How to Choose a Kayak Paddle

SeaSense Kayak PaddleWhen it comes to beginner kayaking, it is often hardest for people to decide which type of paddle they need. There are many different sizes available, different blades to choose from, different weights, and more. It can be overwhelming in many ways. If you are looking for a perfect paddle for yourself, here are a few things for you to keep in mind.

What the Kayak Paddle Blade Shape Means

Typically speaking, blades can fit into either a wide or narrow shape. Wider blades are good if you want to go fast, but often it is a little more tiring because you have to push more water to complete the stroke. These can be used for recreational use because you can paddle up to speed quickly. A high angle blade can further increase the speed when going forward.

A thinner blade will provide less speed, which some people prefer when touring. Touring kayak paddles are often 25 inches or so wide and therefore easy to propel forward. Ideally, you would find a thin blade with a lower angle if you are interested in the relaxing forward motion. This is also perhaps the best type of blade for tandem kayaking.Shoreline Kayak Paddle

Some blades are straight across from one another and turned in the same direction. These blades are called feathered and they are easier for most people to use. An offset blade that has two distinct angles to the blades are called non-feathered. They provide less air resistance for more speed when you are soaring over the water.

Kayak Paddle Blade Material

Many people prefer fiberglass because they are lightweight. They can be used for both recreational and touring situations. They are slightly more expensive than the aluminum or plastic blades, but they are less expensive than the carbon fiber blades.

A carbon fiber kayak paddle is used by people who want high quality and light weight. They are perfect for people who plan to paddle over very long distances and those who want to kayak downstream for days at a time on extended trips.

The nylon, plastic, and aluminum blades are great for beginners. They are durable, but they are also heavier than the other types.

How to Choose Your Paddle

How To Choose A Kayak PaddleWhen it comes to choosing the best kayak paddle for yourself, one of the biggest things you should look for is the kayak paddle length. Kayak paddle sizing is based on your overall height. To discover the best size for you, you need to stand beside a paddle and extend your arm up over your head. If your hand goes over the paddle, it is too short. If you cannot reach the end, it is too long. If you can cup the end of it in your hand, it is perfect.

Next you need to consider the weight when deciding what size kayak paddle. Even though it may seem as though there is very little difference between ounces, it can add up. If you are going a long distance, do you really want a paddle that is heavier than necessary? If you want a recreational paddle, you are better off choosing the lightest weight possible.

Bent shaft or straight? Both have pros and cons. A bent shaft is easier for some beginners because it relieves the stress on your wrists. However, a straight shaft, though harder to use unless you know how to position yourself. The straight shaft is more versatile because your hands are not confined to one area. You can also choose different sized shafts. The smaller diameter shaft great for women, but oval shafts are more comfortable. Some shafts have oval hand holds to make it easier on everyone.