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Recommendations for a kayaking paddle.

Hi!  I'm new to "conversations."  I love to kayak and every time I go away, I try to fit that in.  Now with the pandemic, I have been going with my friend who has 2 kayaks and it's making me want to get my own.  I have been doing research but it's hard to figure out when I can't even try them out.  I was going to start with just getting a nice paddle to use with my friend's kayak.  Do you think that's a good start?  If so, I was looking at the Werner paddles and thought low angle would be best but they are thinner and I'm not sure that is good.  I want to be able to go at a nice pace when I want to. I also want light and have wrist issues so I'm wondering if I should go with a bent shaft.  Any guidance you have would really help. 

Thanks! Karyn

3 Replies

Hey @KarynF14,

I think a paddle would be a great start, especially since you've been using your friend's kayak for the time being. With that be said, it's important to know that the paddle length is dependent on the width of the kayak. So, if you purchase a paddle now for your friend's kayak, then you'll want to be looking at kayak with a similar width. 

Here's an excellent REI Expert Advice article on paddles for kayaking. In that article there's a helpful graph detailing recommended paddle size based on the kayak's width and the paddler's height. 

With regards of what type of paddle to purchase, I agree that a low angle paddle would be best to maintain a nice relaxed stroke, while a bent shaft would help minimize wrist strain. Also, I would look at paddles made from either fiberglass or carbon, because a lighter material would help reduce fatigue (especially carbon). The Werner Cyprus would be a good example of all features I just mentioned.

Lastly, when you're ready to start looking for a kayak, try setting an appointment with an REI Virtual Outfitter. You pick a time that works best for your schedule and you'll be connected with an expert to answer all of your outdoor questions one-on-one.

Hope this info was helpful--and most importantly, have fun out there on the water!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

@KarynF14 Karyn, 

It's already been said so I will tell you my experience with paddles starting out. Went thru the correct procedure to purchase the correct paddle length. Once in my yak, my knuckles took a beating. Needless to say my pains didnt last long with that paddle. After a one day, 30 mile trip, I realized that I needed to spend a little more money on a good paddle. Upgraded to the Werner Skagit 240CM. All that to say, if you have use of a kayak, I recommend investing some hard earned cash on a good paddle. 

Yeah, I'm admittedly a bit of a paddle snob, but I don't understand spending a lot of money on a kayak and then getting a cheap paddle. It's like putting cheap tires on a Ferrari. 

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.