How To Choose A Kayak Paddle


Picking a paddle is usually a tough business, specifically if you’re just beginning out.
How do you realize what size to choose? What will be the differences in between them all? Which is the best material to pick?

We've place together some information that may not only answer these questions but will hopefully provide you with a far better understanding of what makes an excellent paddle for kayaking.

Types Of Paddle


For different types of paddling there are different types of paddles. We’ll take a look at the four main ones to help you decide on which one particular may be the better one particular for you.

  • Recreational Kayak Paddle: Designed for recreational use, they have a tendency to be heavier but also less costly. They are tough and most typically utilized for shorter trips or by people who don’t kayak for long periods of time, on account of their tendency to improve fatigue. They are also typically used for fishing.
  • Touring Kayak Paddle: These are designed to be comfortable even after each day of paddling. They may be ergonomic, lightweight and tough and are ideal for lakes, slow moving rivers or the sea.
  • They come in a range of diverse styles, with different blade shapes and shaft styles to suit your personal style of paddling.
  • Performance Kayak Paddle: Like their name suggests, they may be constructed for performance. They're normally ultra light and extra tough, often with advanced features. These ones are perfect for whenever you want speed and power.
  • They're typically designed to make it more comfortable and more efficient for you personally out around the water, with less wind resistance and restrictions that may hinder your paddling.
  • Whitewater Kayak Paddle:These ones are developed with durability in thoughts. Due to the strong whitewater situations they may be usually capable to withstand occasional underwater hazards, including rocks.
  • They are also constructed to permit for efficient maneuvering in the strong currents, usually with wider blades and a thicker shaft.

Paddle Length


When figuring out paddle length, the kayak width is the limiting factor for recreational kayaking. The sizing chart under ought to ensure you are not hitting your knuckles around the hull as you paddle. For sleeker touring/sea kayaks ones paddling style and physical size plays a lot more heavily.


Kayak Width Under 23" 24" to 28" 29"-33" 34"+
Paddler Height Recommended Paddle Length
Under 5'5" 210 cm 220 cm 230 cm 240 cm
5'5" - 5'11" 220 cm 230 cm 240 cm 250 cm
6'+ 220 cm 230 cm 250 cm 260 cm

An easy approach to measure within the field is always to hold a paddle horizontally inside your hands along with your elbows slightly inside a 90 degree angle (most paddles are ovalized inside the area they must be gripped). Your hands ought to be about two-thirds of the way in between the center in the shaft and also the shoulder of the blade. Again, often take stroke angle and boat width into consideration, and demo the paddle anytime possible.

Components (Blade & Shaft)


Kayak paddles are available in a range of different components, each of them with their own benefits. The material you select will depend on your personal preference, budget and your style of paddling.

Starter paddles often have aluminum shafts with plastic blades. This tends to make them durable but in addition heavy. However, the advantage is that they may be typically less costly than some other supplies. You may possibly find that some recreational kayaks will come with an aluminum and plastic paddle included.

paddle Blade
Blade:

The least costly blades are often made from plastic, aluminum or even nylon. They can be perfect for beginners or if you’re looking to get a spare.

Fiberglass is a popular material for blades, as it offers great durability as well as being lightweight and could be a great option for both recreational and touring kayaking.

Carbon fiber blades are even lighter than fiberglass but are also a lot a lot more costly. They are normally found on performance paddles, as they will let you move efficiently through the water and reduce fatigue.

paddle shaft
Shaft:

Many shafts are still made out of wood, due to its strength and durability. You may possibly find that the wood has been coated with a protective layer to give it more resistance, but they may be utilised even without a coating.

Aluminum is a popular material in shaft construction due to the fact of its high durability and strength. Aluminum shafts have a tendency to be heavier, that is fine if you’re not spending a lot of time on the water but they may possibly cause fatigue if you’re out on a multi-day trip.

Aluminum shafts are relatively inexpensive compared to fiberglass and particularly carbon fiber. Both fiberglass and carbon fiber shafts are lightweight and strong, designed for frequent use that tends to make them a superb choice for the more serious kayakers.

Paddle Shaft Shapes And Pieces


As well as components, you'll find other things about the shaft that you need to consider when deciding on a paddle. First of all, the shafts can either be round or oval shaped. The round one, which can be the more traditional, may possibly not be quite as comfy as the oval one.

An oval shaft will be easier to hold, giving you better grip and therefore more efficient paddling. You can also get shafts that are mostly round, with designated oval sections for your hands.

Shafts can also come as a one-piece, two-piece or more. The two-piece can be taken apart. This is generally to let for feathering from the blades, which will give you a a lot more personalized paddle for your paddling style, with the aim of making each stroke easier and faster. With some two-piece shafts you are in a position to put them with each other so that the blades are at diverse angles, to suit your paddling style.

You will also find that you can get either straight shafts or bent ones. The bent, or cranked ones, are designed to make it more comfortable and easier to paddle, minimizing the strain on your wrists.
Blade Shape
Choosing the style of blade might be tough, with there being so many to decide on from. You’ll probably find that most paddles are dihedral as opposed to flat, meaning they have two power faces, which can help direct the flow of water towards the end from the blades, making it more efficient.

You may possibly also discover that most blades are asymmetric, so their surface area in the water is equal along both sides from the blade, meaning you don’t have to use as much energy to paddle the stroke and it also reduces flutter in the water. The way in which the asymmetric blades are made means that the angle that the blade hits the water allows you to maximize your stroke.

When looking at the blade, the sides are not the same but due to the fact you don’t paddle completely vertically or completely horizontally, the asymmetric angle around the blade gives you that maximum surface area inside the water.

Wing blades are generally employed for speed and in racing sports. Using a wing blade requires a high angle paddling stroke and can increase your speed and efficiency quite dramatically. However, for recreational kayaking and low angle paddling, it would not produce the same effect.

How you paddle will also affect the style of blade you’ll need. For high angle paddling, for example if you paddle with the shaft more vertical than horizontal, then you may be much better with a wider blade. The shafts are inclined to be shorter for high angle paddling.

For low angle paddling, where you keep the shaft far more parallel to the water, you may find your paddling is more efficient with a narrower blade and, in turn, a longer shaft.