Recently I bought a new kayak paddle and it got me thinking about the differences in paddles and how to decide which is the perfect one for you. If you have not realized it yet, a good paddle makes a world of difference.
The first thing to understand is that there are two types of paddles, high and low angle. Traditionally high angle paddlers are those that paddle in sit inside kayaks, paddling rapids, rivers and other rough waters in very narrow kayaks.
Low angle paddles are mostly used for sit on top kayaks that tend to be a lot wider, working great on pretty much every body of water. Where the low angle paddles excel for kayak fishing is the ability to deliver powerful strokes at a low impact and in exchange the paddler is able to paddle longer and farther throughout the day.
The lighter the paddle the more you will pay, most paddle manufacturers are topping their product prices out at around 450 dollars. That is a lot of money considering that most people are recreational anglers that may want to spend less than that and still be happy with their paddle.
Just like kayaks, paddles are made for different people. Paddle diameter and length are very important. Companies make specific paddles for men, women, and children. For men and women, I suggest starting with a standard diameter shaft and a 230 cm paddle. These are great for even the wider sit on top kayaks. Women with smaller hands may want to switch to a small diameter paddle.
I think one of the best features to have in your paddle is an adjustable ferrule. This will allow the paddle to enter the water evenly on both sides as your shoulders and wrists rotate naturally, minimizing stress and maximizing your strokes. The second most important feature in a paddle is a bent shaft. A bent shaft is not a necessity, however it is comfortable to use, offering an ergonomic position for your wrists.
You can get pretty decent paddles sometimes for around 100 bucks. There is nothing wrong with buying a good paddle to start out with until you can save up for a more expensive one or make an educated buy on something with a heavy price tag. No one wants to spend their hard earned money on something they are not happy with.
So what constitutes a good paddle? I think what makes a good paddle is different for everyone, the one thing we can all agree on is that we want something that will last some time and be comfortable to use while easy on the eyes. Ahead I will recommend some different paddles in various price ranges for you to start on the right path to finding your perfect paddle, I am not payed or sponsored by any of these companies. Keep in mind there are many different brands of paddles and within them many different models. Explore them and make an educated buy.
AT Paddles Exodus Fishstix Paddle
Bending Branches Angler Pro Paddle
Bending Branches makes this Angler Pro design that has a T-700 carbon shaft and multi-laminate fiberglass blades. The bright green blades offer distant visibility and the shaft has a ruler on it. There is very little give in the blades and rightfully so, this is the top of the line BB paddle made.
Adventure Technology Odyssey Glass Paddle
Werner Skagit Straight Shaft Paddle
The Skagit is a great paddle for the price, not to mention it is definitely the lightest paddle for the price, this is in part due to its fiberglass nylon blades. The nylon is pretty strong and durable but gives a little more than I would like to see. Werner also offers a standard adjustable ferrule system up to 75 degrees each way, while the bright yellow blades are useful for visibility on the water. This paddle is a personal favorite for starting out and a great way to spend your money while deciding on what you may want to upgrade to.
Joshua “Kayak” Christensen