On a raft there’s nothing as important as being able to control your direction and speed. That’s where paddle control comes in very handy and whether you’re an amateur or professional; you’ll want to perfect your paddle skills.

Although rafting paddles vary in size and weight, they all possess the same attributes. Single headed paddles will have a shaft (typically aluminium but sometimes made of wood) and the lone paddle head.Double headed paddles will have all of the above, but with a paddle head on either end.

Premium paddles will have a aerodynamic spoon-shaped head that can act to propel a rower, as well as help it so slow. Traditional paddles are more like oars and have a flat head which can help with steering and movement.


Before deciding on the type of paddle that you prefer, get to know how effective they can be in water. You can do this anywhere with at least a meter of water and focus on the resistance of the paddle underwater, as well as the strength that you’ll need to control it.

Practice in gentle water to get to know what holding your paddle at different angles can do and then step up your game with each practice. Your paddle should be an extension of your arm, so if it’s a hindrance, simply try again.