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blondie asked in SportsWater Sports · 8 years ago

What is a good kayak paddle to get?

We have three kayaks and need paddles. One if for a 120lb 5'9" 14 year old femal, one is for 125lb 5'4" female and the other is for 6foot 190lb male. We will mainly be on lakes, pons, and slower flowing rivers. I would rather not spend a lot of money and would like to keep it under 50$ for each one. What do you recommend??

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  • 8 years ago
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    Length of a kayak paddle depends not just on the size of the person using it but also the dimensions of the kayak itself. Wide "recreational" type and sit-on-top styles which are 25" to over 30" wide tend to require longer paddles. It also depends on the way you paddle. Most untrained beginners use a low angle paddling technique (they sit straight forward and hold the paddle low) which is not only rather tiring and inefficient but requires a longer paddle than the more efficient higher angle paddling where you rotate your torso with each stroke.

    I have kayaks and canoes (that I use kayak paddles with) that range from 20" wide at the cockpit to 32" wide. For the wider boats I use a 230 cm paddle. For the narrower ones I use a 213 cm paddle. For white water kayaking I have a 205 cm paddle. Sometimes shorter people will need a longer paddle than taller folks to reach the water without banging their knuckles on the boat deck since they are sitting lower in the kayak if it is wide and has a deep hull. So there is not a simple answer.

    The best way to check what works for you is to take your kayaks to a place on a lake that offers rentals and borrow or rent several sizes and see what works for you without banging your knuckles on the side (gunwales) of the boat.

    Honestly, you will not get any good paddles, at least new ones, for under $50. Most of what is available for that price point is going to be aluminum shaft and plastic blades. These paddles are heavy and stiff and very tiring to use. If you can put in a bit more money (like $80 to $120) you will be much happier with a fiberglass shaft paddle with lighter and narrower blades (larger blades do NOT make it easier or faster to paddle, especially for women). You want a narrow blade that you can paddle faster with a lighter stroke.

    Some examples of moderately priced paddles are:

    Harmony Sea Passage

    Werner Skagit

    Carlisle Magic Plus

    You can sometimes find good sale prices on decent paddles. I have gotten them as low as $60.

    Personally I like Greenland style paddles, which are mostly made of wood and are long and slender. There are people who make them and sell them on the web or Ebay, though they tend to be a bit more expensive than a mid price fiberglass conventional paddle.

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