One of the challenges many kayakers face is the uncertainty of water currents.
One minute it could be calm, and the next, it could surprise you and drive you meters away from your location. And when this happens, how do you get out of this challenging situation?
Would you paddle your way out of it or wait it out? The decision is all up to you, of course.
However, one of the problems you’ll need to overcome when you do decide to paddle your way out is the stability of your paddle.
You read it right, not your kayak, your paddle.
You can enjoy the stillness of the waters or get your heart pumping because of a raging river!
…if you’re equipped with a well-made paddle. A paddle is every kayaker’s main weapon and the quality of your kayaking experience partly depends on the quality of your paddle.
Today, we’ll review kayak paddles that’ll complete your paddling adventure and we’ll be covering:
- Different kayak paddles for different situations;
- Pros and cons’
- Paddles for every budget;
- Facts you need to know;
- Lots more!
So if you’re looking to level up your kayaking adventures with a trusty paddle, this review is for you.
Are you ready?
Top 4 of the Kayak Paddles
1. Carlisle Magic Plus – Best Overall
- Ideal for low angle paddling
- Excellent blade design
- On the heavy side
Perfectly Balanced and Stable
Sometimes, no matter how expensive your paddle is, if it’s not stable, it’ll topple you off your kayak. Of course, we don’t want this happening to anyone because of how dangerous it can get when faced with a challenging situation.
This is why we’re more than happy to tell you that the Carlisle Magic Plus paddle proved to be stable and durable.
If you take a closer look at the blades of this paddle, you’ll notice that it’s made of high-density fiberglass polypropylene.
And with that, you’re sure that it’s a kayak paddle that should last you a long time because of its durability!
You might also notice…
…that the blades resemble a spoon’s shape, which helps a great deal with the paddle’s strength in pushing the strong current.
Its asymmetrical shape also makes it an ideal type of paddle to try different paddling styles. Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, it will surely work well for you.
Overall, the paddle is ideal for making horizontal strokes and even for low-angle paddling.
Flexible and Durable Shaft
This kayak paddle’s shaft is just as impressive as its blades, thanks to its wrapped fiberglass material. It’s highly flexible yet astonishingly durable! That’s a double win for us.
These two characteristics combined to make one the best kayak paddle for high performers out there.
Thanks to its polypropylene material, the blades can effortlessly cut through the water with no struggles. This is unlike your standard aluminum shaft out there!
Trust us when we say that once you’ve experienced it for yourself, you won’t be able to get enough. Who would’ve thought you could effortlessly cut through the water like cake!
And if you’re looking for a paddle that can take you far and fast, you’ll be amazed by the unbelievable speed and power this paddle makes. It’s unreal!
Variety of Colors and Sizes
The kayak paddle comes in two different colors. Frankly, we wished there’s more, but it’s not a deal-breaker for us. After all, what we’re after is the powerful performance of this paddle.
Size shouldn’t also be a problem because the paddle comes in three different lengths: 220cm, 230cm, and 240cm.
But before you pick a paddle…
…make sure the length complements your body size, paddling style, and kayak size.
Is the Carlisle Magic Plus for You?
The Carlisle Magic Plus comes highly recommended for a lot of professional kayakers.
It’s an excellent investment thanks to its superb quality and power. You’re up for some serious paddling experience.
It sports a long shaft, making it relatively easy for anyone to paddle through any water—the paddle sports an excellent blade design, with a bonus of its outstanding durability.
It feels incredibly comfortable on the hand, considering that it comes in three sizes to match any person.
…the only downside we noticed about this paddle is that it’s a little heavy for our liking, and it’s quite expensive. Nevertheless, we can overlook this minor problem because of the incredible power this paddle packs.
- Long shaft allows for a stable paddling experience
- Durable construction
- Very portable
- Not recommended for beginners
- Glass-filled polypropylene blades are both lightweight and durable.
- Asymmetrical, slightly curved blade shape produces smooth, efficient strokes.
- Rubber drip rings help to keep hands and legs dry while paddling.
- Lightweight, yet strong, the wrapped fiberglass shaft has an ovalized grip.
- No-fail push-button take down allow blades to be feathered at 60-degrees or set inline.
2. Aqua-Bound Sting Ray Two-Piece Touring Kayak Paddle – Best Value for Money
- Best lightweight paddle
- Perfect touring kayak paddle
- Offers infinite feathering angles
Durable and Lightweight Touring Kayak Paddle
Like its name suggests, the product before us is one of the best touring kayak paddles worth investing in. Yes, it’s an investment because it doesn’t come cheap. You’ll need to spend a little bit of fortune on this one.
But don’t worry because this guy proved to be worth it.
Right out of the box, you’ll notice how incredibly lightweight this paddle is. You’ll have a hard time looking for a paddle that could match this one!
Despite being lightweight, you’d be happy to know that both shaft and blade are made of durable materials.
The shaft is made of 100% carbon material, making it highly durable and sturdy. What did we say? It’s an excellent investment, right? An aluminum shaft can’t compare with this one.
The blades are just as impressive as the shaft, and maybe even, a bit more.
The blades are made of carbon-reinforced nylon resin. When you compare this to fiberglass-reinforced blades, you’ll find the former to be a little stiffer yet durable.
The lightweight design of the blades creates very powerful strokes each time. You won’t regret it! And no matter your paddling style and how powerful you paddle, we guarantee you won’t feel too tired right after!
You can effortlessly navigate your way around the water and have longer paddle time! Sweet!
Perfect for Slow Moving Waters
It’s no secret that there are some kayak paddles meant for certain types of bodies of water. It could either be for saltwater, lake, river and more.
When it comes to the Aqua Bond Sting Ray, you’ll be limited to using this paddle on either slow-moving waters or flat lakes.
Never for white waters, though.
That being said, you won’t be able to use this paddle to go up the river or fight strong water currents. Instead, use it for a longer paddle session out in the calm and beautiful lake.
Posi Lok Ferrule
A stand out feature of the Aqua Bond Sting Ray is its patented Sting Ray Posi-Lok ferrule.
What does it do exactly?
To put it in simpler terms, you get a ton of feathering angles without worrying about the paddle corroding anytime soon.
The patent is designed in such a way as to keep two-piece of your paddles securely. And if you’ve finally decided to dismantle it, there won’t be any problem.
Dismantling and adjusting proved to be effortless thanks to their patented system.
Is the Aqua-Bound Two-Piece Sting Ray for You?
The Sting Ray is one of the best kayak paddles to use on calm waters.
If you want to enjoy a recreational kayak experience out in the open water, this is the paddle you should bring with you.
Paddling is made easy thanks to its durable blades and shaft. It packs enough power to get you where you want.
…there’s the bonus that this recreational kayak paddle is very lightweight! You’ll be able to bring this one around with no difficulty.
- Durable and reliable locking mechanism
- Easy to adjust and dismantle
- Smooth shaft and blades
3. Bending Branches Angler Scout Kayak Paddle – Best Budget Pick
- Made for anglers
- Ideal for fishing kayaks
- Strong, durable blades
Perfect for Anglers
If you’re new to the world of kayaking, then you ought to know that Bending Branches is one of the best-rated ones out there, which is why we aren’t at all surprised that they have one of the best kayak paddles on the market.
Their Angler Scout kayak paddle is no exception to the greatness of their products! And we especially love the fact they designed a kayak paddle for anglers.
If you’re someone who’s always out in the open waters to go fishing, then this kayak paddle is the perfect companion for you.
Couple it with a fishing kayak, you’re all set for the ultimate fishing adventure!
This kayak paddle sports a 2-piece construction, which makes it very easy to transport and store anytime. You don’t have to worry about anything anymore!
Durable Blades and Shafts
The real beauty of this kayak paddle lies in the construction of its blades and shaft. There are fiberglass reinforced blades that are sure to last you a very long time.
We love the blades because they let us push through even the toughest and strongest waters on most of our weekend paddlings.
If you’re headed to a hard-to-reach location because of the water condition, you can trust this kayak paddle to get you there. The sky’s the limit.
The shaft is just as impressive, sporting a nice oval-shaped and has a comfortable hand grip. It’s an all too familiar design to most Bending Branches paddles, which we’re sure you’ll love.
…we just wished that the hand grips had some padding to allow us to have a better grip.
It was a bit hard for us to comfortably hold the paddles because of the lack of this simple feature. Nevertheless, you can quickly remedy this by wearing a nice set of gloves.
It’s common for professional anglers to measure the fish they’ve caught. Sometimes there’s even a prize for anyone who’s seen the biggest fish!
And hey, if we ever had the chance to catch a big fish, we wouldn’t think twice to measure it. We want to show off our win!
This is why we’re sure that many professional anglers will appreciate the fact that this kayak paddle comes with a tape measure.
Along the shaft of the paddles, you’ll find a tape measure for your fish, which was a very convenient surprise.
However, some reviews say anglers are better off with their classic tape measure in the future as the numbers might fade over time.
Easy to Assemble and Dismantle
As much as possible, we don’t want to waste any of your time tinkering with kayak paddles, figuring out how to assemble or disassemble them.
…you won’t ever have to experience that problem with the Bending Branches Angler Scout as the paddle sports a durable ferrule system that lets you adjust or dismantle your pieces with ease.
You can skip the long lengthy process of trying to figure out how things work! And for first-timers, this could be very problematic.
Is the Bending Branches Angler Scout for You?
Safe to say that Bending Branches has one of the best kayak paddles for professional anglers.
If you fall under that category, it wouldn’t be hard for you to fall in love with this kayak paddle. It’s the best you’ll find for this purpose!
Overall we can say that this paddle is pretty simple. But the real beauty of it can be seen with its powerful performance once in the water.
It lives up to the brand’s reputation, which makes it an easy choice for many anglers.
- Durable construction
- Comes with a tape measure
- Fiberglass reinforced blades
- Comes in a variety of colors and paddle length
- High-end carbon fiber shaft
- Sports a cam-locking feature
Lightweight and Durable
If you don’t mind spending a fortune, then you might be interested in getting Werner Camano’s kayak paddles.
They don’t come cheap and are only ideal for professional or serious kayakers out there. Consider this kayak paddle to be on the high-end side.
But don’t worry…
…because you’ll get your money’s worth once you get this paddle. It sports a carbon fiber shaft, which adds to the durability and sturdiness of the whole paddle! Not to mention, the shaft is also very lightweight.
That said, there’s a great balance between this paddle’s weight and durability, thanks to its carbon fiber shaft.
Rest assured, the paddle can withstand even the most challenging water conditions out there.
Its construction is ideal for fighting strong currents and high tides.
This is why this paddle comes highly recommended for people who like riding through rough river currents. It’s an adventure!
The nylon blades are just as impressive as the shaft. It’s impact-resistant, which adds to the overall durability of this paddle.
Different Colors and Paddle Length
We love the fact that this paddle comes in different bright colors. This is a convenient advantage if you like to match your paddles with your kayak or even your mood!
But here’s the kicker.
The colors aren’t just for the aesthetics. It serves a useful purpose in terms of visibility and safety. From afar, you can easily spot the bright colors!
The paddle sports a unique cam-locking feature, which lets you adjust the blade angle with no problems. More importantly, you should be able to make precise adjustments, as well!
Finding the right paddle length shouldn’t also be a problem with this product. Rest assured, there’s always something for you to paddle your way comfortably!
…you can get the Werner Camano in either a 1-piece, 2-piece, or 4-piece set. It’s up to you! But what we enjoyed the most is choosing between a carbon shaft or a fiberglass shaft.
We had to go with the fiberglass shaft for this paddle because of its outstanding durability and stability.
Touring Kayak Paddle
If you don’t want to take this paddle out in rough waters, enjoy using it on a calm lake or river and even ocean touring.
You’ll be able to make powerful strokes each time you kayak without straining your hands, arms, and your wrists.
You can enjoy your stroll in peace! Because of this, we recommend this for low-angle paddling.
Is the Werner Camano Premium Fiberglass Shaft Paddle for You?
The Werner Camano is one of the most expensive paddles you’ll find today. Nevertheless, you get your money’s worth because of all the unique features this paddle has.
It’s pretty versatile because you can use it for paddling in either calm or rough water conditions.
This wouldn’t be possible if it were not for its reliable blades and carbon fiber shaft that outperforms other paddles on the market.
- Very lightweight and portable
- Solid and durable shaft and blades
- Ideal for low angle paddling
A Guide to Finding the Best Kayak Paddle
Buying the best kayak paddle proves to be a challenge for everyone, whether they’re a beginner or professional.
Your paddle can make or break your whole kayaking adventure, which is why we’re sure you’d always want to have the best.
In a way, we consider kayak paddles to be an essential component for kayaking. Even more than the kayak itself! Why? Without the paddles, how will you be able to go around the water?
Today, we’ll help you find the best kayak paddle in the market by listing all the essential considerations you need to make.
So regardless of what kayak paddle you end up with, you’ll know the non-negotiables to look for.
Kayak paddles come in different sizes and lengths. A typical paddle measures somewhere between 210 to 260 centimeters, which feels comfortable on the hand.
And take note…
…that when we say size, we mean two things: height and width. And these two, together, play a significant role in determining how you handle your paddle.
If you buy a wide kayak paddle, make sure it’s coupled with a long paddle. It’s a lot easier for you to reach the waters. But if you buy a short kayak paddle, then it should be ideal to use on a sea kayak.
You might even want to consider whether it’s ideal for low or high-angle paddling!
These are just some of the basics you need to remember. Where do you plan to use the kayak paddle? And what size is ideal for different water conditions?
Another factor you’d also want to consider is the height of your torso.
A lot of first-timers make the mistake of buying the first kayak paddle they find. And once they use it, they experience a lot of struggle.
But this could easily be remedied by finding out or measuring your torso’s height. Doing this is pretty simple! There’s no reason for you not to find the perfect paddle length!
Blades form a vital component to finding the best kayak paddle. Unfortunately, not a lot of people pay close attention to this part.
Most often than not…
…people would choose based on the looks of the blade, which is a common beginner mistake.
Believe it or not, looks alone aren’t enough to have the best paddle blade. You also have to consider other factors like its size, material, shape, wind resistance, and more.
Blades come in different sizes. You’ll find the market’s standard size, which is generally what first-timers would bee-line for in the market.
For professional kayakers…
…they require a more specialized blade, which the market also sells! They choose from a variety of blade sizes, depending on the intensity of their activity and more.
So you’d want to make sure to select a kayak paddle with the right blade size. Undeniably, a lot of people are confused with what this is and its purpose.
If you plan to kayak, we always recommend choosing a double-bladed paddle. They provide the best performance for a reasonable price.
Blades also come in different types of materials. The standard and typical blade would sport polymer or plastic blends.
This is relatively more affordable than fiberglass blades, which makes it a decent choice for beginners.
…if you’re just starting and don’t want to shell out a significant amount of money, nylon or polymer paddles make a great go-to choice.
It gets the job done, and you can paddle your way to a fun and memorable day.
But if you’re willing to invest or shell out more money, we recommend getting fiberglass blades. It’s significantly pricier than its plastic counterparts but very aesthetically pleasing and lightweight.
Fiberglass blades are always worth your money, especially if you don’t want to deal with heavy paddles.
Aluminum shaft and paddle are always the right choices; may it be for a beginner or professional, but mostly for beginners! It’s highly durable and affordable, which is why a lot of kayakers prefer this type.
Now, if you’re looking for the most lightweight blade out there…
…then you’re better off choosing a carbon-fiber paddle. However, you might be put off by its price because it’s one of the most expensive types out there.
Notwithstanding its price, carbon-fiber paddles are perfect for all sorts of kayakers.
If you’re serious about kayaking, we highly recommend investing in an excellent carbon-fiber blade paddle. By far, they’re the most durable ones and even the lightest!
We’re sure you already have an idea of what kayak blades look like. It bears that standard shape you’d commonly find in the market. But did you know that blades come in other shapes?
These shapes have an impact on the performance of your kayaking! What do you want to achieve, and which shape do you prefer?
There are two different types of blade shapes: short flat and long skinny. Each has its pros and cons, depending on what you’re looking for.
Short flat blades are perfect for kayakers who want control and power to steer and stop their kayak. It’s also perfect for high-angle paddling because the short blades pack a lot of energy in every stroke.
We love this type of blade…
…because it lets us freely and quickly get to our destinations without struggles. We can compete with our friends and enjoy racing each other!
Long skinny blades, on the other hand, are ideal for low angle paddling. If you just want to have fun and stroll around the lake, we recommend this blade shape.
You’d also want to make sure you’d get the right shape for high angle paddling. What might work for low angle paddling doesn’t necessarily mean the same for high angle fishing.
Similar to blades, you also need to get into the nitty-gritty of choosing the shaft of your paddle. It’s no easy task for sure, considering the variety available on the market.
But once you’ve overcome the difficult task of going through your choice, you’ll experience the difference between using just your average shaft and a specialized shaft.
Generally, the shaft refers to that part that runs between your blades. Its purpose is to give you a lot of control and the opportunity to create a variety of strokes.
You can choose between having an aluminum shaft or maybe a carbon fiber one. The choice is yours to make!
Straight and Bent Shafts
There are two types of shafts: straight shaft or bent shaft. Let’s get to know their difference!
…straight shafts are notoriously known for being cheap and affordable, which is why it doesn’t come as a surprise that people tend to gravitate towards this option.
Most often than not, a straight shaft is the first thing you’d find in your local store.
Despite its price, you’d be surprised to know that a straight shaft packs a ton of power, which is why we recommend this type of shaft to people who paddle through strong and heavy currents.
Because of its shape, you can easily make powerful strokes.
On the other hand…
A bent shaft is way more expensive than a straight shaft. But it’s the price you’d have to pay if you want to put less strain on your hands and wrist.
One feel of a bent shaft, and you’ll know what we’re talking about. It feels more natural to grip, and your hands won’t feel as tired afterward. If you plan to go on a long kayaking adventure, then we recommend using a bent shaft.
Less strain on your hands always makes fun memories.
Generally, the standard diameter size of shafts is good enough for all kayakers. It’s comfortable enough to handle, even for a day’s worth of paddling.
…if you want extreme comfort and have small and shorthands, you’re better off choosing smaller shafts. It will be less strenuous on the hands for you to enjoy your day. It’s a win-win!
1 piece,2 piece, and 4 piece
You might have noticed that kayak paddles come in different pieces: 1, 2, and 4.
Is there any difference between them? And what are they good for?
1-piece kayak paddles are probably the lightest of all of them and have the strongest shaft.
It’s always the best choice for people who kayak every day. It’s comfortable on the hand and extremely lightweight. You wouldn’t have to dread using it every day!
Now a 2-piece paddle is what you’d commonly find on the market. More often than not, a 2-piece paddle is the most used type out there.
A 4-piece paddle is nearly just the same as the 2-piece ones. It’s common on the market, though it comes in different sizes. We recommend using the 4-piece paddle to anyone who has more than 1 passenger on board.
Your kayak’s design plays a significant role in your paddle’s performance. And unfortunately, this is overlooked by a lot of people!
If you own a wide kayak or plan to use one, you’d want to choose a long paddle. It’ll give you better balance, and you’re less likely to topple over while you’re paddling.
But do note…
…that this isn’t always the case for each person. Sometimes it’s a case-to-case basis. Often, you’d have to key in the kayaker’s height, the type of kayak to use, to know the appropriate paddle to use.
You’d also want to key in the ideal wind resistance of your kayak and your paddle so you won’t topple over easily.
For sure, you’ll be using your paddle in different types of water. And not all paddles are ideal for these different water types.
Once you know which body of water you frequent, then it’s a lot easier for you to know which paddle to choose!
What different water types do you need to know, and what’s the best kayak paddle for it?
Lakes or Rivers
Who doesn’t love kayaking on lakes and rivers? The water is calm, the environment is serene, and you’re right in the middle of nature. That being said, you’re most likely to spend a ton of time on your kayak.
A touring kayak paddle is always the best type to choose for a lake or a river.
It’s the best type to bring whenever you plan to go camping, lake exploring, and more!
But if you don’t plan to stay in the water for too long, a recreational paddle should do the trick. They’re meant for short trips like a fishing expedition! They’re also affordable and durable!
We’re pretty impressed with how durable recreational paddles are. You can use it on a lake or river full of sand and rocks, and it’ll survive!
You’d also want to consider having a wide blade paddle for whenever you go on shallow waters. You’ll be able to get out of challenging spaces and maneuver your way out with no problem.
Sea Touring or Flowing Water
If you just want to make your way around flowing waters, always choose a lightweight paddle.
Performance kayak paddles and touring kayak paddles have proven themselves to be the best for this job because of their weight.
You can move up on any flowing water with ease, and you won’t have to struggle with the weight of the paddle. So think of these two types of paddle as your friends in the water! It will make your life a lot easier.
Your hands and wrists won’t feel as strained whenever you’re paddling so you focus more on reaching your destination.
Whitewater paddles are always the best type if you want to cut through the water’s surface. It’s very durable, efficient, and one of the best kayak paddles to pack a ton of power.
Most whitewater paddles are made with either carbon or fiberglass for a good reason! It provides the paddle with extra strength for you to fight against even the strongest streams.
…whitewater paddles aren’t without faults. Unfortunately, despite being very durable, you still might experience breaking when the water conditions get too intense.
We named some of the best kayak paddles today.
By the time you finish reading this review, we don’t doubt you’ll be off to buying your very own paddle. May it be your first or one of many, we’re sure you’re looking forward to it.
In this review, we made sure only to give you the best. Whether it’s for low angle or high angle paddling, for touring, or for rough water conditions, we’ve got something for you.
But of course, we can’t help but fall in love with standout products in this list: Aqua-Bound Sting Ray and the Carlisle Paddle.
Runner Up: Aqua-Bound Two-Piece Sting Ray
This paddle won us over because of the idea of having a memorable fun day at the lake. Paddling through the calm waters, escaping the busy city life sounds too enticing for us to miss out on.
With its durable carbon-reinforced shaft and blades, we’ve got nothing to worry about. We’ve got the power and control while we’re out on the waters.
Winner: Carlisle Magic Plus
And there’s no other winner for us than the Carlisle kayak paddle. It’s well-loved even by professional kayakers, thanks to its reliability and durability.
It’s very comfortable on the hand and comes in different sizes to match you. What more can you ask for?
Though the price might set you back, trust us when we say that it’s worth the investment.
Today we’ve named some of the best kayak paddles you can find on the market. We can say without any trace of doubt that you’ll get your money’s worth. Don’t forget to preserve it from loss with a good paddle leash.
Are you excited to get your hands on the best kayak paddle? Because we’re already very excited for you. Just imagine a day’s worth of fun and memories in the water!
It’s a great escape that you can enjoy alone or with others.
We hope you enjoyed this review. Feel free to leave a comment below and share this article!