shaft stiffness affects sprint kayak performance. I came across the “pondering your paddle” section of your webpage, and was curious how you worked out the correct shaft stiffness for individuals. Do you base it on physical attributes, type of event, etc.? Or a combination of these?

Answer: I have not seen any actual clinical studies to confirm effects of shaft stiffness. Our information is based on feedback from athletes and our experience. Flex in the shaft results in a loss of power transmission. Some people argue that the shaft will "rebound" (like a pole vaulting pole) and you'll regain the energy lost during the catch later in the stroke. My experience is that the rebound happens as you exit the water - thus the energy put into flexing a shaft is lost and very little of it is ever returned to forward power.

On the other hand, many paddlers believe that using a stiffer shaft is more likely to cause injury, because greater shock is experienced on the muscles, joint & ligaments during the catch portion of the stroke. Common thought is that a more flexible shaft is less likely to cause injury.

In general, sprint racers tend to prefer stiffer shafts and distance racers tend to prefer more flexible paddle shafts. In sprint racing, the power on the stroke is much higher and races are often won or lost by tenths of a second. Thus a stiffer shaft can be an advantage. Top level sprint racers also tend to be young and extremely well trained (the body adapts to higher stress and injury is less likely).

On the other hand, distance paddlers tend to paddle longer distances and in a variety of conditions that are not always conducive to perfect technique. Thus they may be more prone to overuse injuries. Additionally, many distance paddlers are older and/or "weekend warriors" (paddling hard but not always under a consistent training regimen). These also can contribute to higher likelihood of injury. Finally, in distance paddling, the power applied per stroke is much lower, thus efficiency loss from flex is not as problematic.

It would be good to see some controlled studies comparing the shaft types to confirm just how much effect these have on paddlers.

Greg Barton

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Looking for more speed? A bigger paddle is not always the answer.

We frequently get calls from paddlers complaining that their paddle isn’t pulling enough water, and that they want something with a bigger blade. They’re thinking that with a bigger blade they will get more pull on the water and ultimately move their kayak faster or more efficiently. While this may seem like a reasonable theory, we almost always ask them to reconsider.
We believe that it is far more important for a paddler to work on refining their technique than move up to “heavier” equipment. The more precise the technique, the easier the boat will move through the water. Adding a larger paddle blade to an inefficient forward stroke doesn’t help the situation, it only adds the potential for fatigue or even injury.

Just having become comfortable with the paddle you have doesn’t mean you’re ready to move up. You can always work to get more out of your forward stroke. Spending time each week working on your form and technique will help you towards the goal of the perfect forward stroke. A lifetime of paddling can be devoted to this goal, and it is still unattainable for most. However, you will gain comfort and confidence in your boat, your overall efficiency and conditioning will increase, you will be less susceptible to injury and you will enjoy the experience more.

When selecting a paddle always keep in mind how you will use it. We offer basic guidelines for our paddles. For instance, we recommend our Relaxed Tour paddle to customers who paddle in a more leisurely manner, or those touring longer distances. The paddle pulls through the water easier than our Active Tour, which has a wider and shorter blade face for more power, but over the long haul the paddler will be more likely to maintain a strong steady cadence with good form as the smaller blade will leave them less fatigued. The same holds true with our wing paddles. Often people enquire about moving from a Mid-Wing to a Mid-Large or even a Large Wing, even though they will be paddling the same distances. Again, the thinking is that the larger blade will provide more speed. This may technically be true, but bear in mind that the Large Wing was designed to be used by paddlers putting in full efforts of 1000 meters or less. If you take that type of design and try to apply it to 10 km course, you are more likely to suffer physically and burn out than gain efficiency and speed over the long haul.

Kayaking at its core is a finesse sport. Technique is more important than raw power, just as stability is more important than raw speed when selecting your boat. Go out and try all the options, just keep an open mind. You may be surprised to find that you’re most comfortable with a boat that is a little shorter and wider, and a paddle that is a little smaller than you had anticipated.

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How do I install a weed deflector ?

You can use epoxy from your local hardware store, but stay away from the quick setting types as they are not as strong. For a thorough bond, make sure the epoxy extends up the fin about 1/4" and out in a nice bead to the sides.

When aligning the fin it may be necessary to use tape to hold it in place while the bond sets. Some epoxy is thicker than others, but tape will ensure it doesn't move on you.

Make sure you sand the attachment point first. Get your epoxy ready (most products distribute the two components equally.) Mix your epoxy (be sure to stir it up thoroughly.) Apply a strip of epoxy at the attachment point. Apply more epoxy to the attachment point on the weed guard. Place the fin on the hull and align properly.

Weed Deflector installed

Weed deflector installed

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What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a rudder ?

Many sea kayakers think it is "bad" to use a rudder. They are concerned that:

1. A rudder will create more drag and slow the kayak down.
2.The rudder is a crutch, and any good paddler should be able to paddle without one.
3.The pedal system used with a rudder prevents the proper use of legs while paddling.
4. The rudder can potentially break.

Let's examine these claims one by one, and then discuss when a rudder is important.

First, it is true that a rudder creates drag in the water. However this drag is greatly overestimated by many. A well designed rudder will add less than 2% total drag to a kayak. In comparison, modifying your stroke to correct or maintain your course results in anywhere from 30 to 70% forward power loss! Very minor corrections will result in 5 to 10% less power than a fully efficient forward stroke. Even good paddlers in calm water are subconsciously making very minor corrections on many of their strokes. Thus it is actually much more efficient to take a consistent 2% drag increase than to be losing an average of 5% or more forward power on your stroke. All the top paddlers in flatwater and open ocean racing use rudders as they have proven time and time again in competitions to be more efficient than a skeg or going without a rudder. Olympic sprint races are held on a straight course in calm water and ruddders are optional. However, you'll be hard pressed to find anybody paddling without a rudder in high level comoetitions. They know that the fastest way to paddle is to put maximum focus on an efficient forward stroke and let the rudder ensure they are traveling in a straight line. In the same way, engineers have found it much more efficient to use a rudder on an airplane, rather than attempt to turn the engines for directional control.

2. Everybody should learn to paddle with and without a rudder. That will teach you how to lean the kayak and use your paddle to steer. These techniques in combination with a rudder will give you even more precise control. If you want to paddle without a rudder to experience the "purity" of paddling without help, that's fine. However, most people will find that a rudder will help them paddle easier and more efficiently in all conditions.

3. In the old days of push-pull steering systems, point 3 was a valid concern. An efficient forward stroke involves pushing your leg on the same side you are paddling. With an old style pedal system, this results in unintentionally oversteering the boat on each stroke. However, new steering systems have pedals that are independent of the foot brace. A paddler can push with the main part of their foot, and use their toes when necessary for steering. Modern efficient pedal systems allow proper use of leg drive and control of a rudder at the same time.

4. The final point is yes, a rudder can break. However, a well designed and maintained rudder system will rarely cause problems. You should check your rudder, lines and pedals from time to time to ensure they are in good working order and replace anything that is worn . This is especially true before a long trip or important race. At Epic, we're working on new steering systems that willl be even more reliable and trouble free in the future.

When is a rudder most important? A rudder becomes even more helpful as kayaks get longer and conditions get rougher. While a rudder is a convenience for calm water paddling, it will definitely change your experience for the better in rough or windy conditions. A good paddler travelling downwind with waves can cut back and forth to find the best wave positions, maximizing their surfing gains - while those without a rudder or using a skeg often find themselves fighting a sideways broach. Experienced ocean paddlers such a Oscar Chalupsky are masters at this and will leave anybody paddling without a rudder in their wakes!

Shorter boats are easier to paddle without a rudder, and can correct their course with much less effort. A rudder is not as necessary with well designed kayaks under 13' in length. Our touring kayaks were designed to perform well with or without a rudder. Our Epic V10 surf ski was specifically designed to be used with a rudder. For a 21' boat, it is amazingly agile when turning with a rudder. However, as this boat was designed to maximize performance with a rudder, it is a real challenge to paddle if the rudder is removed.

At Epic kayaks. our aim is to use technology to give you a better, more efficient and more enjoyable paddling experience. We challenge the outdated theory held bvy many that because early Aleutian and Greenland kayaks did not have rudders, there is no place for them on modern kayaks. Early automibiles had hand crank starters and wooden wheels. You rarely see people driving these today, as technology advances have made driving a car much easier, safer and more accessible for everybody. Likewise there is nothing wrong with using an efficient rudder to help you enjoy your paddling experience. Most people will find that a rudder will help them paddle easier and more efficiently in all conditions. Ultimately the choice of whether and when to use a rudder is up to you.

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What are the advantages of a wing paddle ?

The wing paddle has many advantages, and has become the main choice among racers and an increasing number of touring and day cruisers. The wing paddle allows the kayaker to center the blade easier and pull more water with each stroke. Just as importantly (if not more so) its natural path through the water actually forces you to use your larger muscle groups and not your arms, just like you are supposed to. You will even see a 7 to 10% increase in boat speed from the same effort over a conventional paddle.

As the name suggests, the cross-section of a wing paddle is shaped like an airplane wing. In the airplane context, as the wing moves forward, the air moving over it moves faster than the air moving under it. As air speeds up, its pressure does down. So the faster moving air above exerts less pressure on the wing than the slower-moving air below, creating lift. This is usually a split of roughly 70% pull from above the wing and 30% push from below. Using the same concept, as the wing blade moves away from the kayak, the water flowing over the wing section of the blade causes it to move forward in the water.

The type of paddle that you choose will depend largely on the type of paddling that you do. If you like to paddle at high speed with good efficiency, then a wing paddle is the best choice. If you prefer leisurely paddling or cruising and using more steering strokes then a conventional paddle may be a better choice.

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Which paddle is right for me ?

Epic paddles are available in 3 configurations. Which one is right for you will depend on your individual needs. Available configurations are as follows.

One Piece Paddle

A one piece paddle is the simplest construction. It is the lightest, strongest and least expensive. There is no added weight from an extra ferrule or connection piece. A solid one piece shaft is the most secure with nothing to 'give', 'play' or move at the connection.

The downside to a one piece paddle is that it's more cumbersome to transport or store. A one piece paddle also does not offer any adjustment options, either in feather or length. This could be a disadvantage if you frequently share your paddle with others.

If you are sure of the length and feather angle that you prefer, do not intend to share your paddle and don't do a lot of travelling with your paddle, then a one piece paddle is your best choice.

Standard 2 Piece Paddle

A 2 piece paddle is easy to put into a trunk, carry on an airplane or store in a closet at home. A take apart paddle is also handy to take along as a spare - either inside your kayak or attached to the deck.

Our standard 2 piece paddles use a ferrule with a push button connection to set the feather angle. Typically there are 2 or 3 holes for feathered and unfeathered positions. Our standard configuration has 75 degrees right, unfeathered and 75 degrees left feather positions (3 holes). Another popular configuration has 60 right and unfeathered positions (2 holes). Special order configurations are available, however holes must be at least 55 degrees apart to provide adequate strength.

Our ferrule and push button adds about 1.5 ounces to the weight of a paddle, compared to a one piece paddle of the same length. It also adds $30 to the cost of a paddle.

In order to allow enough tolerance for the pieces to fit and for the button to snap into place, there is always a slight amount of play at the connection of a 2 piece paddle. Because the shaft has been cut and holes drilled into the shaft for the button, a 2 piece paddle is not quite as strong as our other configurations. This is no problem for general use, but could be a concern for heavy surf use.

A standard 2 piece paddle will also offer the option to paddle feathered or unfeathered. While we don't recommend changing your feather based on conditions (see our tip on feather angle), this is a nice feature if you want to share your paddle with friends.

If you need the option to break down you paddle and prefer a simple connection system, then our standard 2 piece paddle is your best choice.

Length-Lock™ Paddle

Our Length-Lock™ paddle offers all the advantages of a take apart paddle while allowing you to adjust both your paddle length and feather angle.

The Length-Lock™ system features a plastic collar which tightens down onto the ferrule. The ferrule is clearly marked for 10 cm of length adjustment as well the feather angle. Feather can be set to any angle, right or left control. This is done by loosening the collar, moving the ferrule to the desired length and feather, and then tightening the collar back down.

The Length-Lock™ system adds about 2.5 ounce to the weight of a paddle, compared to a one piece paddle (or about 1 ounce heavier than our standard 2 piece paddle). It costs $20 more than a one piece and the same for a standard 2 piece paddle.

Since the Length-Lock™ collar tightens down securely, the 'play' in the connection (common to standard 2 piece paddles) is eliminated. Because there are no holes drilled into the shaft, it is also stronger than a standard 2 piece paddle.

The Length-Lock™ system is more complicated and requires a little more care than our other configurations. Sand should be kept out of the plastic collar, or cleaned out after use. The collars come lubricated with a small amount of special wax lubricant. If frequent cleaning is done to remove sand or dried salt, then the lubricant should be replaced for optimal performance (wax lubricant is available as an accessory). If you keep sand out of the collar, then re-lubrication should not be necessary. Properly cared for, the Length-Loc™ k collar does not need to be tightened excessively hard to hold the paddle setting.

The ability to adjust length and feather angle is useful in a variety of situations including.>

Changing paddle length between different boats (such as between a narrow single and a wide double touring kayak).
Sharing your paddle with a friend who may use a different length or feather angle.
Changing length for various conditions.
Allowing you to fine tune your feather angle. You can try different feather angles to find the one that works best for you.
Unsure of which paddle length to purchase? Buy a Length-Lock™ paddle with length you think you may use in the center of the range. You can then try adjustments up to 5 cm longer or 5 cm shorter to fine tune your length.

If you want the ability to adjust your paddle, or want a take apart paddle with a stronger and more secure connection, then the Length-Lock™ paddle is your best choice.

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