Section 9 - Paddle & Leash
Paddles can be very expensive. Remember, the kayak is for scuba diving not speed. A medium priced paddle will suffice. I paid around $100. for one paddle as shown below. The blades are carbon. They are light enough for comfortable paddling. If you are planning on paddling long distances, you may want to purchase one of the totally carbon paddles. They can run in the $400. range and are one piece. They are extremely lightweight. In any case the two piece paddle is very convenient. DO NOT store the two piece paddle joined together. You may find them frozen after a long period of non-use. I always rinse the inside of the shafts. There are plugs inside them part way down to prevent water from filling the shafts.
The paddle leash comes with a Velcro secured strap that wraps around the paddle shaft. I leave mine permanently attached to the paddle and leave my leash permanently attached to the kayak. I have a brass clip on the leash which easily clips to the cord loop on the strap. This setup makes it easy to disconnect the leash while paddling. You need the leash to tether the floating paddle to the kayak while you are diving.
If you use this setup be sure and slide the Velcro section down the paddle shaft towards the blade when you break the paddle down, otherwise it will most likely fall off the shaft and get lost.
I have attached the paddle leash to one of the eyelets (A) on the top edge of the kayak as this is a strong area of the kayak. Be sure and attach the paddle leash on the opposite side from your tank leash. You will want to put the paddle in the water on the opposite side of your scuba tank for diving. This keeps the paddle away from you while gearing up in the water. I used two Ultraviolet Black cable ties to fasten the paddle leash to the kayak eyelet (A). They are strong and will not come undone. I used two ties for redundancy. While paddling, I connect the paddle leash to the back rest clip (B) to keep it handy. The coiled leash hangs overboard out of the way. The bronze clip on the paddle leash (B) connects to the Velcro strap on the paddle (C). The bow line is attached to the backrest (D) on the opposite side of the paddle leash for easy access when ready to anchor.
By attaching and keeping all your leashes on both sides of the kayak you create an unobstructed "body zone."
This is a simple paddle rack which I made of plywood, outdoor carpet, and PVC pipe. The carpet acts as a pad for the ends of the paddle shafts. Storing them in this position allows them to drain.