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How to Choose A Kayak Paddle

How to Choose A Kayak Paddle

Choosing a kayak paddle can become a very tough job for some people. Like selecting a kayak, choosing a paddle is crucial because you will be using the kayak paddle to steer and operate your kayak. So, knowing exactly how to choose a kayak paddle can help you enjoy the kayaking sessions to the fullest.

If the kayak paddle is not suitable for you, it can injure you and make the kayaking session toxic instead of enjoyable. So, knowing what exactly to look for in the perfect kayak paddle for you will require some brainstorming.

This article will help you to choose the best kayak paddle for you. Following the instructions will ensure maximum satisfaction for you in a kayaking session.

How to Choose A Kayak Paddle

Before jumping the gun, you need to know the exact factors that you have to check before buying a kayak. Flag-post the factors first, then analyze according to your preference.

Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Kayak Paddle

The following factors will be your indicators while choosing a kayak paddle.

The Build Material

A kayak paddle isn’t something that we buy too often. We would probably buy and use a paddle for at least 3 to 5 years. So, durability is a very crucial factor here. Also, you will be fighting against currents. So, if the paddle is not durable enough, it will not be able to sustain the pressure created on the paddle surface.

Blade Choice

The handle of a paddle usually follows the same size standard. The blade’s shape and size make the difference. So, choose a paddle that goes perfectly with your kayak and kayaking location.

Paddle’s Weight

Two paddles having the same size and material can have different weights considering the density of the material. The difference is there because two different persons can ask for the same type of paddle having two different weight choices.

Paddle’s Length

The length of a paddle is probably the most important factor while choosing a kayak paddle. It depends on the body structure of every person. How long a paddle you can handle is a matter of concern. If the paddle length doesn’t suit you, your kayaking experience will go downwards.

Paddle’s Price

The market has become extremely diversified. The market now contains thousands of products of the same genre. So, the price may vary. A higher price doesn’t always mean the product quality is excellent. Sometimes, even the cheapest product can have the best overall quality.

The price factor is related to your budget. If you have a limited budget, finding the best product within that is a challenge to overcome and a factor to consider.

Now that the factors are indicated let’s move on with the buying method.

Build Quality of the Paddle

In today’s market, paddles are usually made of 5 types of material.

Plastic paddles

Plastic paddles are for beginners. They are cheap, have the cheap build quality and are neglected by most kayakers. But as a beginner, buying any other paddle can cost you more, and the manoeuvrability can demoralize you.

Aluminum paddles

Another beginner option is aluminum paddles. They have a substantially better quality than plastic kayak paddles. The significant difference is that aluminum paddles are heavier than plastic paddles. If you don’t have the proper physique, aluminum paddles are not for you.


The history of kayaking refers to the days when people first inventeda kayak, wood paddles were the only option. Now people barely use wood paddles because they cost more than other paddles.

The problem with wood is that wood gets damaged in water. That’s why wood paddles are made in such a way that they sustain water damage. This makes them expensive. They are very robust, though, will last for a long time.

Fiberglass paddles

The basic advantage of a fiberglass paddle is they are lightweight. Fiberglass is one of the most rigid materials there is. Boats are made out of fiberglass.

There’s another advantage though, they are cheap.

Carbon Fiber Paddles

The most expensive of the bunch is carbon fiber paddles. They are the best kind of paddles that money can buy. Talk about being lightweight, and the most durable option will hurt your pocket.

Paddle Difference According to Paddling Technique

Not everyone has the same paddling technique. The basics are the same but techniques can be different. There are basically two different techniques, and according to that, there are paddles for two different options.

  • Low-angle Paddling Paddles
    Low angle paddling is for those who are kayaking for relaxation. Usually, the strokes are low and horizontal. Strokes can follow a rhythm, but it’s not mandatory. You can buy any paddle if you are going for this one.
  • High-angle paddling Paddles
    High-angle paddling is when your strokes are short and extremely accurate. This is for those who enjoy racing or want to cut through white waters quickly. For this technique, you would need paddles that have short shafts and broad and wide blades.

Paddle Difference According to Height and Kayak Width

According to your height and the boat's width, you can determine what size kayak paddle you have to order. Kayak paddles are measured in centimeters. Follow the following measurement while choosing a paddle–

  • Below 5 feet, you would need a kayak paddle between 210cm to 240cm.
  • Between 5’ to 5’6”, you would need a kayak paddle between 215cm to 240cm
  • Over 5’6”, you would need a kayak paddle between 220cm to 250cm

Paddle difference According to Weight

The weight of a paddle depends on the material. The top two choices would be fiberglass and carbon fiber paddles from our perspective. These two paddle types are lightweight. The reason to choose them is the paddling experience has always been very positive for their users.

Also, if the paddle is too heavy, it will strain your muscles too much, and you won’t be able to paddle for too long.

If you have a thing for heavier paddles, the best choice for you then would be aluminum paddles and wood paddles. But they are heavy. The weight can abrupt your kayaking experience.

If you’re new, go for plastic paddles. They are cheap and made solely for people who are starting fresh.

Final Words

So, this is how to choose a kayak paddle. If you follow all the factors that we have discussed above, you will be able to make the best choice for you. Remember, kayaking will depend on how comfortable you are with your kayak paddle.

So, don’t make any rash decisions. Take your time and choose your kayak paddle wisely. We don’t want you to stop kayaking just because the paddling experience wasn’t pleasant to you.

A word of caution, kayaking can become dangerous if the paddle is not suitable. So, don’t injure yourself. Get the best paddle for you.

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