How to Choose a Kayak Paddle

How to Choose a Kayak Paddle-Tips & Guide

Last updated on January 13th, 2021

Choosing the right kayak paddle will give you the best kayaking experience. But a variety of kayak paddles might fall you in confusion.

However, want to know how to choose a kayak paddle that values your money? Well, then you need to have a clear idea about different kayak paddles in different lengths, materials and blade shapes.

It will help you to understand which choice works best for you and makes your next outing enjoyable and comfortable. This kayak paddle buying guide will support to get the job done with less effort.

Kayak Paddle Length

As a newbie, you most possibly have to face difficulties to know the best paddle length to choose from. Some specific factors determine the proper kayaking paddle length such as your body structure, kayak dimension, and stroke preference.

If you have a wider boat, a longer paddle will work best. For a narrowboat, a short paddle is perfect. Considering your height is also an important factor. Longer paddles suit taller paddlers.

Similarly, Short paddlers can feel comfortable with the short paddles. There are two factors for the manufacturer’s size paddles. It would be a good job to check the websites of any paddle maker you like.

If You Fall Between Two Sizes

When you are falling between two sizes, it would be wise thinking to choose the shorter. Either size possibly would work, but the shorter paddle will save your few ounces indeed.

If you are balanced a shorter torso, but additional reach might come beneficial this is why you may take the long paddle.

Low- and High-Angle Paddles

The shaft that is tilted slightly your top hand which stays below your shoulder level effectively makes the low-angle stroke. This kind of stroke is perfect for recreational kayaking in flat water with more relaxation.

Some paddlers prefer high strokes for more speed. Precision is required for these strokes.

Kayak Paddle Materials

The materials affect the price and performance of a kayak. Perhaps you will prefer lightness and efficiency over strength in terms of sea kayaking and touring. When you like to kayak in whitewater, you will focus on quick handling this is why a lightweight and strong material will be a good choice.

Fiber Composite

This is thinner than other materials. For this reason, this cut into water efficiently.

It can be made thinner than other materials so they cut into the water more efficiently.

Fiberglass: It is one of the good mid-range options that offer you a good balance of cost, weight, and durability.


If you focus on high performance, this may fill your expectations. But it would be more expensive.

Plastic, polypropylene, polyethylene, or nylon

These blades are durable and low-maintenance but heavier comparing composites. For beginners, plastic blades are a good option, as they are inexpensive.


These are lighter than plastic but heavier than fiber composites.

Laminated wood

These paddles will provide you great stiffness and strength than any purely wood paddles. The good aspect of these that they can transfer power very well. But the opposite thing is that they are not a good shock absorbing.

Kayak Blade

Shaft Materials

Aluminum shaft: It is affordable and durable. If you want to get a shaft at a low price, then buying it will be a good decision. Look at the outfitters and rental businesses, they provide aluminum shaft just because of their low cost and heavy use.

Fiberglass shafts: These are durable, light, and strong. They will provide some flex. These increase the performance of the paddles. They are cheaper than any expensive shaft like carbon. Fiberglass is a smart choice if you are looking for a low-cost paddle that will support your kayaking ability to grow.

Carbon Shaft: If you need to spend a lot of time on the water, you should choose a carbon shaft paddle. They are lightweight. Using a carbon paddle with proper technique will support you to reduce soreness and fatigue from a long paddling.

Blade Design

The good news for you is that most of the paddles come in with asymmetrical dihedral shape. This asymmetrical blade is narrow and short on one side which is very useful to a good uniform. Spotting a dihedral blade by the rib down its center allows water to flow more smoothly.

When you plan to go for a full-day tour or a multiday trip, you should consider these because they are narrower and lighter. For long stretches of paddling, they are comfortable.

Wider blades are helpful for quick powerful strokes that assist you to accelerate quickly. Many kayakers love it for this reason. The j-shaped notch is available in some specialized fishing blades.

Shaft Design

Which shaft do you like between straight shaft and bent shaft?

Bent VS Straight Shaft:

Bent shaft paddle comes in with a kinked section that positions hands at a comfortable angle while stroking. This gives you minimal discomfort and fatigue in your joints. If you are straight shaft paddler and want to give a try with bent shaft paddle, make sure the adjustment by a day tour.

Two-Piece VS Four-piece

Both the two-piece and four-piece shaft are designed to make the storage easy. If you hike with portable kayak, it would be great to take the four-piece shaft, because it has not any section.

Small-diameter shafts will provide you with less fatiguing grip with small hands.


All the blades are feathered or matched. You can rotate them to match or father them. It is easy to adjust the amount of fathering. Some are adjustable to any angle according to your will.

Price Consideration

Investing extra money on paddles will add extra benefits to your kayaking. So, if it’s no matter to spend, buy a high-cost paddle. On the other hand, you may pick paddle with satisfactory quality at a low cost by using your realization power. No doubt, this piece of article will help you a lot.

Out West with Chris

Final Verdict

Choice varies from person to person. So, which paddle do you choose that depends on you ultimately. But I have given my best effort to make this article useful for you to choose the best kayak paddle.

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Related Topics:

Kayak Fishing Tips

Health Benefits of Kayaking

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