How to Pick a Kayak Paddle

Last Updated on July 19, 2022 by Ecorf

Do you fancy being on the water for some hours where you would have some time to enjoy the natural sceneries? Then you need to get a kayak to get ashore.

There’s no doubt that the bliss of floating on water is fascinating and you may be itching to have a taste of it. Your kayaking trip may come to an abrupt end or turn a sour note when you fail to consider some factors. One of such is the size of the kayak paddle.

The paddle can make all the difference while on the water, primarily when you have the right size. Most times, paddlers find it challenging to choose the right paddler for their boats. If you’ve been having this challenge or don’t wish to witness it either, you must learn how to pick a kayak paddle.

The Easy Steps to Pick a Kayak Paddle

It is no news that an undersized or oversized paddle can mar your kayaking trip. Therefore, you should ensure that the selected size correlates to the boat.

How to Pick a Kayak Paddle

Ideally, paddlers are advised to choose the paddles based on the four (4) standards, which are:

  • Blade Design
  • Length of the Paddle
  • Shaft Design
  • Materials Used in Constructing the Blade

These are not the only features that determine the size of the kayak paddle you should choose. We’ll now explain these and other critical aspects of choosing a paddle for your boat.

  • Paddle Length

The length of the paddle is one of the significant aspects to look out for when picking a kayak paddle. It’s worth noting that the process is straightforward. Ideally, taller paddlers need taller paddles like the same approach for shorter paddlers. Also, a longer paddler is necessary for wider kayaks.

Aside from that, here are other things that are associated with the length of a paddle:

Kayak Width Under 23 inches 24-28 inches 29-33 inches 34 inches +
Paddler Height
Under 5”5 inches 210 cm 220 cm 230 cm 240 cm
5”5 – 5”11 inches 220 cm 230 cm 240 cm 250 cm
6 inches & above 220 cm 230 cm 250 cm 260 cm

Aside from the details on the table, you may also consider other options in picking a kayak paddle. That leads us to the blade shape.


  • The Shape of the Blade

In this consideration, you’re looking at the different forms that the blade of the paddle can be designed. Ideally, the shape is either created in the style of a low-angle blade shape or the high-angle format.

  • Low Blade Shape

The shape of kayak paddle blades in the small-angle category is designed to allow your top hand to stay below your shoulder level. That way, you’re sure of being relaxed when paddling on in flat water. Also, blades in this category are long and narrow. They’re also ideal for recreation and touring paddling.

  • High-Angle Blade Shape

On the other hand, the high-angled blade shape empowers you to stroke with more speed. Ideally, this variation requires a shorter paddle and a full blade. You also need to apply enough precision to be successful at your oars.

High-angle blade shapes are ideal for powerful strokes and quick bursts.


  • Shaft Designs

Are you looking for how to pick a kayak paddle? You need to consider the design of the shape to arrive at an informed decision.

Below are the design options you should consider:

  • Diameter

The diameter of the shaft has to do with the hands of the paddlers. Although the standard width would be perfect for many paddlers, you may want to go for a design that aligns with your hands. The rule is:  select a small-diameter shaft if you have smaller hands and do likewise of your have bigger hands.

  • Straight vs. Bent Shafts

Paddlers are often confused about whether to go for the bent or the straight shaft. You should note that although the bent variation costs more, it helps to put less strain on your wrists.

How to Pick a Kayak Paddle

  • 2-Piece vs. 4-Piece

The 2-piece shaft design is the standard. If you’re looking for easy packing after use, then you may consider going for the 4-piece configuration.

  • Feathering

The feathering here implies the blade offsetting feature in kayak paddles that allow paddlers to have easy usage. It helps to reduce wind resistance anytime the upper blade is in the air.

  • Adjustment

It’s also essential to consider the adjustability of the blade. The adjustable length empowers you to reduce or increase the size of the blade to fit into the widths of your kayak(s).

  • The Materials

The materials used in designing the paddle also place a significant role in the selection process. You have to consider certain factors. Find them below:

  • Weight

You need to consider the weight because a lighter paddle allows you to do more paddling with ease.

  • Performance of the Materials

Consider going for rigid materials, which are more efficient and require fewer strokes to keep the boat moving.


  • Durability

The durability of the materials also matters. Ideally, composite materials like carbon fiber and fiberglass are sturdy and can serve you for long.

  • Price

Finally, you need to correlate the type of material to the costs. Note that the prices differ depending on the kind of stuff you’re going for.

For instance, the aluminum/plastic materials are affordable. Fiberglass materials cost more than the plastic while the carbon fiber costs more than the previous two.

Additional Features to Help You Pick a Kayak Paddle

Aside from the four (4) primary features noted above, you also need to consider the location or kind of water you intend to take your boat. For instance, a recreational paddle is ideal for shorter journeys, while the touring kayak paddles are the best choice for longer trips. You may also consider the whitewater paddles if you’re looking for something that can stand the rugged conditions of the whitewater.

How to Pick a Kayak Paddle

Find the Perfect Kayak Paddle

With the ideas expressed in the guide, you wouldn’t find it challenging to pick a kayak paddle. Now that you’re well-informed, you may now place an order for the best kayak paddle that fits into your kayaking needs.