Im looking for an oar that is light yet sturdy. I would like it to be a bevertail blade, Because we are not going out on the river and just out on some calm lakes. My price range is from $20-$40 i looked myself but as im brand new to this i have no idea the quality. Any suggestions?
First off, let’s get the terminology straight: kayaks and canoes use paddles, not oars. Oars are a single-bladed shaft that fits into a fixed-in-place oarlock attached to a boat that is rowed by sitting backwards and pulling on both oars at once, like a racing scull or Adirondack guide boat or a row boat.
Second, “beavertail” is used to describe the blade shape of some canoe paddle models. Good kayak paddles don’t use a beavertail shape. Some ultra-cheap crappy plastic and aluminum ones have a similar beavertail shape but they are not efficient and miserable to use, heavy and clunky. Proper kayak paddles have an assymetric shape because they are placed in the water at a sharper angle than a canoe paddle). One exception is Greenland paddles which are long and narrow, but surprisingly efficient and light. Many people make their own Greenland paddles out of wood – lots of instructions for them on line if you want a cheap way to get a good paddle. I prefer Greenland paddles myself and use them all the time in calm lakes and rivers. Not sold in stores though.
Third, you are not going to find a light but efficient kayak paddle for from $20 to $40 unless you luck out at a garage sale and find somebody dumping a good one for peanuts.
Honestly, for the use you are describing, you would probably be happiest with medium to small area narrow bladed paddle with a fiberglass or glass/carbon composite shaft. Cannon, Aquabound and Werner all make models that would work for you between $100 and $150. The Werner Skagit at $130 (From REI) is a good choice.
Sometimes you can find decent paddles on clearance or factory seconds for under $100 or used ones from $50 to $75 on Craigslist.
If those prices shock you, consider this: you and the paddle are the “engine” of the kayak. Having a lightweight and efficiently designed blade in your hands that will not tire you is actually more important than the boat you are sitting in for your comfort and enjoyment of kayaking. Given the choice between paddling a cheap kayak with an expensive paddle or an expensive kayak with a cheap paddle, most experienced kayakers would choose the first option.
Thank you. Again i am new to kayaking and have a very limited knowledge of the vocabulary and materials but now i knowwhat to look for in stores and online. Thank you for your helpfull informatiom.
I use a Werner Camano for my main kayak, and got a Werner Skagit for my loaner kayak. As Willowleaf stated above, your paddle is a large part of the “engine” of your kayak. I was advised to buy the best paddle I could afford when I got my first kayak and I’m glad I heeded that advice. It makes paddling a pleasure.
For another perspective on the “investment” in a paddle, I still have my first paddle I bought 21 years ago … but I’ve bought and sold at least 4 boats since then. So investing in a good paddle now pays well into the future. Granted it’s still one of my “backup” paddles these days but it’s still around and still the one I give to friends as a step up from the $20 sporting-goods store paddles.
If you intend to try and grow in this sport, a good paddle from one of the manufacturers named will help the learning process. A good 2-piece paddle with a solid connection lets you experiment with left and right-hand control and different feathering angles until you learn what works for you. Other than my Greenland paddle, I have mostly Werners and have never had or heard a complaint.
I found two paddles for sale that are good deals you might consider. This first listing has the 2-piece Werner Skagit for $104 with free shipping (my first kayak paddle was a Skagit and I still have two of them). And Airkayaks has some factory seconds of the Cannon Wave 4-piece paddle (a few ounces heavier than the Skagit) on sale for $89 (though you would have to pay shipping, which is usually around $12 to $15 for paddles). I also have one of the Wave paddles that I use for traveling because it breaks down so small.
But you should actually choose your kayak before you buy a paddle because what length you need depends on your body metrics AND the width and depth of the kayak. But at least these will give you an idea of what is available.