Ainsworth Paddles UK have been around for 35 years and are based close to the Thames in Twickenham – so know a thing or two about paddle sports. The brand manufactures an affordable and performance orientated range of kayak ‘engines’ that will suit all types of paddler – sit on top kayakers included. We got hold of their entry level SEA (ABS Plastic) blades to put through their paces.
Ainsworth’s SEA is a striking looking beast with bright yellow scoops affixed to either end of an alloy shaft. If nothing else you’ll stand out on the water, which is no bad thing when battling against the elements to a backdrop of gun metal grey skies. The SEA is lightweight with narrow blades suggesting efficiency from catch to recovery. The PC/ABS plastic blade is super tough and will take a lot of abuse while the shaft is made of anti-corrosive Titanium enriched alloy easily standing the test of time.
One of the main things to consider when you’re in the market for a new paddle is shaft length relative to your height. Ainsworth give the following guide but also state that personal preference plays a huge part. Under 5’ 205cm 5’ – 5’3” 210cm 5’4 – 5’7” 215cm 5’8 – 5’9” 220cm 5’10 – 6’ 225cm Over 6’1” 230cm The blade’s feather, or angle, is 45* which is pretty common for general paddle types. Also worth noting is the Ainsworth SEA comes in either fixed or two part split, making it easier for boaters with storage issues.
OUT FOR A FLOAT
The SEA’s 28.5mm shaft diameter feels instantly comfortable in the hands – smaller grip paddlers will love it. Punching forwards the Ainsworth cuts easily through the air making even blustery sessions a more enjoyable affair.
With its narrow blades (16cm wide), quick strokes when you feel like smashing out some miles or having a workout is made all the more easy. Mellower sessions feel pleasant without unnecessary weight that some entry level sit on kayak paddles suffer from. Ainsworth gear has a very distinct feel and the SEA is no exception. The stiff nature of the paddle shaft transfers directly to forward thrust without energy wasted. Covering distance or getting out back in surf is extremely effective with plenty of propulsion – you can tell the SEA is designed by real paddlers.
When used in moderate waves swift rail to rail changes are possible while stuffing the SEA into a liquid face initiates a snappy slingshot turn. Or simply stick a stern rudder in and cruise to the beach. Over distance the Ainsworth is easy going on limbs as long as you don’t push it too hard. If you do fancy red lining then be aware aching muscles will be the result the following day – unless you’re super fit.
The Ainsworth SEA paddle is a great entry level choice for paddlers getting into sit on top kayaking. For the more experienced it’s a good back up, especially in two part split form that you can stash in your boat on touring trips. Even if the SEA is your only paddling buddy you won’t be let down, such is the performance level.