- Why choose a kayak paddle connector?
- Types of kayak paddle connectors
- Factors to consider when choosing a kayak paddle connector
- How to properly install and maintain a kayak paddle connector
- Bottom line
Kayaking has gained impressive notoriety over the past years and for some good reasons.
To some people, it’s all about a beautiful outdoor experience. Gather a few friends or family and go on a paddling session. It’s relaxing, and fun and offers some great views. To others, it’s more about the physical experience, which aims to keep you in perfect condition.
Then, there are also the paddlers who love to mix kayaking and fishing, not to mention those who love a bit of adventure on rough waters and rapid rivers. But no matter why you’re into this activity, there are certain issues that everyone goes through at some point or another.
What do you do when you accidentally drop a paddle in the water? What if you bend one by mistake if you step on it? Lose it? Break it? Such a minor issue could ruin your whole experience on water, especially if you can’t steer or move.
Obviously, like any other activity, kayaking has more challenges, but this is one of the most overlooked ones. Most people pay attention to the actual kayak, rather than how they maneuver it. With these thoughts in mind, a kayak paddle connector could be one of the best extras you can get for your unit.
Why choose a kayak paddle connector?
There are more reasons wherefore you may need a kayak paddle connector. At times, it could be a matter of convenience. Other times, it’s an actual necessity that will practically save you money in the long run.
1. Convenience and ease of use
The primary purpose of a kayak paddle connector is to connect two paddles. Instead of having two paddles, you’ll practically have one larger paddle. Both ends can be used to paddle, just like when you use two different paddles.
However, using two paddles requires a bit of experience. If you’re new to kayaking, it’s doable on a quiet lake, but chances are you’ll face some challenges in rough waters or on rivers. You need to coordinate your arms perfectly to ensure you go straight.
When using a kayak paddle connector, coordination is no longer an issue because the two paddles are connected. Go on one side, then the other to go forward, simple as that. It’s easy to use and offers a great degree of convenience and versatility.
2. Problem solved if you lost a paddle
Paddles are often seen as consumables. Indeed, there are solid paddles on the market, made by reputable brands, some of them costing a fortune. But with all these, every experienced kayaker knows that paddles are likely to get lost or broken at some point.
For example, you could lose a paddle on the water. Or maybe you’re not paying attention when walking and you step on one. There’s not much you can do with a bent or snapped paddle, is it? Exactly! That’s when the kayak paddle connector comes in handy.
Most people would ditch the other paddle too and buy a brand new set. After all, you want your paddles to be compatible, and have the same size and weight, so you can distribute your force evenly when moving the kayak.
Using different paddles will make maneuvering the kayak quite difficult not because it doesn’t work, but because you’re applying a different force on each side.
With a kayak paddle connector, you no longer need to buy a new set. Instead, get one paddle in a similar size, attach it to the other one with the connector and you’ll have one large paddle. Despite the light irregularities and the uneven design, using one piece will distribute your force evenly.
The idea helps whether you lose or break a paddle.
3. Suitable for beginners, convenient for advanced users
Unless it’s an actual necessity (as in losing a paddle from a set), a kayak paddle connector is mainly recommended to those who are new to kayaking. Getting used to the move is difficult. You need to focus on keeping the paddles on the side of the kayak, rather than have them drop in water.
You need to coordinate your moves, which may take months of practice. Get a kayak paddle connector and it all becomes history. The move is more natural, yet it obviously requires a bit of practice too. It’s healthier and puts less strain on your upper body as well.
More advanced users are probably used to having two paddles and can probably manage a kayak even if they’re differently sized. However, it’s still not recommended because it could help you develop an unusual and unhealthy type of movement.
Bottom line, there are times when a kayak paddle connector is an actual necessity and times when it’s a matter of convenience. Connectors may also be used to connect two different parts of the same paddle. In more technical terms, such connectors are known as ferrules.
Types of kayak paddle connectors
There are quite a few different types of kayak paddle connectors out there. Each type has its own particularities and targets a specific category of anglers.
Here’s what you need to know before making a decision, whether you’re after a simple system like Alomejor Paddle Shaft Connector or a more sophisticated mechanism.
1. Snap button style
The snap button style is probably the most popular option you’ll find on the market. On one side, a paddle will have a few holes in it. The other side has small buttons that can be depressed. Once the two units are fitted together, everything snaps into place.
It could be a button, more buttons, more holes, or just one, there are all kinds of systems. More holes and less buttons will give you a few options for adjustability, so that’s the desired concept. Once in the holes, the buttons will ensure a tight connection.
In terms of adjustability, you also have the option to snap parts together at a 0 degree angle, meaning the whole unit is straight. But then, you can also find connectors that allow different angles, providing more options in terms of paddling.
All in all, this is the simplest type of connector and perhaps that’s what makes it so popular and inexpensive. Vgemy Paddles Connector and Alomejor Paddle Connector Aluminum Alloy Oars Connector make some good examples.
Alomejor Aluminum Connector
|See Price on Amazon
Vgemy Paddles Connector
|See Price on Amazon
2. Ferrule style
The ferrule style is often referred to as the classic snap design, yet there are some obvious differences. Moreover, the ferrule system is more common in two or three piece paddles, rather than combining two different paddles in one, yet you’ll be able to find both options on the market.
The ferrule in this case is practically a connector that rejoins two shaft pieces and holds them together in one piece. This type in particular has a few subtypes too. The most basic and common ones involve a tube that slides into both ends, resulting in a continuous shaft.
The two ends must be secured together in one way or another. Most commonly, these connectors come with spring locks to ensure parts won’t fall off. There’s usually a button as well, which can be depressed to split the shaft again.
3. Feathering systems
A feathering system is often misunderstood and also used incorrectly, especially by those without too much experience. To keep it simple, the system refers to a high level of adjustability regarding the angle two parts meet.
Many kayak paddles are split into two pieces. They need to be put together. The connection establishing the actual paddle is known as the ferrule. Many ferrules allow the 60 degree angle, which is considered standard.
Feathering systems are more common in high end paddles. Basically, they offer more feathering options, some of them an unlimited number, depending on what you’re after. Feathering angles are easy to adjust for a different approach on water, usually based on your technique and comfort.
Factors to consider when choosing a kayak paddle connector
Most kayak paddle connector systems bring in the same features and can do the same things, with a few extras associated with premium connectors. Not sure what to buy? Here’s what to pay attention to.
The last thing you want is a snapping paddle when speeding up in your kayak and paddling with passion. If the paddle is thin and fragile, the extra pressure from pushing water will most likely affect the paddle.
This isn’t the only reason though. If the kayak paddle connector is not solid enough to keep two pieces in one place, it will snap from the connecting point. The pressure will try to break the connector or the paddle shaft.
Now, there aren’t too many options when it comes to materials. Most connectors are based on hard plastic, which is normally solid and can take some wear. You can also find metallic connectors, but they require more maintenance.
Based on plastic, the Tbest Paddle Connector is a good example. It’s solid and strong, able to support paddles in more sizes.
Tbest Paddle Connector
- Unquestionably strong, these connectors provide a rock-solid link between paddle sections, making them a robust choice.
The truth is most kayak paddle connectors are meant to be compatible with the paddles they’re made for. In fact, many two or three piece paddles come with their own connectors, so you don’t have to shop around.
But whether the connector fails, breaks or you lose it, you need to ensure you buy a system that matches your current paddles.
If you use a connector to put two paddles together and use them as a single piece, these types are normally universal. They come with plenty of adjustability, so they’ll be able to match most paddle systems out there.
Of course, it’s still worth checking if you’re using a special set of paddles. It may seem a bit more challenging when you try to connect paddles from different sets, but it’s totally doable.
Doorslay Paddle Connector is a nice choice because of its high compatibility with numerous types of paddles.
A kayak paddle connector won’t break the bank. It’s not an expensive piece, but it does an incredibly important job. Whether you buy it as an extra for paddles, to make them longer, or connect them, such things range in price between $10 and $50.
It’s quite a range, considering you’ll find connectors that cost a few times more than others. Pay attention to the brand too, as well as the materials used in the process and the sturdiness of the design.
There’s not much adjustability when it comes to kayak paddle connectors, apart from the actual angle. Again, such systems are more common in high end units and they allow adjusting the paddle connection to a certain angle.
Some systems allow a 0 degree angle, meaning the final result will be perfectly straight. Some others offer a 60 degree angle. There are also connectors in between that allow you to choose the angle yourself.
Full adjustability might be a bit too much, especially since most people can do with 0 or 60 degrees.
5. Ease of use and adjustments
Last, but not least, you want a kayak paddle connector that can be installed within a few minutes only. With time, this job shouldn’t take more than a few seconds. You don’t want to pull out a whole set of tools to establish a connection, but do it manually, on the spot.
Ease of use is just as important when you’re on water and you need quick adjustments. Adjustments should be as smooth as the actual connectivity and shouldn’t really require tools.
6. Popular kayak paddle connector brands and models
The truth is you’re less likely to find big brands in this particular sector regarding the kayaking market.
Most paddles with adjustable features will include their own connectors, usually made by the same manufacturers. Aqua-Bound, Camano, Skagit FG, and Werner Kalliste count in this category. Sure, you can find individual connectors separately in case yours fails, but compatibility with other brands is low.
When it comes to more universal connectors, Vgeby, Alomejor, Tbest, and Doorslay are among the best selling brands out there. They keep it simple, hard plastic materials and compatibility with numerous types of paddles. They’re also inexpensive, so you won’t need to plan a budget for any of them.
How to properly install and maintain a kayak paddle connector
Most kayak paddle connectors use the exact same principles in terms of installation. They come as small hard plastic tubes, wide enough to accommodate most types of paddles.
Insert one of the paddles about halfway through, then use a screw to secure it in place. When properly tightened, insert the other paddle and go all the way in for more stability. Secure it with the screw and you have one solid paddle now.
Some connectors are longer, meaning you don’t necessarily need to insert both paddles all the way through. This way, you have a bit of control regarding the length of the connected paddle. Too much will affect its integrity though, as it may become flimsy.
Other connectors are fitted in different ways. For example, more custom options come with holes and buttons. Buttons go in holes after being depressed, providing a click and connect installation that’s both solid and secure.
Such systems are more common when you buy connectors and paddles from the same brand. Otherwise, compatibility might be an issue.
In terms of maintenance, there’s not much you can do with hard plastic. Simply give it a nice rinse to prevent water sediments from building up, especially on the inside. A good rinse is mandatory if you paddle in saltwater.
Metallic connectors, while rare and not very popular, require more maintenance. Rinse them thoroughly and dry them. Based on the material, they might be more or less prone to corrosion.
Still undecided about a kayak paddle connector?
1. Can I install a kayak paddle connector myself?
Most people install kayak paddle connectors themselves. You don’t need a professional to get the job done because it’s straightforward. In most cases, you won’t really need any tools either, apart from one to tighten the screws on each side.
Some connectors come with buttons and holes, so there’s no need for tightening.
2. How do I know if a kayak paddle connector is compatible with my paddles?
If you shop locally, there’s a simple way to do it. Simply grab both paddles and take them with you at the store, then try it on. If paddles are of the same size, you only need one of them. The other one will obviously fit too.
Otherwise, measure the overall diameter of the paddle shaft on the outside and make sure the internal diameter of the kayak paddle connector is equal to that. Larger would work too, but it would make the new paddle feel flimsy.
3. Is plastic better than metal?
Metal is more solid, but hard plastic won’t disappoint either. Besides, plastic is less likely to corrode and it’s much cheaper.
A kayak paddle connector can be seen as a necessity for many anglers, but that’s not always a rule. Some people use these small bits to connect paddles and benefit from a different paddling experience, which is perfectly fine.
No matter what you’re after, make sure you’ll get a connector that’s compatible with your paddles regarding the size.