If you love kayaking, a favorite water sport by many, having the best kayak paddle by your side will enable you to paddle for hours, even days, without getting tired. A combination of high-quality materials and advanced technology will ensure your paddle will perform as hard as you do. Finding a lightweight paddle that will have the correct shape and design will allow you to go where ever you want with little effort.

Paddle reviews agree that having the best kayak paddle will ensure you can travel the furthest distances with ease. With this in mind, we have found a list of the best kayak paddles on the market for you to check out.

How To Choose A Kayak Paddle – Buying Guide

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When buying the best paddle for kayaking there are many things you should consider before choosing the right one for you. When kayaking, your paddle is one of the most important things. Allowing you to propel through the water, this is a repetitive motion that will be much more comfortable when you have a higher quality paddle that is designed for you. Be sure to consider the following features when choosing your next paddle:

Paddle Length

Depending on the type of kayak you buy, your personal height, and your stroke style you should choose your paddle length accordingly. Paddles come with adjustable heights so that you can have the freedom to decide what works best for you. Generally, these are between 8 and 100 inches in length. As a general rule, the taller you are, the longer the paddle you require.

Kayak Width

The size of your kayak will differ depending on the style you get. A recreational kayak will come in a range of 26 inches to 30 inches (66 to 76 cm) in width. These kayaks are on the smaller size in both length and width. Racing kayaks are designed for speed and nothing else. Their width ranges from 19 inches to 22 inches (48 – 56 cm).

If you are going to spend your time kayaking through rapids or white water, the kayak’s width will range between 22 and 30 inches (56 – 76 cm). If you intend to spend weekends searching for the best beach campsite, a touring kayak is the best option for you. These kayaks have a width ranging from 22 to 26 inches (56 – 66 cm).

Kayakers who are new to the sport should look for kayaks with a width that they are comfortable with. If you have experience and you are looking for an option with more storage, then you don’t need to focus much on the width of the kayak.

Fitness

You may not think about it but your physique plays a role in choosing your paddle. It is important to consider your height, weight, and fitness level before purchasing your paddle. Generally speaking, athletic paddlers opt for shorter paddles that have wide blades that provide exceptional power with each stroke while larger paddlers, those taller or heavier, should opt for a bigger paddle with a wide blade will deliver a slower yet efficient stroke. The opposite is true for smaller paddlers who will want a paddle with a smaller blade. In general, when looking for a more powerful stroke you will want to opt for a paddle with a bigger blade. This will help scoop more water and therefore propel you through the water faster.

Paddling Style

Depending on your skill and the type of water you are paddling through, your paddle style is bound to change. Generally speaking, there are two different types of paddling styles out there. Low-angle paddling is as style generally done in calmer waters. These types of paddles feature horizontal thin blades that are generally longer in length. These efficient paddles help propel you through the water with ease making them ideal for longer distances or perfect paddle for kayak fishing. 

High-angle paddling, on the other hand, is more used by experienced kayakers tackling more challenging waters. This adventure paddle is better for the fast-moving water found in rivers and the ocean. They allow you to maneuver swiftly through the water with a stronger force. These are also ideal for those looking to get into kayaking for fitness advantages.

Blade Materials

The blade of your paddle can be made from various materials. This aspect can also affect everything from your paddle style to your endurance. For example, a carbon fiber blade will be lighter than a plastic one. Only a few ounces can alter your entry angle and how long you can paddle on your kayak without fatigue.

Fiberglass blades will be among the most durable, lightest, and strongest. If you have ever rented an inflatable kayak you will more than likely have used a fiberglass paddle. They are ideal for kayakers who just like having fun on the water. These paddles will perform better than plastic or aluminum as well.

If money is no option for you a carbon fiber paddle is the best you can get. It is the lightest option that will allow you to paddle the longest. But all of this comes at a price. It is one of the most expensive types of paddles you can get for your kayak.

Beginners will appreciate the plastic, nylon, and aluminum options available for paddles. These are all some of the heaviest options but will give you a great understanding of the basics of the sport. You can get your mechanics right and determine if you use your kayak enough to warrant upgrading to better gear.

Blade Shape

The shape of paddles has changed in recent years as the popularity of this sport has increased. The previous symmetrical paddle blades have been changed to a more popular and functional asymmetrical dihedral-designed blades. The scoop motion in this design is much more efficient requiring less energy and therefore makes this sport more accessible to many different kayakers.

Paddle Shaft

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The shaft of your paddle is another item worth considering before you make your final decision. There are two different types of shafts which ultimately come down to what is more comfortable for you as a paddler. Both having similar quality, straight shafts are generally more preferred amongst advanced kayakers. This is because it allows for more flexibility when maneuvering in a variety of different kayaking conditions.

Bent shafts, on the other hand, are more preferred by recreational kayakers and those with less experience. This is because the bent shape adds comfort to the paddler’s wrists by reducing the strain during this repetitive motion.

FAQs

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Q: What Paddle Size Do I Need?

A: 

The size of your paddle will be mainly determined by your height. If you are less than 5’5”, your paddle should be the 210 cm. If you are 5’5” to 5’11” your paddle will need to be 220 cm (86.6 cm), and if you are over 6’, the paddle you choose will need to be 220 cms 87+ cm) to fit your kayak.

Q: How Do I Hold A Kayak Paddle?

A: 

To paddle efficiently you should be as far back in the seat as possible. Position your hands so that they are a little bit more spread out than your natural shoulder position. When you are aiming to get the perfect paddle, you should try to reach as far with that arm as you can and pull back using your legs to help as needed.

Q: How Do I Steer A Kayak?

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Steering a kayak is different than steering a canoe. Initially, it can seem overwhelming, but it is actually quite easy. Simply use a wide sweeping motion with your paddle. This will cause the bow of the kayak to turn away from your stroke, pushing you towards the direction you want.

Q: Why Are The Best Kayaking Paddles Feathered?

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Not all paddles are feathered but they really should be. This is the show of a high-quality paddle. When a paddle is feathered, it simply means that the angle of the two blades is different. As one paddle cuts through the water to give you a powerful stroke, the other is at a 90° angle to cut through the air with minimal wind resistance. Most often, this is needed in oceans, as there you are likely to experience high powered winds. As a beginner, you will experience quite a learning curve while using a feathered paddle. This is because you will be required to rotate your wrist which will turn your paddle with every stroke. While this may be awkward at first, it does not take long to get used to the motion and it will come quite naturally.

Q: What Are The Different Types Of Paddles?

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Paddles can be categorized into 3 different types - recreational, touring, and performance.

The most common is a recreational style paddle. These are great for beginners or people who only use their kayaks occasionally. They have asymmetrical blades and can be used in almost every water type. They typically range between 5 and 8 feet in length. If you usually go for longer trips with your kayak, you should look into buying a touring paddle. This paddle has been designed for more calm settings and the blades are smaller and symmetrical. People who are looking to compete or using kayaking as strength training must have a performance style paddle. These are made from the lightest materials possible and you can paddle with them for as long as you want.

Q: How Should I Hold My Kayak Paddle?

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Ensuring that you are paddling correctly is incredibly important and it all starts with how you are holding your paddle. When you pick up the paddle, make sure the blades are facing the right way. You want the water to move behind you so make sure the curved side of the blade is facing towards you.

To hold the paddle in the right way, you should have your hands about shoulder-width apart (or 9 inches from the center mark of the paddle). If you feel that, this doesn’t give you the control you need, then you can widen your hands and it will give you the stability you are looking for.

Q: How To Size A Paddle?

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Most often, the size of your paddle should be determined by your height. If you have a wider kayak, say 38 inches, and you’re a shorter person you will still need a longer paddle. A shorter paddle may not give you the length you need to have the right paddling dynamics. This could work to cause disruptions in your paddle and leave you with a less efficient stroke. If the paddle isn’t the right length you may find yourself bending and reaching in ways that can hurt your body. On the other hand, if you are in a thinner kayak, then you will likely require a shorter paddle. Be sure to primarily consider your height and then consider the size of kayak you will be paddling.

Q: What Kind Of Kayaking Do You Enjoy?

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This should be the first question you ask yourself. When considering the type of kayaking you plan to do, be sure to think in the future as well. While you may stick to calm fishing lakes now, do you see yourself heading out on longer trips as your comfort builds with the sport? When you are considering the type of paddle you want to buy, you should keep in mind that short trips to calmer lakes make for an easier paddle. This means that you can get a paddle with less technology.

Q: How Much Weight Can You Handle?

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Paddles will vary between 18 and upwards of 40 ozs. The use of these paddles will differ depending on what you are doing. It is important to pick up your paddle and get a good idea of the weight and size that is most comfortable for you. Most often this will vary from person to person depending on their physique. Those who have quite a bit of upper body strength will generally prefer a paddle with more weight behind it. This will make the paddle feel better in their arms and lead to a more powerful stroke.

On the other hand, a smaller paddler will likely require a much lighter paddler. A lighter paddle will result in less arm fatigue allowing you to paddle for longer. This will do wonders to increase your comfort in the water. A lighter paddle in this instance will allow a lighter paddler to achieve a more efficient stroke.

Q: What Type And Style Kayak Do You Use?

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You may not realize but the different types of kayaks may require different paddles. Touring kayaks, for example, are long and sleek in design. The thinner kayak means that you will require a smaller paddle. In contrast, beginner kayaks tend to be a lot wider to increase stability for novice paddlers. For this reason, you may require a longer paddle to adjust for the kayak added width. To make it so that you can seamlessly go between different the different size kayak you may want to look into an extendable paddle. This will allow you to use different size kayaks without having to have a special paddle for each kayak.

Globo Surf Overview

When kayaking, especially for long overnight distances you need the right paddle. This will give you the most power behind your stroke, propelling you further and allowing you to cover the most distance. When you have a paddle that floats, you will ensure that your paddle will stay with you, even if dropped into the water. Having a top-rated paddle will make your trip on the lake much more enjoyable.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!