If you are new to kayaking, then it is important that you choose the right paddle. In this article, we will recommend the best kayak paddle for beginners.
The kayak paddle is the only thing that enables you to control your kayak, and it is a crucial part of your gear. If you are new to the sport, then it is very important for you to choose a quality paddle suitable for beginners.
This article will review the top five best kayak paddles for beginners available on Amazon. By the time you reach the end, you will have a good idea of what to look for in a kayak paddle.
The Best Kayak Paddle for Beginners: Our Top Paddles
The Best Kayak Paddle for Beginners: Buying Guide
The paddle’s length:
The length of the kayak paddle is usually between 220-260 centimeters (86 to 102 inches). Kayak paddles for beginning kayakers are generally in this range. The reason why it’s best for beginners to use longer paddles is because of their increased ability to overcome water resistance more efficiently than short ones. A longer paddle also provides better support when paddling.
You may also want to consider using a longer kayak paddle if you are tall. If you are over 6 feet (1.8m) tall, it is recommended that your kayak paddle should be at least 230 centimeters (91 inches). The reason for this is that most kayaks are limited in their maximum length. So, if you are taller than the average kayaker (which is 5 ft 10 in or 1.8m), it’s better to be on the safe side and get a longer paddle of the same width that the rest of your kayak companions are using.
The weight of your new kayak paddle:
If you are buying your first kayak paddle, it’s best that you choose one that is lightweight (the material of the blade should be aluminum or graphite). A lighter paddle will require less energy to use. Another benefit of using a lightweight one is that it allows for more maneuverability. If you want to control the direction of your kayak, it is very important that you buy a paddle that doesn’t cause fatigue to your hands during use.
Choosing the width of your kayak paddle:
There are different types of kayak paddles. They vary in their blade size. Some kayak paddles have blades that are 11 inches (27.9 cm) wide and others can be as wide as 36 inches (91cm). While the latter is good for pro kayakers, beginners should settle for a smaller width since it’s lighter and more manageable.
The blade material:
Kayak paddles usually have blades made from aluminum, graphite, plastic or fiberglass. Plastic blades are very durable and lightweight but they can get a bit flexible when they get old. Graphite kayak paddles are expensive but very sturdy and easy to use. Fiberglass paddles are lightweight and have a good balance between durability and flexibility. Aluminum is another popular blade material since it is affordable and it is also very sturdy. However, aluminum kayak paddles can be quite heavy for extended use over a long time.
The price of your new paddle:
Kayaking can get expensive when you buy all the necessary gear that goes with it. But since a kayak paddle is one of the most important parts of your equipment, you don’t want to settle for one that is not durable. While the most expensive kayak paddles are usually made from graphite, fiberglass or aluminum, they also have better quality than those which are sold at lower prices. These cheaper ones are available in plastic and may even break if you accidentally drop them on hard surfaces.
The grip on your kayak paddle:
Some kayak paddles have a specially contoured handle that is designed to improve your grip. This is very important if you are going to use it for long hours such as in competition events. The material used for the grip should be comfortable and provide good traction so that it doesn’t slip off the fingers easily. A kayak paddle with grooves (for increased friction) is also good for beginners who are still learning the proper technique to use when paddling.
Types of Kayak Paddle Handles
There are two types of handles that you can find on kayak paddles: cork and rubber. Cork is usually used in lower-end kayak paddles. While it is durable, it requires regular maintenance to keep it from deteriorating over time. Rubber handles are more expensive than the cork ones but they do not wear out easily. They provide better grip and increased comfort when compared to cork handles.
The Shape of Blade on your Kayak Paddle
You also need to determine the shape of the blade on your kayak paddle. Flat blades are easier to maneuver but they require more effort for each stroke. These kinds of paddles are best for calm water use or when you want speed. If you want to make less effort, choose a kayak paddle with a rounded blade. These paddles are good for clicking and catching the water quickly
Collapsible Kayak Paddles
Collapsible kayak paddles are great for those who want portability or if space is limited. These types of paddles usually come with a handle that you can fold the paddle into. This feature makes it easier to store them when they’re not in use. Be careful though, as some collapsible kayak paddles are made with cheap quality materials that break easily.
Maintenance of Kayak Paddles
Whether you buy high-end or low-end kayak paddles, it is best to invest in a paddle leash even before your first kayaking trip. This will prevent you from losing the paddle in deep waters where retrieval may be difficult. Store your kayak paddles properly after use by hanging them up so that they don’t get damaged or get in contact with chemicals.
Dust or dirt on your paddle is also a problem especially if it were found at the bottom of your kayak. When you are done using it, rinse off any dirt on the blades so that they will not affect the performance of your next paddling session. You can also apply wax to keep it clean and maintain its optimum performance.
Storage of Kayak Paddles
Always store your kayak paddle properly during the off-season since they may be prone to breakage if there are too many movements or vibrations while they are in storage. You can keep them in a dry place but make sure that pests don’t get to it.
What type of water would you paddle in?
If you plan to paddle in calm water, you should go for a kayak paddle that is stiff and has a large surface area. The best material for such paddles is wood or carbon fiber. If your plan is to use it for flatwater racing, choose one with small blades and a low angle of attack. These will give you better maneuverability for tighter turns.
If you plan to use your kayak paddle in rough waters, go for one that is light and has large blades. The best material for this kind of paddling condition is fiberglass. If you want further stability, look for a kayak paddle with an aluminum shaft rather than carbon fiber or wood since these can easily break in rough water.
High-Angle Paddles and Low-Angle Blades
If you want to increase the force and power that your kayak paddle applies, choose one with low-angle blades. This will allow you to apply more force per stroke since there is less water resistance against the blade. If you want increased speed, however, use a kayak paddle with high-angle blades. The latter reduces the amount of effort needed to paddle through the water.
If you choose a kayak paddle with low-angle blades, you should also invest in thigh straps to get increased control over the kayak’s movement. If you do not use straps, your kayak would wobble more since the blade will provide less stability. This is important for faster paddling or if there are stronger currents.
High-angle blades are best if you are paddling in still water since they have less surface area. This decreases the amount of resistance against the blade for increased speed. You can also use thigh straps with this kind of kayak paddle to ensure stability while you are paddling through calm waters in your kayak.
Choosing the right kayak paddle is not easy at all especially if you’re new to this sport. However, doing your homework can help you get better value for your money since you will also be able to find out useful information on how to use it properly and avoid injuries.
But of course, the quality and durability of your kayak paddle still depend on how you maintain it. One way to check if it’s in good condition is by inspecting the blade-to-handle connection. If there are signs that this part of the paddle has started to corrode or break, then it is about time for you to buy a new one.