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Split Paddles - Don't Lose your Spares!

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Sea kayakers should always carry a spare paddle on board their kayak just in case you have equipment failure of some kind. Where you carry your splits is up to you, front or back deck as long as you have them onboard.

My personal preference is on my front deck which allows me to extract one half of my paddle (right side for me) and roll if not hand rolling (unlikely!). This may sound unlikely but I have had to do this whilst recovering a casualty through a surf zone, disengaged my anchor tow and capsized having lost my paddle and with a massive break looming not far behind. On that occasion it all worked out but it was hairy to say the least. My primary paddle was never seen again!

Always ensure your splits are well secured back and front. Big surf is a sure way to unseat your splits or just one half. Some paddlers prefer to use a cheap split as their backup but I prefer a good Celtic paddle, particularly if I may have to paddle a good few miles using my secondary. I use a carabiner to pull my front deck bungees well over my paddle blades (see images) and at the very front I insert the paddle shaft first and then twist the blade around towards the cockpit and secure. This is about the best anyone can do and if you lose your splits then.....well you probably shouldnt place yourself in that size surf or seas in the first place.

Split paddles  - carry them and secure them!!

Published On: 4th November 2015