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Which kayak paddle should I use?

When buying a kayak, we can often overlook the equally important decision of what paddle to go for. But having the right kayak paddle can make all the difference to your experience on the water. So, to save you scouring the internet for hours, we've got all the information you need to know on making sure you choose the right paddle. 

First thing’s first, paddle length.

Figuring out the appropriate paddle size for you is relatively easy. All you need to do is think about the following:

The width of your boat

The wider your kayak, the longer your paddle needs to be. Generally, inflatable kayaks that are under 32” suit a paddle that is between 220-230cm. This is subjective to the individual themselves though, as if you’re over 6’ tall, a paddle between 230-240cm would be more recommended.

Your height

Taller paddlers need longer paddles. It goes to say however, that a shorter person in a wider boat may need the same paddle length as does a taller person in a narrower kayak.

Paddling technique 

There are two ways in which you can hold your paddle; at a low angle or a high one. Low angle paddling keeps the blade more horizontal and can be less fatiguing. This technique is used most commonly for long-range touring, saving energy, and in calmer waters or with wider kayaks. Paddling at a low angle ideally uses a long and narrow blade.

High Angle Paddling involves lifting the blade up more perpendicular to the kayak. This is more of a workout on the arms but with increased power in each stroke, you are bound to travel faster! This method is most suitable with a short, wide blade.

Other important factors in choosing a kayak paddle...

Paddle Materials

There are a number of kayak materials available, but the most common are aluminium, plastic, fiberglass and wood. Here at WSO, we offer aluminium, plastic and fiberglass as they are the most common due to their durability and inexpensiveness. Check our paddle descriptions on each product to read more about their construction.

Blade Materials

The most popular blade materials are plastic, fiberglass and carbon fiber.

Plastic blades are the cheapest, and most commonly used for recreational kayaking.

Fiberglass blades offer enhanced durability and performance, and are ideal for committed recreational paddlers or entry-level touring paddles.

Carbon fiber blades are the lightest and highest-performing. They’re not cheap though, so are most suitable for paddlers looking for ultralight performance.

Blade size

Given that larger blades have a greater surface area, they’re able to generate more power. However, this means they require greater strength and give your body more of a workout! So, if you’re muscles don’t challenge that of The Rock’s, or you simply don’t fancy getting back from a session in blood, sweat and tears, you’re better off going for a smaller blade…


Shop our full paddle range here.

Any more questions, feel free to drop us a message on Facebook and we’ll talk to you for hours about paddles. No, seriously. We love paddles. 


Published on 10th October 2018 in Kayaking


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