Choosing the Best Kayak Paddle

Choosing the right Kayak Paddle

Having a kayak paddle that is suited to you is very important! It can be the difference between hitting your hands on the side of the kayak and having to work harder, OR, paddling with ease and enjoying the day on the water.

Paddle Length

A paddle that is too short will lead you to hitting your hands or paddle on the side of the kayak with every stroke. Alternatively, too long means you will be working harder to get the same amount of speed as compared to using the correct size.

For the average recreational kayaker, the size is relatively simple and is generally based on your height as per the following table. These are your general starting points but still provide a relatively accurate way of identifying the best fit for you.

Paddler Height

 Paddle Length

Under 5’2″ 220cm
5’0″ to 5’8″ 230cm
5’6″ to 6’2″ 240cm
Over 6’0″ 250cm

Paddle Blades

The blade of a kayak paddle is a complex part to think about. There are various shapes, lengths, and materials to consider.

Blade Material is one thing that can really raise the price of the paddle but also can impact how well the paddle works for you.

Plastic/Nylon Blades: 

An entry-level paddle that is strong and nearly indestructible. Good for the beginner paddler. It can crack and deteriorate over time.

Fiberglass Blades:

Your mid-range paddle that is durable and lighter in weight and provides greater efficiency through the water. It can be damaged (cracked or chipped) but overall a good blade for most recreational paddlers.

Carbon-Fiber Blades: 

The performance leader thanks to being super lightweight and strong. They offer extreme efficiency but you also have to pay for them.

Composites (Fiberglass and Nylon):

Composite blades are commonly used to provide a cost-efficient way to achieve additional strength and efficiency with the durability of its predecessor in the models above.  

Paddle Shafts

Paddle shafts can vary in material and also whether they are feathered or matched. Both are relatively important but not detrimental to recreational kayakers. Though both can impact the effort required and ease of use.

Shaft Material

The shaft material can impact the weight and therefore reduce or increase the effort required. They also vary the strength of the shaft and therefore the efficiency. What do I mean by “Efficiency”? Well, efficiency is basically how much output you get from the effort you are exerting. So for a weaker shaft as an example, when you are paddling, it will have some amount of bending (not permanent, just a bend from exertion placed on it). This bending is using some of the energy you are placing on it and therefore not going to go through the blade and push you along.

Aluminium Shafts: Often a cheaper option that is basic but good for a starter on a budget. It is not highly efficient and is heavier than the others.

Fiberglass Shafts: 

These are your mid-range style of paddle that are strong, durable and lightweight. Care does have to be taken to ensure you do not damage the shaft but are typically strong and a good all-round paddle for recreational use.

Carbon Shafts: 

Stepping to what makes up a top of the line paddle, the carbon shafts are lightweight and very strong. They offer very good efficiency and are good for recreation and also more touring styles of kayaking.

Carbon Twill:

As seen in the TKF range of Winnerwel paddles, the Carbon Twill is a carbon coating on top of the fiberglass shaft. It provides a cost-efficient way of providing extra strength and efficiency in the shaft while keeping the cost down.

Feathering

Feathering of the blade is basically the angle at which both side blades are in relation to the other. For instance, if the blades both face the same way with no angle, they are known as Matched. Whereas if the blades have an angle difference, they are known as feathered.

This offers variants to the paddlers style. For example, the Winnerwell Paddles sold by us, have a spring push clip and multiple angle holes to allow for changes based on the desired angle you wish to use. This is common in most paddle brands but can be locked at a set angle. So be aware of this when purchasing.


View the TKF range of Kayak Paddles and make a smarter and better choice now you are up to speed.

If you have any further questions about the best paddle for you, please do not hesitate to get in touch and we will help you with your investment in your new paddle. CONTACT US

Greg – TKF

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