How to Choose a Kayak Paddle

How to Choose a Kayak Paddle

When it comes to being on the water, having the right kayak paddle can be the difference between a beautiful afternoon and a grueling chore. But how do you know which one is the best for you?

There’s many variables when selecting your ideal paddle. These include your kayak size, your height and the type of water you’ll be kayaking in. Let's dive in and take a look.

Kayak Size

The width and length of a kayak are critical points to take into account for choosing paddles. Generally speaking, the wider the boat, the longer the kayak paddle required.

Whitewater kayaks tend to be short in length and designed for quick turns. Because they require quick decision making and fast strokes, shorter paddles under 200cm give you the best control.

Recreational and fishing kayaks tend to be wider and more stable and require a longer paddle that’s able to reach the water. These types of kayaks usually call for paddles between 220-260cm in length. 

Touring kayaks are longer and more narrow. Because of their narrow width and a shorter distance to reach the water, paddles between 210-230cm will typically suffice.

Your Height

Your height also affects the length of paddle needed. Typically, shorter people require shorter kayak paddles and taller people require longer kayak paddles. 

Take a look at the chart below and see how your height and style of kayak can determine the length of your paddle

What’s Your Paddling Style?

Now that you know what paddle length you need, let’s take a quick look at the difference between a wide paddle blade and a narrow paddle blade.

High-angle paddlers, or those who hold their kayak paddle vertically more frequently, use paddles with a wider blade. This kind of paddle allows for a stronger stroke and is typically used for whitewater or situations requiring speed and quick turns..

On the other hand, low-angle paddlers who keep their paddles more horizontal for a relaxing ride, favor paddles with a skinnier, more narrow blade. This kind of kayak paddle allows for longer trips and is less strenuous on your shoulders.

Paddle Materials

By this point you should have a good idea of what type of kayak paddle will best fit you and your kayak. Now let’s take a look at the different paddle materials and why it matters.

Aluminum - The heaviest, but least expensive. Aluminum paddles typically come with plastic blades and are perfect for beginners or people who only kayak a handful of times or year. They’re extremely affordable and get the job done, but the weight of these paddles can eventually make your arms and shoulder fatigued, especially on longer trips. They typically cost between $25-50

Carbon Fiber - The lightest, but most expensive. Carbon fiber kayak paddles are perfect for more passionate paddlers. Because they weigh less than aluminum and fiberglass kayak paddles, they’re easier on your arms and make kayaking that much more enjoyable. The majority of experienced kayakers will recommend carbon fiber. They typically cost anywhere from $150-350 depending on the brand and blade material. 

Fiberglass - In the middle for both price and weight. They’re lighter than aluminum kayak paddles, but heavier than carbon fiber. They typically cost between $40-100 depending on the brand.

Our Recommendation

Here at BEST Marine & Outdoors, we’re recreational kayakers. We love calm rivers, scenic lakes and beautiful ponds. Relaxing trips, listening to the birds and enjoying nature is what makes us happy. Because of this, we designed what we consider the perfect paddle for people like us!

Our BEST Marine & Outdoor paddle has a carbon fiber paddle shaft with reinforced fiberglass blades. The shaft is extremely lightweight and has a soft, gentle feel in your hands. The blades are narrow and strong, and perfect for long journeys and effortless smooth strokes. 

With a length of 234cm and weighing in at only 33.5oz, our paddle is designed to work perfectly for the majority of recreational kayakers. 

And best of all… it costs less than $100

It’s a million times better than aluminum or fiberglass and costs only a fraction of most big name carbon fiber brands.

Going on two years now, the feedback and reviews we’ve been receiving from our customers has been nothing short of extraordinary! 

If you’re looking for high quality paddle at a fantastic price, we highly recommend you consider our BEST Marine & Outdoors carbon fiber kayak paddle!


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