Kayaking is a difficult sport but also loved by many. And just like any other sport, it is important to have the best equipment to participate in it. So, if you are someone who has been kayaking for some time then you already know what are the features that you must evaluate while buying the best kayak paddles. But those who are beginners might be at a loss.
We all know how confusing it can get to make the right choice when you do not have enough information about that certain thing. But you have nothing to worry about.
Because we are here with a complete buying guide to help you through your journey of getting the best kayak paddle and ensure that you have an unforgettable experience when you are in the middle of a giant water body for the first time.
We will tell you what the key features are you must investigate before buying your kayak paddle and how to understand will work the best.
And to wrap it all up, we will be reviewing some of the best kayak paddles that have shown great performances and have gotten amazing reviews from the users.
So, you can rest assured that all your confusions regarding the kayak paddles are about to resolve.
What are the Best Kayak Paddles Made of?
This must be the question going around in your minds for some time now. There are so many kayak paddles readily available in the market and they also look somewhat similar. Then what makes them stand out?
Well, certain features require scrutiny while buying your kayak paddle. For this reason, before getting to know which the best kayak paddles are, you should what these features are. That way you can make a judgment for yourselves.
You need to focus on four main ideas. These are:
Blade length and size: While choosing the perfect length and size of your blade, you should consider your height and the width of your boat.
Blade choice: You need to consider this very carefully. Because the shape and size of the blade of your paddle will ensure how efficiently you can paddle in the water.
The material of the blades and subsequent prices: It is better to choose paddles that are made of lighter materials. Because these will help you move faster. However, they also are more expensive.
Shaft choice: There are different kinds of shafts. We will discuss this further later.
Now that we know what the features are we need to look for, let’s get into the details.
1. Blade and shaft type:
Usually, double-bladed paddles are the ones to look for. They give better performance. You can choose either plastic or nylon blades. These come at an affordable price. Other than that there are different kinds of blades available but at a higher price.
The shape of the blade is also important. There are mainly two kinds of shapes of blade widely used by the people, these are the long skinny ones and short flat ones. Each has its positives and negatives. The shorter one can help you with providing extra power while paddling. On the other hand, the long ones with skinny blades are better for angle paddling.
Kayak paddles come in varying sizes. But the selection of the paddle depends on the width and height of your kayak. For wider kayaks, it is important to have a longer paddle. Because in wide kayaks, it can be difficult to reach the water. That is why it is important to have a long paddle. But in the case slimmer kayaks, you can make do with shorter kayaks as well.
3. Shaft design:
Now let’s have a look at the different kinds of shaft designs available in the market:
Blades are of two types: matched or feathered. But what does this mean? Matched paddle means both the shafts are on the same plane. On the other hand, feathered blade means, the upper and lower shafts are inclined at an angle to each other. It is done to reduce water resistance.
In most cases, the paddles allow you to rotate the shaft to make it matched or feathered according to your preference. However, it is important to choose the adjustable ones.
Straight Vs Bent:
Shafts can be either bent or straight. With the bent shaft, you have the benefit of experiencing less strain on your hands. But the added benefit comes with an added price and hence these are pricier. The straights shafts are cheaper in this case and that is why they are more popular. However, straight shafts will make it difficult for you to paddle for a long time due to the strain.
Length is a crucial feature as discussed earlier also. A lot depends on it. careful consideration is vital at this point. Therefore, it is smarter to look for a paddle with adjustable length. Then you can adjust it based on the different kayaks you are riding, or the different water bodies you are in.
Material and Price:
Several materials are used for making shafts. With the varying choice of materials, the price also varies. Aluminum is the most popular material because of its durability, affordability, and easily reparable nature. But it has a downside to it. Since metal is a good conductor of heat, aluminum made shafts can easily become hot.
There is also fiberglass and carbon that is used for making shafts. They are lightweight and at the same time durable. And we know how important it is to have lightweight paddles for efficiency. However, these lightweight shafts are going to cost a little more.
Apart from these, some additional factors need to be considered as well:
Type of Water:
The whitewater streams are extreme. And to survive in this, you need to have durable paddles that will last in these extreme conditions. The whitewater paddles are made of carbon and fiberglass which makes these extremely strong. Apart from that, these are very efficient and can make you go through the water very fast. However, this does not mean they are invincible though.
Lakes and rivers:
In the case of kayaking in the lakes or rivers, you can go for touring kayak paddles. Because these are perfect for use in the lake. Also, they are good for going on trips, camping, etc.
Such paddles are affordable and durable at the same time. So, you are getting great value for what you are paying. If the water body is shallow, wider paddles are better.
Flower touring or sea touring:
Touring kayak paddles are lightweight and perfect for sea touring. These paddles are lightweight and perform efficiently. Also, they reduce the strain on your hands making it a better choice if you are thinking of touring for a long time.
One thing to be kept in mind is the material. Carbon made blades are the lightest. Most kayakers buy these because of its lightweight. Fiberglass can also be chosen but these are not going to be as good as the carbon ones.
Especially if you have problems with sore shoulders, then a carbon blade is a must.
Type of Paddle:
Recreational Kayak Paddle:
These kinds of kayak paddles are used for recreational purposes and are best suited for short trips. Since these paddles are heavier, they can cause strain on the muscle.
So, these should not be used for longer trips. Recreational kayak paddles are used by people who do not go for kayaking often.
Performance Kayak Paddle:
These are used to increase the performance of the paddles. They are very efficient, durable, and extra light. They can endure almost any stream
Touring Kayak Paddle:
These are available in different blade shapes. Their ergonomic design and lightweight make them one of the best kayak paddles out there. These are perfect for touring for long hours or days even.
We hope that now you have an overall idea about what kind of paddles you should be looking for. Now let’s have a look at the best kayak paddles in the market.
Best Kayak Paddles
1. OCEANBROAD Kayak Paddle
This paddle is made with high-quality aluminum alloy and fiberglass. The combination of these two makes it very durable and strong. Also, it is priced at an affordable range due to the use of aluminum in it.
It has a PE tube cover which ensures that the paddler gets a better grip on his paddle. This feature makes the paddle a very user-friendly option.
This paddle’s length is neither too short, nor too long. Its length is about 230 cm which is perfect for people of most heights.
The paddle comes with a free leash so that you can attach the paddle to your kayak
It can be adjusted in 3 angles.
There are also drip rings on the paddles which stop the water flowing from the blade. This protects you and your shaft from getting wet.
You can get an easy refund and replacement for this paddle if you face any troubles.
2. Pelican Aluminum Kayak Paddles
Polypropylene blade and anodized shaft which ensures maximum resistance
You can get more control with its ability to make 0 or 65-degree angle adjustments.
It has drip rings which stops water from running to the shaft and making you wet
Perfect for those who want to paddle for recreational purposes
Comes in black, green, and orange colors
3. Telescoping Paddle
This paddle can be converted into a compact and space-saving one with its adjustable setting. It can be stored in the kayak’s emergency storage kit and used when necessary.
This small-sized paddle is very lightweight and is multi-purpose. It can be used in kayaks, boats, jet skiing, etc.
These paddles are marine-grade products and are durable, tested, and up to the standard
4. Poseidon Paddle
It is a 2-piece paddle
The material used for making this paddle is a high-quality aluminum
The polypropylene blade is reinforced with fiberglass for added protection
Its width ranged from 28 inches to 32 inches
5. Leader Accessories Kayak Paddle
This paddle is a combination of three materials-carbon, fiberglass, and aluminum
It is a 2-piece paddle
It is portable and easy to store
Comes in 7 different colors
It comes in 5 different sizes
6. SeaSense Kayak Paddle
It has three locking position and an asymmetrical design
Its rubber grips are ergonomic to ensure you have a better grip
The aluminum shaft is lightweight
The nylon paddle is filled with fiberglass
There is a support ridge on the paddles to ensure extra grip
7. MSC Kayak Paddle
It is perfect for advanced users
You can customize the paddle according to your style by adjusting the three-position systems
You can get more efficient paddle strokes due to the asymmetrical design
8. XGEAR Aluminum Kayak Paddles
Made with aluminum which makes it affordable
Comes in 5 different colors- blue, black, orange, and yellow
Dimensions: 18.5x7.5 inches
You can adjust the feathering angle between 0-60 degrees due to its 3 locking positions
Ergonomic design for a better grip
We have discussed the different features of the best kayak paddles. We have also reviewed some of them to help you out finding the best one for you. With this buying guide, we assure you that you will have great kayaking experience. Kayak is a fun sport itself. But the cherry on top would be the addition of the perfect gear.
That is why you need to consider multiple factors before getting on board with the idea. Apart from the kayak and the paddle, you should also consider the water that you will be kayaking in, your height, weight, and also your experience. All of these combined will give you an amazing kayak experience.