adjustable kayak paddle

How to properly use the collapsible / adjustable x500 kayak paddle

The carbon Itiwit X500 kayak paddle can be dismantled to facilitate transport and can be adjusted in length to suit a wide range of body sizes. The angle of the blades can also be adjusted

The Itiwit X500 carbon fibre kayak paddle can be dismantled to facilitate transport and adjusted in length to suit a wide range of body sizes. The angle of the blades can also be adjusted according to use, the boat, or weather conditions. It is therefore essential to properly adjust this paddle to make the most efficient use of it. Baptiste, the Itiwit ambassador from Decathlon Lyon Part Dieu, provides expert advice on how to use it to the best of your ability and make progress.

Adjusting the length of the x500 paddle

"You need to consider your height and the length of your arms. Stand up straight next to your paddle, stretch your arm upwards and grab the end of your paddle. If your arm is fully stretched, then it is the right size. As a general rule, add 25 cm to your height to find the ideal paddle size.

Then, you must consider your level of proficiency. The longer the paddle, the more difficult it will be to pull on the paddle after plunging it into the water. This is something you will learn to do through experience and practice If you are a beginner, you can deduct 5 cm from your height to make your first kayaking sessions easier.

Another factor to be taken into consideration is the type of kayak. The wider the kayak, the longer the paddle needs to be in order to be efficient.

Finally, the last point to be considered is your style of paddling. If your paddling style is:- “high angle”, your paddle enters the water almost vertically close to the hull of the kayak. Your strokes are dynamic and powerful, enabling you to reach a higher rate (this style is often used in racing). The settings mentioned above are perfect for this style of paddling “low angle”, your paddle enters the water further away from the side of the kayak, reducing the rate and the power. This style of paddling is less tiring and less stressful for the muscles and tendons (well suited to long trips). Add 5 cm to the length of your paddle, compared with the above-mentioned settings.

adjusting angle kayak paddle

Adjusting the angle of the x500 paddle

The main purpose of adjusting the paddle blade's orientation is to cut through the air with the upper blade's edge for better efficiency, especially in headwinds (a flat blade will incur wind drag that can slow down or hinder its motion). This requires rotating the paddle on every stroke from one side to the other using the right hand to present the blade at the correct angle when entering the water. Simultaneously, the left-hand grip must be loosened on the tube for it to rotate. The X500 paddle' s tube was designed with an oval section having a larger diameter on the right-hand side to facilitate the right-hand grip and wrist motion. The most commonly used angle is 90° but this can sometimes put too much strain on the wrist joint. For a long excursion, a  60° angle should be more comfortable. Depending on the weather conditions (strong crosswinds for example), you will need to find your ideal angle allowing you to paddle as comfortably as possible. This will come with experience. In rivers with rough water, use a less sharp angle of approximately 45° so you can balance yourself by sticking the paddle in the water.

kayak paddling efficiently

Paddling efficiently with the x500

First of all, hold the paddle so the bevelled part of each blade enters the water first. This allows for a smoother water entry. To easily increase the power of your paddle stroke, involve your abdominal and back muscles as much as possible with a rotating chest movement around the kayak. This will reduce the strain on your arms and shoulders and thus relieve your fatigue. If you enhance the motion, it will cause you to heel and the surface of the kayak will be thinner upon contact with the water. This will reduce the water resistance on the kayak and allow you to move forward with less effort. By using smoother motions, you will decrease the cavitation effect. This effect can be recognised when bubbles form on the surface upon the paddle's entry into the water, thus creating an air-water mixture that makes paddling less efficient. By adjusting the angle of your blade to the water entry or by being more flexible, you can easily minimise this effect. If you wish to go even faster, you can, as seen above, hold your paddle with your hands further apart and position your paddle at a more perpendicular angle to the water on the side of the stroke. You will gain a lot more power but be aware that you will not be able to hold this position during a long sea excursion as it is very physical.”   Baptiste~Kayaking enthusiast~Decathlon Lyon Part Dieu~   

Safety reminder 

For your long trips, remember to bring an emergency paddle. Whether you are on a river or at sea, it is best to be prepared, a broken or lost paddle can easily happen. The Itiwit 4-part aluminium paddle is a good option because it can be easily stored in the back of the kayak.~~At sea, navigational conditions can deteriorate quickly. In case of capsizing and heavy swells, it is advisable to use a paddle leash. So that your paddle stays connected to your kayak".

The essential accessories for the itiwit x500 inflatable kayak

  • How to properly use the collapsible / adjustable x500 kayak paddle

    Buoyancy aid


    Adjustable split carbon kayak paddle


    Double-action high-pressure hand pump

  • kayak waterproof bag

    Waterproof backpack 20l

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