Whether you’re an avid kayaker or you’re just getting started, you will learn quickly the importance of a good kayak paddle. While choosing the best kayak is clearly an important decision, don’t forget to spend some time researching and choosing the best kayak paddle for you as well.
|Shoreline Marine Paddle Rounded||4.3||96in||Aluminum / Hard Plastic|
|SeaSense X-Treme II Paddle||4.6||84in, 96in||Aluminum / Hard Plastic|
|SeaSense Wood Paddle||4.0||3.5ft, 4ft, 5ft||Wood|
|Carlisle Expedition Fiberglass Touring Paddle||4.7||220cm, 230cm, 240cm||Fiberglass|
|Carlisle Magic Plus Paddle||4.3||220cm-240cm||Polypropylene / Fiberglass|
|Seattle Sports Seawhisper Carbon Paddle||4.2||230cm-240cm||Carbon Fiber|
|Aquabound Sting Ray Hybrid Paddle||4.8||210cm-250cm||Injection Molder/Fiberglass|
|Carlisle Expedition Angler Fiberglass Fishing Paddle||4.8||220cm-240cm||Fiberglass|
There are many different styles and brands of paddles out there. The majority of them are good choices and will serve your needs, but be wary of any that seem too cheap – they’re probably not made very well! In our opinion it’s best to spend a little bit more and get a quality product that’s going to last a long time and not cause you any issues.
Luckily for you, we have already done the hard work! Our experience in the kayaking industry gives us the resources and information we need to bring you the best selection of products in the market. We spent a lot of time trying to find the most advanced paddle, but as is usually the case, there is no “best” choice, just a number of good choices. Choosing the right paddle depends on your height, weight, and kayaking activity preferences.
In the next section you will find a detailed guide that will give you the tools you need to choose the right paddle for you. Further down the page you will find individual kayak paddle reviews of some of our personal favorite products. With the help of this article, you’ll be out on the water in no time!
So, what paddle should you buy? How do you wade through the hundreds of options available and find the right one for you? Don’t fret – we have already selected some of the best paddles on the market and listed them below!
Shoreline always makes quality products, so it’s no surprise that we love their Marine paddle.
We can safely say that this is the best beginner kayak paddle because it’s customizable (you can set it up in 3 different positions), it has comfortable foam grips so you don’t need to splurge extra on separate kayak paddle grips, and it splits into two pieces for easy transportation. It also has great drip guards to help keep you dry, and is priced quite reasonably! Lastly, it is very well reviewed throughout the internet, so we know that we aren’t alone in our love of this paddle!
SeaSense is another brand that we love to promote because they really stand behind their products.
The X-Treme II, in our opinion, is the best recreational kayak paddle out there in its price range. It offers 3 locking positions, and pulls apart into two pieces for easy storage. Its feathered blade design and added support ridge add extra strength to your stroke – perfect for battling those tides and eddies often encountered on the open ocean. Lastly, this paddle has adjustable drip guards that do their job very well.
For fans of old school products, you’ll be happy to know that SeaSense offers a quality wooden kayak paddle!
We think it’s a quality product, and we love the way it looks. Keep in mind it’s a single paddle and not double-sided, so it’s not recommended for whitewater kayaking or anything intense. It’s best for cruising around calm lakes and enjoying nature at a slow pace.
If you’re someone who likes to buy the best of the best, then Carlisle has the paddle for you!
The Carlisle Expedition Touring paddle is far from cheap, but it’s consistently rated as the best sea kayak paddle out there. Designed for long distance paddling, it’s lightweight, well made, and durable. It receives rave reviews from all types of kayakers, from beginners to pros. The only downside is that it’s quite expensive. For this reason we recommend it for seasoned paddlers who are happy to invest in quality products. For beginners, there are plenty of much cheaper options out there that will work just fine.
Carlisle is always coming out with “the next best thing” in the kayaking world.
A recent development of theirs, the Magic Plus paddle, is making waves in the kayaking community (pun intended). To us, it’s the best whitewater kayak paddle out there – but the best part is that it’s flexible enough to be used for just about any type of kayaking. It’s lightweight, extremely durable, and provides the perfect balance between strength and flex, allowing you to make powerful strokes without putting strain on your joints. Unfortunately, it’s a bit pricey, so we only recommend this paddle to experienced kayakers looking for that extra edge.
Seattle Sports, a relative newcomer in the kayaking industry, has caught our eye recently.
Their Seawhisper Carbon fiber kayak paddle is particularly interesting, as it’s one of the cheapest quality carbon paddles out there. The carbon shaft is extremely tough and durable, and the quick-adjust feature is great for making small comfort adjustments on-the-go. For urban paddlers, this product is a great choice as well because it is brightly colored for maximum visibility. It even has reflective strips to improve night time visibility!
The AquaBound Sting Ray paddle is a great choice for a variety of paddlers, mainly because of its extremely lightweight design.
It’s actually the lightest paddle in its price range, and it’s proudly made in the USA. The manufacturers recommend using this paddle in flat, slow moving water, so it’s not the best for whitewater activities.
For kayak fishers, feast your eyes on the new Expedition Angler paddle from Carlisle!
This lightweight, durable, and efficient paddle is the best kayak paddle for fishing, in our opinion. The wide paddle design makes it easy to paddle once or twice and then coast for a long distance, which is perfect for trolling. And it’s great for longer trips as it’s quite lightweight. As you fishermen well know, any weight you can shed off your load will make your trip that much easier, so after getting the right angler kayak, why not the right angler paddle?
When it comes to selecting a paddle, there are a lot of variables. Similar to the kayaks themselves there are different styles aimed at specific activities – some are better for whitewater kayaking, while others are better for sea kayaking, etc. Plus, there are a few key elements to keep in mind when choosing paddles:
The main thing to pay attention to is the size of the paddle. Their length varies from about 210-260cm in length. The size that’s right for you mostly depends on your height, but can also vary based on the width of your boat, as well as your paddling style.
As soon as you learn how to paddle a kayak properly you will realize there are two basic paddling styles – low-angle paddling and high-angle paddling. Low angle is best for relaxing cruises and long trips, while high angle is better for more aggressive activities and personalities.
Since there are many variables when choosing a kayak paddle, we recommend using a the Werner kayak paddle sizing guide. That way you can tailor the results specifically for your size and intended activities. We also recommend that you carry a spare paddle with you at all times. It sucks to be stuck somewhere without a paddle – trust me, I’ve been there! So while you’re looking at nice paddles, you might as well pick up a cheap pull-apart to use as a spare/backup.
There you have it! We hope the above list and how to advice gives you the tools and information you need to make a good decision. There is no single best kayak paddle, as it depends on your style and what specific activities you enjoy. If you choose to go with a paddle that’s not on this list, we recommend you at least read some kayak paddle reviews first. There are a LOT of low quality products out there, and we’d hate to see you spend your hard-earned money on a paddle that’s going to break after a few uses!
Hopefully with this list you’ll be back out on the water in no time, with a brand new paddle in hand! Good luck, and as always – have fun out there!