In this blog post we discuss the best kayak paddles under $100 and Kayak Paddle Size Chart, If you ask me, what is the central kayak item that needs to be considered more than any other?
Then I would openly point out a kayak paddle. It plays an effective role in a kayaker’s career. An expensive, fully-featured kayak can do nothing if the paddle belongs of a low quality.
A short paddle constantly hits the kayak sides and a too long paddle doesn’t assist in efficient paddling.
Hence choosing a perfect kayak paddle is indeed a daunting yet significant process that demands to have complete knowledge of buying a kayak paddle.
How long my kayak paddle should be? And what kind of paddle is best for my recreational trip? If you have these queries and are similar to them, read the below-mentioned instruction and a kayak paddle size chart that is assembled to help you choose an ideal paddle.
If you are not in the mood to go out and select the perfect piece, have a look at our top recommended inflatable kayak paddles that can also be utilized for hard shell kayaks.
Let’s dive into it;
Table of Contents
How to Choose the Right Paddle?
While shopping for a kayak paddle, you need to consider the three main factors:
- Height of the kayaker
- Kayak width
- The type of kayaking you are used to.
Height of the kayaker:
How tall you are from toe to head? Measure your exact height since it’s the main and first factor that must be known before picking up any paddle. 22-23cm long paddle fits most of the average height kayakers, but not those with a short or long height.
Now take the correct measurement of the width of your kayak by placing the measuring tape at the widest points of the kayak.
Normally recreational kayaks are maximum. 28-30 inches wide, touring kayaks lie between 22-26 inches wide and the performance kayaks are relatively less wide than other kayaks, they are just 20-22 inches wide.
As you have taken both measurements, now you get a better idea that how long your kayak paddle should be by looking over the below kayak paddle size chart:
Type of kayaking:
Apart from measuring height and width, another factor that plays an essential role in choosing the right paddle is the type of kayaking you have planned for.
You cannot utilize the same touring kayak paddle in whitewater kayaking. The type of kayaking demands to have a specific paddle to meet the requirements.
If you are still wondering what type of paddle should I choose for a specific type of kayaking, then read the below guidelines;
Kayaking on a lake or river is usually no longer than a few hours. You also stay open for recreational activities like fishing and swimming. Recreational kayaks are the most stable with a wide hull specially designed for casual kayaking on flat waters.
For that reason, you don’t need to be very choosy in picking the right paddle for recreational purposes, however, a wider hull means you have to go with the long paddles.
If you are limited to putting extra stress over your arms and wrist, fiberglass and carbon are the ideal options for you since they are designed in a way to exert as less tension on the arms as can be.
However, if you are fit as a fiddle you can go for heavier options like aluminum and propylene.
Touring kayaks are relatively less wide and longer than recreational kayaks. Since Touring kayaks tracks straight and move faster that requires a paddle that assists in attaining more speed.
It is advisable to have a low-angle paddle for touring purposes. Low-angle paddle blades are long and skinny and allow more horizontal strokes and keep you on the water for a long time.
Whitewater kayaking is the hardest one of all, hence you ought to be more careful when choosing a paddle for whitewater kayaking. To tackle the harsh water waves, you need a paddle that demands less physical stress and is durable enough to withstand for a long time.
Fiberglass and carbon paddles are the most widely used and popular among kayakers. They are extremely durable and the lightest of all other paddle materials. Perfectly allows efficient paddling without causing any physical pain making them an outstanding choice for hard water waves.
Typically, high-angle blades are deemed best for white water. Shorter and wider blades allow more powerful strokes required to push the water waves.
What Happens When the Paddle is Too Long?
It can be said without a doubt, that an incompatible paddle can arise hurdles to the way of comfortable kayaking. If you are in the water with a shorter or longer paddle than the mentioned length, it would lead you to an awkward experience.
Let’s have a look at the major issues of using an imperfect paddle:
Difficulty in stroke:
A longer paddle demands more energy to drive the kayak. It becomes difficult to attain a speed with a longer one. On the other, perfect paddle assists in efficient strokes and speeding up a kayak more quickly without wasting extra effort.
One more thing I would like you to keep in mind, the total length of the paddle includes two things; shaft length and blade length.
When the shaft is too long, bulky movements arise and the paddler becomes less likely to drive the kayak efficiently for a long time.
And the longer skinny blades comparatively give slow and weak strokes than shorter paddles.
How would you be able to stabilize the kayak when you are not comfortable with the long paddle? If you are new to kayaking, your prime priority should be to stabilize the kayak and maneuver perfectly and for that long paddle is not an ideal purchase.
High Angle Blades vs Low Angle Blades; Which is the best for me?
If you are new to kayaking, you need to get into the water when you have come through proper guidance in choosing an ideal paddle. Most of the paddlers get discouraged from kayaking, since of having poor knowledge about the paddle choosing process.
Apart from the material, length, shaft, and blade shapes, you might have noticed the blade angle feature in the paddle’s description section. Keep your eyes open to know what is meant by the paddle blade angle, its types, and how they are gonna assist you in paddling.
What is meant by the blade angle of a paddle? Blade angle also called feathering of the blade is the angle at which the paddles come in contact with the water. You have two options there, either keep your paddle horizontal or at a low angle to the water or you can increase the blade angle to a higher degree.
Low angle blade:
Low-angle blades are widely preferred when it comes to long trips like camping or fishing. They are lightest, easy to stroke, and demand less effort to paddle efficiently.
Low angle blades are long and slim and faceless resistant which is a plus point for those suffering from joint or muscle pain. If you are a child or an old one, don’t go for the broad blades since they tend to exert more pressure on your arms and wrist.
Moreover, beginners are also advised to have a paddle with a low-angle blade so that their initial kayaking trips won’t discourage them.
High angle blade:
High-angle blades have a large surface area and remain in maximum contact with the water. They are considered ideal when you need more powerful strokes and to push the water waves with extreme intensity. That normally happens in whitewater kayaking.
Since of their wider blades and short length, high angle paddles work close to the kayak’s hull and speed up the kayak when harsh whitewater waves push you back.
If you are looking for something that helps you to upgrade your paddling skills, high-angle blades are the top choice. Though whitewater waves are less likely to be tackled, no worries you have picked the supreme assistant.
Feathered or high angle blades don’t come in the way of wind since the blade out of the water is will be parallel which makes the kayak attain speed more quickly and moves faster.
Best Inflatable Kayak Paddles
|Apurioni Kayak Paddle
|YOOHO Kayak Paddle
|HIKULA 4 Pieces Kayak Paddle
|STIVIN Kayak Paddle Adjustable
|AQUAGLIDE Orion 4-Piece
No# 1 Apurioni Kayak Paddle:
- Fiberglass blade and Aluminum shaft
- Length 222cm, weight 2lb
- 4-piece construction
Inflatable kayaks are comparatively wider than hard-shell kayaks hence you have to look for the longer paddles. Apurioni comes on the top in providing high-duty and descent paddles for the inflatable boats.
Apurioni inflatable paddle is 222cm long, it is the most widely used paddle length since it best fits most of the average height kayakers.
If you are fed up with the weak and flimsy paddles then I would recommend you to give a try to this piece. Its aluminum shaft and fiberglass reinforced blades would not give you a way to question the quality.
Fiberglass is considered an extremely durable and lightest blade material that provides easy and smooth rowing. It is not prone to damage by saltwater however you need to be careful when using saltwater.
Fiberglass paddle almost eliminates the tiredness even after having long paddling. Moreover, the strong aluminum shaft plays an essential role in making the paddle affordable.
For the paddlers suffering from muscle or joint pain and are not open to having extra stress over arms and wrists, the fiberglass paddle is an ideal choice for them since it’s extremely lightweight.
Furthermore, the 4-piece design of the Apurioni paddle can be easily stored in a storage bag. It takes less than 2 mins to assemble the paddle. Its three-hole adjustment allows various options to set the paddle at any angle.
No# 2 YOOHO Kayak Paddle:
- Aluminum shaft and Polypropylene or PP blades
- Length 233cm, weight 2.53lbs.
- 4-piece paddle
If you don’t have any plan of spending long hours kayaking or are just a beginner having a light pocket, then the YOOHO kayak paddle is going to suit you more than any other.
Though low price doesn’t mean low quality. YOOHO paddle is equipped with standard features that are essential to reach a relaxed and cheerful kayaking journey.
The paddle has an aluminum shaft that provides a strong and smooth grip over the paddle. Aluminum shafts are most popular among recreational paddlers since they are cost-effective and durable.
What about the blades? Since the paddle is perfectly designed for recreational use and not for long trips, YOOHO paddle blades are made of Polypropylene (PP).
If you are paddling over shallow rocks then stay calm, Polypropylene blades are extremely stiff and durable to resist any damage by hitting rocks. They also play a role to make the paddle cheap yet ideal for a few hours of fun kayaking.
The 230cm paddle gets disassembled into four pieces to make the storage a lot easier. Luckily the paddle also comes with a storage bag, which does not often come with most the paddles.
The feathering option is also a significant feature in this design. It has three locking positions to vary the angle between 0-60 degrees.
The paddle also comes with a leash to keep the item safe. However, it could be dangerous if you are using a paddle leash at kayaking spots with high traffic.
Overall, best paddle at the cheapest price. Able to do all the jobs needed to make the few hours kayaking a joyful one. Physically weak paddlers are advised to look for even the lightest materials, this one may exert stress over arms and wrist.
No# 3 HIKULA Kayak Paddle:
- Carbon fiber shaft and fiberglass reinforced polypropylene blades
- Length 230cm, weight 2lb.
- 4-piece design
230cm long HIKULA paddle is best constructed for water sports professionals. It can be taken to the camping and fishing, since of its unheavy sheer construction.
Credit goes to the carbon fiber shaft that has made the long kayaking trips easier. You will remain fresh even after countless strokes due to a smooth grip that eliminates the worry of blisters.
In comparison to other materials, carbon fiber lasts longer making the paddle to be utilized for years.
The paddle blade is of fiberglass reinforced polypropylene or PP. Fiberglass keeps the paddle smooth, lightweight, and stiffer. And polypropylene combines to add durability to the paddle.
Like other paddles on the list, portability is another admirable feature of the HIKULA paddle. The four pieces are easy to assemble and disassemble.
The 230cm is an ideal length for your inflatable kayak. Does it float? Yes, it floats and surprisingly it floats without a paddle leash. The shaft is constructed in a way to provide buoyancy to the paddle.
Good choice for the professional kayakers to enjoy the strong and tough paddle that greatly helps in attaining speed and covers the long distances in less time.
No# 4 STIVIN Kayak Paddle:
- Aluminum shaft and polypropylene blades
- Length 233cm, weight 2.48 lb.
- 4-piece paddle
A quality paddle not only provides efficient paddling every time but also upgrades your beginner skills to a professional level, that’s what STIVIN inflatable kayak paddle does. You can call it an ‘all in one’ paddle since it contains all the admirable ingredients needed to take the full taste of kayaking.
What do you need more if your purchase is worthy enough to stay with you for years? The aluminum shaft works great for recreational and novice paddles.
Also to maintain a strong grip over the paddle, the tube cover is noticeable it additionally avoids the hands from blistering even after being used for a long time.
Moreover, polypropylene blades help to increase durability. If hit by the rocks, PP blades bents to avoid damage. The jagged blade blocks the way of water into the kayak and drip rings keep the paddle dry.
The 233cm paddle won’t lost in the water in case of capsizing. The paddle leash also keeps the paddle near the reach.
What’s more? You can also adjust the paddle angle according to your style and need. Its easy three locking points help to vary the paddle angle from 0-to 60 degrees.
No#5 AQUAGLIDE Orio Kayak Paddle:
- Fiberglass shaft and nylon blades
- Length 230cm- 255cm, weight 3lbs.
- 4-piece paddle
I know the 230cm paddle doesn’t fit all age kayakers, and most of the inflatable kayaks are even wider than normal. AQUAGLIDE is ideal in away if your kayak needs a too long paddle. But make sure your budget is tight since this piece is gonna cost you more than other paddles on the list.
Although, a pricy AQUAGLIDE paddle provides high-duty quality to its users. The shaft is made of fiberglass, you don’t need to replace the paddle from time to time since of its extreme durability and longer life. The material is lighter to the arms and resistant to impacts.
Fiberglass is the lighter material, though the only reason behind AQUAGLIDE’s heavy paddle is the reinforcement with nylon. However, the glass reinforcement had made paddle blades even more reliable, stiffer, and tough against rocks.
The paddle had made the carrying and storage easier. It can easily be stored in a backpack when disassembled into four pieces.
Kayak Paddle Extension:
Have you bought a too short paddle? Surely it will be putting in discomfort when it touches the sides of your kayak. Some paddles also cannot be deposited back to get a newly replaced paddle, however, let me introduce you to a new technique to how you can increase the length of your new paddle.
There are two common ways to extend the paddle length; purchase a kayak paddle length extension or increase the length at your home.
If you are having a heavy wallet, there is a possibility for you to purchase a kayak paddle extension. It will increase the paddle length up to 2ft with a feathering option.
However, the cheapest and easy way I would recommend you is to try is to extend the paddle length at your home. You need to have a paracord and a pipe (of your desired length).
Disassemble the kayak paddle pieces and fix the pipe in between the two pieces and wrap the paracord over the pipe. Make sure the pipe was dry before wrapping a paracord. To make the paracord tighten, apply glue on both ends of the paracord.
At the beginning of a kayaking career, paddles are commonly ignored, resulting in a devasting experience. To make things easier, a kayaker should gain appropriate knowledge of choosing the right paddle to jump out of the hardships in paddling techniques.