Choosing a Paddle

Choosing Your Paddle

 

 
The paddle you use is a key factor to your kayaking experience. There are a lot of different things that go into what makes a paddle right for you such as the length, the material and the blade. Below, we've organized a list of information on a variety of paddles to help you out. However, if you're still confused for whatever reason, please do not hesitate to contact our staff.
 
Use any of these links to skip ahead to a desired section:
 
 

 
Recreational Paddles
As a recreational paddler you will be looking for a very durable, versatile paddle. the most important decision is the weight of the paddle. The lighter the paddle the less stress on the body, but with this the price increases. Look at our selection of Recreational Paddles.

recreational kayak paddle

 

 
Sea/Touring Paddles
In sea or touring kayaking the paddle is one of the most important considerations. We suggest something light like fiberglass or lightweight carbon. Having a lightweight paddle conserves a lot of energy making a longer trip much more enjoyable. A neutral bent shaft will also allow your fingers to index properly and takes the stress off the wrist. This helps you control the paddle enabling you to control the kayak more efficiently. Look at our selection of Sea/Touring Kayak Paddles.
sea touring kayak paddle
 

 
Whitewater Paddles
These paddles need to be stronger and more durable than other paddles. Again, you should choose a bent shaft paddle which helps facilitate rolling and allows your fingers stay in full contact with the shaft. Look at our selection of Whitewater Paddles.

whitewater kayak paddle
 

 
Length
Now that we have selected the paddle for your use we need to determine the correct length. We first go to the paddle sizing chart for body height and hand size. We also consider your use. The longer paddles give more leverage for flat water but you loose the maneuverability of the shorter paddles. That is why the whitewater boats use the shorter paddle because it is more of a vertical stroke. You also will be considering that a wider boat or a sit on top will also need a longer paddle.
 
Recreational and Touring Kayak Paddles:

Low Angle

 

High Angle

Paddler Height

Boat Width

Paddle Length

 

Paddler Height

Boat Width

Paddle Length

5'0" - 5'10"

21" - 23"

220 cm

 

5'0" - 5'10"

under 22"

210 cm

5'6" - 6'2"

23" - 26"

230 cm

 

5'6" - 6'2"

22" - 23"

215 cm

Over 6'3"

over 25"

240 cm

 

Over 6'3"

23" - 24"

220 cm


A 230cm paddle is the most popular length for average height paddlers who use a relaxed style of paddling and whose strokes are at a low angle in relation to the surface of the water. This style is very common and used during recreational outings and most touring environments.
 
 
Whitewater Kayak Paddles:

Hard Shell Kayak Paddles

Paddler Height

Paddle Length

Under 5'2"

188 - 194 cm

5'0" - 5'8"

191 - 197 cm

over 5'6"

194 - 203 cm

Shorter Paddle = Playboating/Freestyle
Longer Paddle = River Running/Creeking

Inflatable Kayak Paddles

Paddler Height

Paddle Length

Under 5'2"

220 cm

5'0" - 5'8"

230 cm

over 5'6"

240 cm


Choosing the right paddle length is an important decision that may greatly enhance your individual performance. The trend we've experienced over the past few years is toward using shorter paddle lengths. A shorter paddle allows for the high stroke rate used during whitewater paddling and is especially useful when playboating.