Kayak Paddle Review And Guide – The Best Paddles For Fishing + Leisure

kayak paddle review
Joe
Written by Joe

The best kayak paddle (s) reviewed! Whether you’re new to kayaking or an expert, the right paddle makes a massive difference. We look at the best.

Whether you are a new or pro kayaker, you will soon discover the importance of the kayak paddle. And while choosing a good kayak is obviously important, the significance of choosing a good paddle shouldn’t be overlooked. There are many brands and styles of kayak paddles out there. Most of them are good enough to serve your needs. However, anything that’s too cheap may not be made well. Spending a little bit more money may help a great kayak paddle that offers value for money. The good news is that we have done all the hard work and done extensive research to give a selection of the best products and a guide to buy the best paddle.

Types Of Kayak Paddles

Kayak paddles are generally classified depending on the shape of blades, and the market has plenty of offerings. Several factors affect the ultimate shape that’s best suited for your needs but before digging into that, here are few types of kayak paddles.

Symmetric vs. Asymmetric

A paddle blade is said to be symmetric if an imaginary line through the center creates sides that mirror each other. Asymmetrical blades are usually a different shape one side compared to the other. Symmetric blades are ideal for use in white waters and the high stroke kayaking technique. Asymmetrical blades are ideal for low angle stroking.

Flat vs. Dihedral

Flat paddles are flat across the surface and may have a slight sweep blade or longitudinal curve to the blade. A rib may also be added down the center of the flat surface to add strength to the blade, as well as guide the flow of water and reduce flutter. Dihedral blades, on the other hand, have two plane faces. The lateral angle is designed to guide water flow and hence reduce flutter. They may also have a longitudinal curve like flat blades.

Wing Blades

These are very popular among racers. They feature a scoop-like design with rounded edge that allows for provision of lift along the backside.

Curved vs. Spooned

Adding a sweep through the cross-section (spoon) or along the axis (curve) affects the bite that a paddle has in water. The curved blade resembles a paddler’s hand during a power stroke and is specifically designed to provide an early catch. Spooned blades are usually designed more or less like a spoon.

Feathered vs Unfeathered

A feathered design means the one blade is at a different angle to the other. That means you need to twist your wrist and the angle of the blade for every stroke. If you have trouble twisting your wrist and you're mostly going to spend time on calm flat water and lakes choose a non feathered version. ​Once you start spending more time on the water upgrade to a feathered design as this will give you more control and speed if you need it.

Our comparison of the top 10 kayak paddles

Image

Model

Type

Weight Lbs

Material

Price

Rating

SeaSense X-Treme II Kayak paddel blade

SeaSense X-Treme II Kayak Paddle

Feathered

1 lbs

Aluminum

$

Shoreline Marine Kayak Paddle Rounded Blade

Shoreline Marine Kayak Paddle Rounded 96”

Multiple positions

2.2 lbs

Aluminum

$

Carlisle Magic Plus Paddle blade

Carlisle Magic Plus Paddle

Asymmetrical Spooned

35 oz

Lightweight Fiberglass

$$

Bending Branches Angler Pro Paddle blade cammoflage

Bending Branches Angler Pro Paddle

Multi Angle Feathered

30 oz

Carbon Fibre Shaft, Fibreglass Blades

$$$$$

Carlisle Expedition Fiberglass Touring Paddle blade

Carlisle Expedition Fiberglass Touring Paddle

Multi Angle Feathered

33 oz

Fibreglass

$$

Aquabound Sting Ray Hybrid Kayak Paddle Blade

Aquabound Sting Ray Hybrid Kayak Paddle

Multi Angle Feathered

Blade Fibreglass Carbon Fibre Shaft

$$$

Bending Branches Impression Wooden Kayak Paddle Blade

Bending Branches Impression Wooden Kayak Paddle

Multi Angle

37 oz

Basswood

$$$$

Seattle Sports Seawhisper Carbon Kayak Paddle Blade

Seattle Sports Seawhisper Carbon Kayak Paddle

Multi Angle Quick Adjustable

40 oz

Carbon Fibre Shaft

$$

Bending Branches Navigator Paddle Blade

Bending Branches Navigator Paddle

Multi Angle Adjustable

28 oz

Carbon Fibre Shaft

$$$

Werner Tybee Hooked Paddle Blade

Werner Tybee Hooked Paddle

Feathered

1lbs

Fibreglass

$$

Top Kayak Paddle Brands

Frankly speaking, a well-established brand maintains production of high quality products that meet the needs of consumers. It maintains a standard that is superior to products by lesser known brands. When it comes to kayak paddles, you can rest assured that buying from a reputable company is essential to ensuring that you get the best that the market has to offer for your inflatable boat.

Here Are Some Of The Top Players In The Market:

Aquabound

Aquabound has a long time heritage in kayaking and is therefore easy to see why it would make it to the top of the list. The company’s expertise in manufacturing highly efficient kayak paddles is unquestionable. Their paddles are super fun and easy to use, leading to a great experience for anglers. Some of the brand’s most popular paddles include the Aquabound Sting Ray Hybrid Paddle as well as the Aquabound Freedom Paddle.

Werner

There is nothing quite satisfying like the feel of a lightweight yet durable paddle in your hands and that’s exactly what Werner offers. The company brand is known for its touring, recreational paddles for use in white water as well as for kids’ use. The company’s website even offers a comprehensive guide on how to select a kayak paddle of the right size. Werner paddles are made using fiberglass and carbon fiber. Common models include Sprite Paddle for kids and Camano which is ideal for long distance paddling.

Carlisle

While it was considered the low-end brand a few decades ago, Carlisle has made massive improvements in production of kayak paddles making it a favorite among anglers. The Carlisle Magic is particularly great and ideal for long-distance paddling as well as new kayakers. The company offers a wide range of paddles that are lightweight and ideal for those looking for quality at a decent price. We especially like their page on how to choose a paddle - it's worth a read!

Or check out this video:

Overview Of The Top 5 Kayak Paddles

A kayak is only as good as its paddle and reading a kayak paddle review will ensure that you're buying the right paddle for your needs. Purchasing a new paddle can prove quite a hassle especially when you have to weigh potentially dramatic differences in cost against subtle differences in performance. If you don’t have time to compare hundreds of paddles side by side, and you really don’t, the next best thing is to read product reviews. On that note, here are reviews of the top 5 kayak paddles.

SeaSense X-Treme II Kayak Paddle

SeaSense X-Treme II Kayak Paddle

This is a sea kayak paddle that features a feathered blade design and comes in two sizes. It is lightweight, making it perfect for all your kayaking excursions. It is available in sizes 94” and 84” allowing consumers to choose the appropriate size that suits their needs.

The support ridge adds strength while the three locking positions allow one to customize the fit. It has built-in, adjustable grip guards to protect against getting wet while paddling.

SeaSense X-Treme II Kayak paddel blade

The shaft is made of aluminum which is long lasting and resistant to corrosion. This paddle can be broken down into two pieces when not in use for easy storage. The SeaSense X-Treme II paddle is a smart choice for those in need of a short kayak paddle.

Shoreline Marine Kayak Paddle Rounded 96”

Shoreline Marine Kayak Paddle Rounded

Measuring 96” in length, the Shoreline Marine kayak paddle has a three position system that allows paddlers to customize it according to their needs. Like the SeaSense X-Treme II, this paddle can be disassembled into two parts when not in use for easy transportation and storage.

The contour molded blades allow for easy movement in water while the paddle guards are designed to keep you dry. It features an aluminum shaft for added durability and protection against corrosion. Foam grips offer additional comfort when paddling. The Shoreline Marine Kayak Paddle Rounded 96” is ideal for all heights, and can be used for short and long kayaking trips.

Shoreline Marine Kayak Paddle Rounded Blade

This is a great option for those who are looking for an affordable product that offers the durability and ease of use of higher-end paddles.

Carlisle Magic Plus Paddle

Carlisle Magic Plus Paddle

At just 35.6 oz, the Carlisle Magic Plus Paddle is exceptionally lightweight and comes in three lengths i.e. 220cm, 230cm and 240cm. It retails for between $60 and $258 at most online retailers due to the quality of its shaft which is made of light fiberglass, making it one of the most expensive paddles in this list.

The blades are made of polyethylene filled with fiberglass making them durable and flexible at the same time. It can deliver powerful strokes while offering the appropriate amount of flexibility needed to reduce stress on the joints.

Carlisle Magic Plus Paddle blade

The Carlisle Magic Plus Paddle is the perfect solution for pro paddlers looking for a high-end paddle.

Bending Branches Angler Pro Paddle

Bending Branches Angler Pro Paddle

This was designed by pro fishermen to suit the specific needs of kayak enthusiasts. It is delightfully lightweight, allowing anglers to paddle and fish without sapping their energy. It features heavy-duty drip rings that keep you nice and dry by preventing water from dripping onto your arms and lap. Its shaft is made from T-700 Carbon Fiber material, giving it a solid, smooth look and feel.

Bending Branches Angler Pro Paddle blade cammoflage

It comes with the option of a snap-button ferrule which provides zero-degree and sixty-degree left or right angles. The telescoping or PLUS feature that allow for extension of the paddle within a 15cm range make this paddle all the more attractive to customers.

The ability to change paddle length using the PLUS feature makes this paddle ideal for kayaks with different seat heights. The blades have a surface area of 105 square inches, making the paddle for use in choppy waters.

Carlisle Expedition Fiberglass Touring Paddle

Carlisle Expedition Fiberglass Touring Paddle

With both the shaft and blades made of fiberglass, the Carlisle Expedition paddle feels smooth, making for comfortable paddling. The shaft has a push button breakdown allowing for easy storage and transportation. The blade can be adjusted 00 and 600 for left or right hand control.

The blades deliver efficient strokes without use of too much energy, thus increasing efficiency with each stroke and allowing anglers to paddle for hours. The asymmetrical dihedral shape of the blade also helps improve efficiency of strokes.

Carlisle Expedition Fiberglass Touring Paddle blade

The Carlisle Expedition Fiberglass paddle is ideal for touring or long distance expeditions.

Other top rated kayak paddles include:

Aquabound Sting Ray Hybrid Kayak Paddle

Aquabound Sting Ray Hybrid Kayak Paddle

From the manufacturer:

  • Featuring Aqua bounds exclusive abXII blade and all carbon shaft
  • Sting Ray Hybrid kayak paddle has our most popular blade style
  • Flat and slow-moving water
  • In addition to the 3-hole snap-button ferrule we offer the Posi-Lok ferrule system
Aquabound Sting Ray Hybrid Kayak Paddle Blade

Bending Branches Impression Wooden Kayak Paddle

Bending Branches Impression Wooden Kayak Paddle

From the manufacturer

  • Solid basswood shaft, basswood and butternut blades
  • 6.8 x 19-inch blade size (104 square inches)
  • 2-piece take-apart design, composite 3-position ferrule(0-degree, 60-degree right or left)
  • Heavy-duty drip rings, Rockgard tip protection
  • 37 ounce average weight
Bending Branches Impression Wooden Kayak Paddle Blade

Seattle Sports Seawhisper Carbon Kayak Paddle

Seattle Sports Seawhisper Carbon Kayak Paddle

From the manufacturer

  • Exclusive DorselBlade Design
  • Strong and light carbon fiber shaft
  • Quick -adjust ferrule
  • Integrated louvers helps hold position and snag floating items
Seattle Sports Seawhisper Carbon Kayak Paddle Blade

Bending Branches Navigator Paddle

Bending Branches Navigator Paddle
  • High Tech paddle combines carbon shaft with natural wood blade
  • T-700 carbon shaft snap button shaft
  • Red Adler and Roasted Basswood reinforced with fiberglass layer
  • Heavy-duty drip rings,
  • Rockgard tip protection
  • 28 ounce average weight
Bending Branches Navigator Paddle Blade

Werner Tybee Hooked Paddle

Werner Tybee Hooked Paddle
  • Entry level kayak fishing paddle built with Werner's legendary quality and technology
  • Fiberglass reinforced injection molded high angle blades are durable and feature a light swing weight
  • Carbon blend standard shaft is lightweight and stiff, providing efficient power through each stroke
  • 2 piece construction utilizes the Smart View Adjustable ferrule - for easy and almost limitless paddle angle adjustment
  • Subdued, light brown blade color makes this paddle less obtrusive
Werner Tybee Hooked Paddle Blade

What to consider when buying a kayak paddle

Choosing the right kayak paddle helps maintain better control as well as gain extra speed when kayaking. Here is a deeper look at some factors that you should consider when browsing kayak paddles.

Paddle length

This should be chosen with care as it’s the most important thing that provides the kayak control and speed. The length of the paddle should be adequate enough to offer comfort.

Additionally, you need to consider your height since an inappropriate paddle will make you uncomfortable and compromise your ability to control or speed up your inflatable fishing kayak.

The size of your kayak also plays a vital role when determining the right paddle length. Check out this guide on choosing the right paddle length 

Here’s a video on how to choose the right kayak paddle length

Low angle versus high angle paddle stroke

Low angle paddles have blades that are longer and narrower. This makes paddling for hours less tiresome. On the other hand, high angle paddles have shorter and wider blades, making them a power stroke that gets you moving almost like a sprint in water.

Paddle Material

Other than the length, the material from which a paddle is made highly affects its performance. The most common materials that are used to make kayak paddles include carbon fiber, plastic and fiberglass.

Lightweight fiber reduces the weight of paddles without affecting their toughness and performance. Aluminum paddles are the cheapest but also heavy while carbon fiber paddles are lightweight and ideal for long distances, making the most expensive.

Blade design

Paddle blades come in various designs and shapes, each of which is meant for a different purpose. The most common designs in the market are feathered, non-feathered, touring, wing, square-ended and asymmetric blades. Try to consult with the experts to see which paddles are ideal for your intended use.

Weight

Ideally, your kayak paddle should be light for better control and easy handling. In addition to being light, paddles should also be strong enough to resist water flow and the wind effectively. Choosing a paddle with the right weight can enhance comfort while in water.

Conclusion

There are many variables that come into play when it comes to investing in the right kayak paddle. Like inflatable kayaks, paddles in various designs and types each of which is meant for a different use. Some are better suited for use on calm waters while others are ideal white waters.

Knowing the different types and what each is suitable for, as well as the important factors to consider during the purchase process is important to making the right decision. This guide has also covered the top brands and paddles to ensure that you only buy the best.

About the author

Joe

Joe

I'm Joe, I run Nature Rated. I love spending time in the outdoors. Whenever daily life gets me down I head to the nearest lake or river with my kayak and my camera and I spend time recharging my batteries. I hope you'll love my no fluff to the point reviews and that they'll help you choose the right gear for your next adventure!

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