People typically think of needing a break down paddle (splits) when someone in the group breaks his or her paddle, but what if somebody just loses a paddle? We have all been on the river and seen someone swim. People are going all different ways chasing the swimmer, the boat, the dry bag that came out, but what about the paddle? The paddle is one of the hardest things to spot floating through a rapid and can be easily lost. Suppose it was you that lost or broke your paddle. “My friend has a break down,” you think to yourself feeling relieved. Then your friend hands you a paddle with a blade twice the size of what you normally use and it’s 10 cm longer with a 60 degree offset. Now what?
What Kind of Break Down Paddle Should You Get?
What kind of paddle do you normally use? Your break down paddle should be a 4 piece version of that same paddle.
For example if you use a Werner Shogun that’s 200 cm long with a 30 degree offset, your break down paddle should be a Powerhouse that’s 200 cm long with a 30 degree offset. (The Shogun is the foam core version of the Powerhouse and the Stikine is a foam core version of the Sherpa).
We have a couple of the Hercules Auto-Swivel Yoke Hangers in for review at Unsponsored. These units are designed to hold guitars but I had seen them used by Werner a few years back at PaddleExpo. If they can hold a bass guitar they can handle a paddle.
Aniol Searrasolses is one of the worlds top whitewater kayakers. He has very quickly gained the admiration and respect of his peers. From my point of view Aniol is a kayakers kayaker and I am very pleased that Aniol has agreed to take part in the Unsponsored Q&A series.
How did you first get into kayaking? Who introduced you to the sport?
I got in to it because of my older brother Gerd. One day he saw a bunch of kayakers paddling in our local river and asked them to try it out. He was 14 maybe, we used to swim and play water polo back then but once we tried kayaking it was hard to keep motivated on the swimming and we would skip all the matches in order to go kayak. One day he invited me to try and I loved it.
When did you realise that kayaking could be more than just a hobby?
Location: I split my time between Somerset and Voss, Norway
I have been paddling for the last 11 years and during that time, I have been lucky enough to paddle in some of the coolest locations around the world from the UK to Chile, France, India and New Zealand. My personal favorite and the place that constantly draws me back is Norway. It’s a land full of amazing rivers with still so much undiscovered potential. For the last 5 years I have spent my life working as a raft guide which allowed me to be closer to the river and to get as much boating in as possible. I also have the pleasure of being supported by some of the best companies on the market: Zet UK, AS watersports, System X and Silverstick.
Name: Dave Brown (aka Redneck Dave, Full Face Dave, Small Head)
Location: Barrow or North Wales
Boat: Currently an XL Burn Mk3 in the sickest colours you’ve ever seen – Rasta
I really like the way the rails allow you to carve hard without stalling and tripping you up unlike the old burn, making it easy to fine tune lines and snap into eddies. It has quite a flat hull which allows it to surf easily, staying high on features and keeping you in control as you move laterally across the flow which is really cool. It has the Connect 2014 outfitting it comes with which allows the seat to be varied in both height and pitch. I have this set in the highest position, with the largest block installed under the front of the seat to really lock me in which works well, even though I’m the bottom end of the weight range. Seeing as I have the attention span of a gnat, I’m considering swapping out for a 9R to get some speed in my life.
Repairing a paddle shaft is very similar to creating a set of split paddles. I have a pair of Werner Players that were pretty much brand new but had snapped near the right hand blade. The technique I use here could be used to repair the shaft on pretty much any paddle and could even be used to shorten or adjust the feather on a sound paddle.
If you ever need to call upon the set of spare (split) paddles stored in the back of your kayak the chances are that it must have got a bit fierce for you to lose/damage your normal set. If that is the case your spare set must me up to the job. Having an inferior set of spare paddles may not be the best idea. However shelling out hundreds of £’s on a fancy set of splits is quite painful on your wallet. Now and again you can find split paddles on ebay.
A couple of months ago I started a search for a suitable paddle to modify into a set of splits. The tools for the job were assembled. 1 x saw, 1 x tube clamp/cut guide, 1 x tape measure, 1 x Vernier gauge (everyone should have one these!).
Today I spent a few minutes taking the care of creating my own spare set of paddles. This started by cutting a perfectly good set of Werner Wenatchee in half. The Wenatchee design is a superb symmetrical blade made by Werner in the late 90’s/early 00’s. This set cost £40 a few weeks ago.