Can you recommend a budget paddle?

-- Last Updated: Mar-19-13 1:32 AM EST --

I'm looking for a cheap paddle under $50 for fishing. I was looking at some on Amazon and that got good reviews. Any ideas? Thanks.

I'm 5' 10" tall, and kayak is 33" wide. Is an 8' long paddle about right?

Two ways to get a cheap paddle:

  1. Go to ebay, search for “kayak paddle”, 220cm-230cm is the max that you should be considering
  2. Craigslist, same thing

Bending Branches

look for fiberglass shaft
Unfortunately most paddles under $50 have aluminum shafts and heavy plastic blades. These can really reduce your paddling efficiency and be tiring to use. If you look hard enough you can sometimes find a fiberglass shaft paddle, perhaps not as low as $50, but for under $75. It will make a substantial difference in your enjoyment if you can find one. I’ve picked up some decent paddles on clearance of used for around $60.

Be wary of the positive reviews you read on Amazon and other sites. Most people posting them have nothing to compare their purchase with, also people tend not to admit they bought something they don’t like. There are even reviews of boats and gear here on that are questionable. Everybody thinks their first kayak and paddle are the greatest in the world. But a very high percentage of people change their minds about that entry level gear once they have used it for a while and get a chance to use better equipment.

I always carry a spare paddle when I kayak and many times have loaned one to people struggling with a too short, stiff and heavy aluminum paddle (often from a rental fleet or something they bought at a sporting goods store or Walmart). It has always been a “Eureka” moment for these folks when they feel the difference a light and well designed paddle makes in their kayaking experience. Think about it: the paddle is the “engine” of the kayak. I would rather paddle a cheap lousy kayak with a good paddle than a good kayak with a cheap lousy paddle.

Bending Branches is one good company, others are Harmony and Quest. In fact, Dick’s Sporting Goods has a decent Quest fiberglass paddle on sale at the moment for $69.99. I think it would be worth throwing the extra $20 at it.

You could get lucky.
I’ve been pretty fortunate and other than the paddles I have built for myself, I have only purchased one. The others have either been given to me as gifts, or I have found them. The best of the gifts was from a person who had no idea what they were handing me–a $450 Werner. They found it in a new neighbors trash can who found it in the house they were moving into. I found another very nice Werner stuck under a bunch of driftwood along a river. It still had the price tag on it.

The paddle I use the most is the one I actually did pay for. It’s a beauty and I even got a heck of a deal on it–$197 for a $340 paddle.

second this
There are some great deals and a decent rage of paddles if you check both, and this website’s classified section.

My cheap paddles
I started with a Quest Chute paddle from Dicks for about $50. Paddled alot with it and thought it was OK until I bought a used boat that came with a Carlisle Magic (new at Academy $75) and never used the chute again. Tried Marine Raider but now one is a decoration in a tree in my front yard.

If your going to paddle much, an aquabound in the $130-$160 range is easily worth the money, but I put alot of miles on my Carlisle magic and it’s never not moved me through the water.

You’ll want a 220 cm. But if you get a good price on a used 230cm take it.

Thanks everyone. 230cm is 7.5 feet long?