As the adage goes: You can’t travel too far up the creek without a paddle. Sure, you can contort your hands into diminutive kitchen spoons and inch yourself through a slow-moving stream — but that’s no fun. Or practical. But good news: the best kayak paddle is out there, just for you!

One of our goals at The Adventure Junkies is to provide you with not only practical information, but insight into what products are out there that will help you make the most out of any outing. Big or small; domestic or international. We just want to see you succeed in your odyssean travels.

Ready your online shopping carts and double-check your preferred paddle length, here are some of the best kayak paddles you can buy right now.

 

THE BEST KAYAK PADDLE – QUICK ANSWER

  1. Aqua-Bound Sting Ray Posi-Lok
  2. Werner Camano Hooked Straight
  3. Bending Branches Whisper
  4. SeaSense X-1
  5. Werner Kalliste
  6. Aqua-Bound Manta Ray Posi-Lok
  7. Werner Tybee
  8. Werner Cyprus
  9. TRAC-Outdoor Product Curve
  10. Werner Camano

 

 

FREE BONUS! Click here to download the AJ Quick Starter Guide to Kayaking

 

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FIND THE BEST KAYAK PADDLE

PICTURE
KAYAK PADDLES
BEST USE
SHAFT
BLADE
PADDLING STYLE
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
KAYAK PADDLES
BEST USE
SHAFT
BLADE
PADDLING STYLE
PRICE
RATING
Aqua-Bound Sting Ray Posi-Lok
Overall
Carbon Fiber
Carbon Fiber
Low-angle
$$
4.5
Werner Camano Hooked Straight
Overall
Carbon Fiber Blend
Polycarbonate
Low-angle
$$$
4.7
Bending Branches Whisper
Overall
Aluminum
FIberglass
Low-angle
$
4.4
SeaSense X-1
Overall
Aluminum
Plastic
High-angle/Low-angle
$
4
Werner Kalliste
Sport
Carbon Fiber
Carbon Fiber
Low-angle
$$$$
4.4
Aqua-Bound Manta Ray Posi-Lok
Sport
Carbon Fiber
Carbon Fiber
High-angle
$$$
4.8
Werner Tybee
Sport
Carbon Fiber Blend
Fiberglass
High-angle
$$
4.7
Werner Cyprus
Sport
Carbon Fiber
Carbon Fiber
High-angle
$$$$
5
TRAC-Outdoor Product Curve
Budget
Aluminum and Plastic
Plastic
High-angle/Low-angle
$
3.7
Werner Camano
Budget
Carbon Fiber Blend
Fiberglass
Low-angle
$$$$
4.5

 

 

KAYAK PADDLES 101

 

8 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST KAYAK PADDLE

 

1. PADDLING STYLE

There are two kinds of people in this world: ones that row high, and ones that row low. Determine if you’re a low-angle or high-angle rower before you move from renting to purchasing. The following descriptions and basics on paddling article from REI.com help tell you which group you fall into.

 

HIGH-ANGLE PADDLERS

If you position your upper-hand above shoulder-height, then you’re angling the shaft at a steeper angle. Higher-angled stroking styles cause the blade to enter the water column at a higher angles. Because of the paddles alignment with the water column, shorter paddle lengths and wider blade widths are recommended for high-angle paddlers.

 

LOW-ANGLE PADDLERS

If you position your upper-hand below shoulder-height, then you’re angling the shaft at a more gradual angle. Lower-angled stroking styles cause the blade to enter the water at lower angle. Because of the paddles alignment with the water column, longer paddle lengths and narrower blade widths are recommended for low-angle paddlers.

 

2. PADDLE LENGTH

No two paddles are created equal—especially for you. Feel free to reference this sizing chart from REI.com to what your ideal paddle length may be. (Reminder: be sure you’ve identified your paddling style first before anything else.)

 

3. BLADE MATERIALS

From carbon fiber to polyurethane, we’re in a day-and-age where the fin-like extension on your paddle (the blade) can be made from a litany of materials. While carbon fiber is the most sought after medium, it’s pricey. For a more affordable blade materials, look toward plastics.

 

4. SHAFT MATERIAL

Shafts can be made from anything like aluminum, fiberglass, and carbon fiber. Unlike blades where the lighter is better, shafts need to have some weight to them to attain a balanced feel.

 

5. FREQUENCY OF USE

Wether you’re a once-a-month kayaker or someone who takes-out your vessel almost daily, how often you kayak will play a role into which paddle is right for you. While plastic and off-brand paddles will be cheaper, odds are the carbon fiber, name-brand examples will outlast the more affordable options by a long ways.

 

6. RECREATION VS. SPORT

Are you someone who’s competing in kayaking and canoeing sprints or marathons? Then you’ll need to best, lightest, most durable paddle for your style and size. But, if you’re more into fishing from your kayak, fiberglass and plastics will do. We’d also recommend investing in a kayak anchor for recreational use, too.

 

7. WATER TYPE

Kayaking in freshwater doesn’t raise too many concerns in regards to rust and weathering. However, that completely changes when you begin paddling through brackish and oceanic waters. These two saline waters will wreck havoc on the wood, steel, and aluminum elements of any paddle.

 

8. WHITE-WATER VS. SLOW-MOVING-WATER

If you’re tackling level-four rapids, you’re going to need the strongest, most durable paddle you can find. But, if you’re primarily kayaking through the calm waters of a lake or slow-moving creek, a more affordable, less rigid paddle will suffice.

 

what paddle to use for kayak

Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/mihtiander

 

KAYAK PADDLE REVIEWS

 

1. BEST KAYAK PADDLES FOR OVERALL USE

AQUA-BOUND STING RAY POSI-LOK — FULL CARBON

Check out the latest price on:
REI

BEST FOR: Open ocean kayaking, fishing, kayaking sprints, leisure

SHAFT MATERIALS: Carbon Fiber

BLADE MATERIALS: Carbon Fiber

PROS: Lightweight and completely rust and weather resistant

CONS: Quite a bit pricer than other aluminum or fiberglass models

 

 

 

WERNER CAMANO HOOKED STRAIGHT SHAFT

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Fishing, moderately aggressive waters, open ocean kayaking

SHAFT MATERIALS: Carbon Fiber Blend

BLADE MATERIALS: Polycarbonate

PROS: Fully rust and weather resistant

CONS: Expensive

 

 

 

BENDING BRANCHES WHISPER

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Fishing, leisure kayaking

SHAFT MATERIALS: Aluminum

BLADE MATERIALS: Fiberglass-reinforced polypropylene

PROS: One of the most portable kayak paddles currently on sale

CONS: Not constructed with the most high-end materials

 

 

 

SEA SENSE X-1

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Fishing

SHAFT MATERIALS: Aluminum

BLADE MATERIALS: Plastic

PROS: Two piece and weather-tested aluminum shaft, capable of withstanding open ocean use and weathering

CONS: Sub-par materials used to construct the blade

 

 

 

 

2. BEST KAYAK PADDLES FOR SPORT

WERNER KALLISTE — CARBON

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Sporing endeavors, kayak sprints, white water

SHAFT MATERIALS: Carbon fiber

BLADE MATERIALS: Carbon fiber

PROS: With a full-carbon build construction, it’s able to withstand even the most aggressive or ripe tides or white waters

CONS: Expensive, only recommended for those who tend to kayak frequently or for sport

 

 

 

AQUA-BOUND MANTA RAY POSI-LOK — FULL CARBON

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Sporting endeavors, white waters, fishing, kayak sprints

SHAFT MATERIALS: Carbon Fiber

BLADE MATERIALS: Carbon Fiber

PROS: A high-angle styled paddle that’s constructed fully of carbon fiber and can be separated at the center for easy transportation

CONS: Blades are not removable

 

 

 

WERNER TYBEE — FIBERGLASS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Fishing, paddling through moderately aggressive waters

SHAFT MATERIALS: Fiberglass-carbon Blend

BLADE MATERIALS: Fiberglass-reinforced Nylon

PROS: One of the more affordable sport-minded kayak paddles currently available

CONS: Made of fiberglass-composites, it’s not as strong as other full-carbon builds

 

 

 

WERNER CYPRUS CARBON

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: White waters, kayak sprints, fishing

SHAFT MATERIALS: Carbon fiber

BLADE MATERIALS: Carbon fiber

PROS: Regarded as one the most well-built, full-carbon kayak paddles currently available

CONS: Expensive

 

 

 

 

3. BEST KAYAK PADDLES FOR YOUR BUDGET

TRAC-OUTDOOR PRODUCT CURVE

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Leisure use, kayaking through slow-moving streams and lakes

SHAFT MATERIALS: Aluminum and Plastic composites

BLADE MATERIALS: Plastic composites

PROS: Great entry-level kayak paddle

CONS: Not recommended for anything outside leisure use

 

 

 

WERNER CAMANO

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Leisure use, such as fishing and paddling through calm waters

SHAFT MATERIALS: Carbon Fiber and fiberglass Blend

BLADE MATERIALS: Fiberglass

PROS: Reliable, strong build quality

CONS: More expensive than other budget-friendly kayak paddles

Top 10 Best Kayak Paddles of 2017 – Best Kayaking Gear Articles – Kayak Accessories and Gadgets – Kayak Products and Ideas for Men and Women – Packing Lists for Kayaking Trips
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