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The Best Kayak Paddles For Different Kayakers And Levels of Kayaking

Updated on December 1, 2010

A great kayaking experience starts with a sturdy and trusty kayak. However, most of the fun lies in the maneuvering which is why having the best kayak paddles for your kayaking trip are a must.

Kayak paddles come in different lengths and blades and each can be quite perfect for different people depending on their height and reach. Here applies the “one man’s meat is another man’s poison” idea where a particular type of kayak paddles may be just the right one for one person while it may be the worst for another. So if you’re looking for something that will suit you best, take note on details such as the weight, length and the type of blade – well, especially the length. Paddles that are too long or too short for your arms will only make paddling harder and will tire you out pretty soon after you’ve just set off from the banks.

The weight is also important. If a paddle is too heavy, it will give you a hard time maneuvering. This factor is also determined by the material which the paddle is made of. Pick materials that are durable such as fiberglass, carbon fiber, wood and aluminum. As for the blades, they may be feathered or not. Feathered blades are better in that they maintain your control of the paddle better and cut down wind resistance.

Now here’s how you determine the right size for you. Get a paddle, lift it up and put the center of the shaft on your head. Bend your elbows at about 90 degrees and hold the shaft. From your hands, the blades on either side should be about 5 inches away. It’s also recommended that people with short torsos should use shorter paddles. Kayak paddles usually have lengths that range from 220cm to 255cm. For shorter people or those who are new to the sport, they should begin by using paddles about 220 cm long. Those with average heights and builds can use paddles from 230cm to 235cm long and those who are tall should find it more convenient to use paddles measuring 240cm long or longer. Here are some of the best kayak paddles to make your day when you go kayaking.

Kwik Tek Deluxe Kayak Paddle 2 sect Alum 84" Curved Blade
Kwik Tek Deluxe Kayak Paddle 2 sect Alum 84" Curved Blade

Kwik Tek Deluxe Kayak Paddle 2 sect Alum 84" Curved Blade

For beginners or shorter kayakers this kayak paddle offers great convenience with its 213.36cm length (7 feet). It features curved blades that allow for faster, more efficient and more powerful steering through the water. It’s made of sturdy yet lightweight aluminum that won’t break in the middle of a competition and it also features hand foams that cushion your hands, minimizing friction and preventing blisters. In order to customize it and make it easier for different levels of kayaking such as recreational and competitive, this paddle features adjustable blades that you can position in different angles. This way you can paddle easier whether in standard or offset mode. Furthermore, this paddle also breaks into two parts which makes for easy storage. It’s the perfect match for a backpacker’s inflatable kayak.

Intex Kayak Paddle / Boat Oars
Intex Kayak Paddle / Boat Oars

Intex Kayak Paddle / Boat Oars

For tall kayakers or those with wide kayaks, this one is a very convenient companion. This kayak paddle measures approximately 244cm (96 inches). It can also be separated at the center in order to make two separate boat oars, each measuring about 122cm or 48 inches. With that, it’s like you get two items for the price of one and it also makes for easier storage. Backpackers will find this very useful with their inflatable fishing boats and inflatable kayaks. This paddle has a rust-proof aluminum shaft that’s just the perfect combination of lightness and strength for easy steering. It’s guaranteed not to break even in the middle of rough conditions. It also has ribbed black blades that allow more efficient paddling. Just in case they slip off your hands or your vessel, this paddle won’t sink so you can easily retrieve it.

Carlisle Day Tripper Aluminum Kayak Paddle - 2 Piece
Carlisle Day Tripper Aluminum Kayak Paddle - 2 Piece

Carlisle Day Tripper Aluminum Kayak Paddle - 2 Piece

This kayak paddle is one of the best choices if what you’re looking for is unparalleled quality. It features a rust-proof and unbreakable shaft made of tempered aluminum that’s also lightweight so you can paddle with ease and this paddle weighs only 37 ounces. The nice-looking black blades bear the Carlisle Day Tripper mark and are made of high quality polypropylene. This also allows you to choose between feathered and non-feathered blades. With just a push on a button, you can have feathered blades to cut down wind resistance and make paddling faster and more efficient. This is a must have for any avid kayaker. It’s easy to store too so it’s perfect for hikers with their inflatable vessels in their backpacks. This kayak paddle is available in several lengths: 220cm, 230cm and 240cm. That means anyone can choose the length that’s just right for their height and build.

Unified Marine 8690 Kayak Paddle (96-Inch)
Unified Marine 8690 Kayak Paddle (96-Inch)

Unified Marine 8690 Kayak Paddle (96-Inch)

Here’s another kayak paddle suitable for those who are taller and use wider kayaks. This features a sturdy black aluminum shaft that won’t break or rust and black molded plastic blades that make paddling faster and more efficient. This paddle is great for rough and competitive kayaking. It also has foam rubber grips that keep your hands protected from the friction that causes blisters and calluses when the going gets tough. Aside from that, the grips allow you to have a more secure hold on the paddle so you have better control and easier maneuvering. It also has drip guards and adjustment features for 3 different positions. This paddle measures about 244cm or 96 inches and it separates into two parts to allow for easy storage.

Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle - Polypro Blades/Fiberglass Shaft
Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle - Polypro Blades/Fiberglass Shaft

Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle - Polypro Blades/Fiberglass Shaft

This kayak puddle is guaranteed to work like magic in the water with its very tough yet lightweight fiberglass shaft and brightly colored polypropylene blades. This one is specially designed to give you as much comfort and convenient as possible. The shaft has just the right balance between flex and stiffness to allow you to paddle quickly and smoothly without putting too much strain on your arms. On the other hand, the blades are asymmetrically shaped and slightly spooned for efficient and powerful strokes plus faster steering and movement. This kayak paddle is simply a winner and is a must have for anyone who wants unbeatable performance. It also comes in different lengths to suit different heights and body builds. You can get this paddle with shafts as long as 220cm, 230cm and 240cm.

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