New to kayaking have some questions

I just got a kayak for my birthday and don’t even have a paddle yet. I was wondering what kind of paddle i should get, length wise that sort of thing. Plus any info on ohio kayaking would be useful as well thanks.

Sign up for a class
First off get some sleep, 3:40AM, Happy Birthday. Sign up for a class come this summer. Visit the local library to scan what they cover in kayaking, and read past posted email on the same subject. What is the length of your new kayak? Where will you be paddling? {White water, rivers, lakes (small), Great Lakes (open water)} Is their a local group you can join? Best of luck, must go walk the dog now,

Tired it is 3:50 AM EST Mark

Depends on your height, over 5’8" try looking at a 230cm-240cm. I would start out with a good but cheap paddle in case kayaking wasnt for me. They can run $35.00-$85.00. Slide drip rings about 4-6" from neck of paddle blade. Once you find the right paddle length for you, you probably will want a graphite shaft paddle. They are lighter but to me I can use either aluminum or graphite. Reading books on kayaking is ok as a guideline. I think you will do better with a hands on experience. Good Luck! let us know how it’s going when you have gone out a while on the water.

You need to give more specifics.
What width is the kayak?

How tall are you?

Are you talking about regular paddling, or white water?

If you are brand new to kayaking, don’t spend a lot on a high end paddle because you will be changing paddles within a year anyway.

For what it is worth, I am 5’9" and use a 220cm “euro” style on 21" and 23" wide kayaks.

Cheers, and welcome to the wonderful world of kayaking.


I agree with Jack…
…we need more specifics before we can even begin to offer reasonable suggestions. What is your boat’s make/model (some of us may know the specific boat), the length and beam of the boat (beam is especially important here), and your height and arm length?

I see in your profile that you’re interested in paddling “lakes/flat water” (to begin with, anyway). That’s usually a good place to start.

Until we learn more specifics from you, here are a few general things to ponder for now…

Though it may not make sense for you to go out and purchase the first $400 carbon fiber paddle you see, I’d also recommend against starting out with the cheapest, heaviest aluminum shaft paddle (this can be very discouraging, and I wouldn’t want you to become so discouraged when you’re just getting started). If you’re planning on paddling this winter, an aluminum shaft paddle can also be very cold. You’ll probably be able to find a decent fiberglass paddle to get started with (and don’t rule out getting a used paddle, as you may be able to get a pretty decent paddle at a very reasonable price).

Do you have friends who paddle? If so, you might ask them if you can try their paddles; just to begin to get a feeling for how different paddles might work with you and your boat.

I’m looking forward to reading about the specifics of your situation, and perhaps we can offer some more specific ideas at that time.

Welcome to the wonderful world of paddling! :slight_smile:


What others have said …
is sound advice. Eventually you should have two paddles. One to use as a spare (and carry with you on your journeys), the other your primary. I will recommend an Aquabound brand as your first paddle only because I have experience with them and they are decent quality for the money. As others have said, you will likely opt for a different length, weight and/or style at some point, so your first paddle could become your spare.

Check to see if you have a good, independent paddle sports speciality store in your vicinity (not a box store like Dick’s, etc.). Knowledgable staff can help you select your first paddle. Sometimes a chain store like EMS will have a knowledgable staff person, but you really take your chances.

Here is a general guide you can use as a start:

You can save a lot of money by looking for a good used paddle - and there are a lot for sale if you look around a bit.

Good luck and welcome to kayaking!


not mentioned yet
is Guidelines on the left side of your page , click on that an scroll down for paddles an anything else , a nice resourse . One thing also , you will be given massive amounts of info so don’t get overwelmed , an a big reason behind that is after you get some basic’s down a "what works for you " will begin to come in . Above all be safe , and you’ll have alot of fun , enjoy , welcome ------M

Ohio groups
Join a group (or more than one) and not only will you have people to paddle with, many of them are great sources of information about classes, safety, gear, places to paddle, and so on.

Some Ohio groups: (these are SW Ohio, sorry)

Dayton Canoe Club - Expensive membership but you don’t have to be a member to join them on some of their paddles. Nice people and very knowledgable.

Southern Ohio Paddlers Club - Small group that only does a few trips, but a very welcoming and friendly group. They also do lots of non-paddling get togethers, such as picnics, monthly “meetings”, etc.

CincyPaddlers - Large-ish group, probably the most active in the area. Quantity and quality in terms of number of trips and interesting venues. Trips are well planned and organized.

Columbus Outdoor Pursuits - I don’t know much about them, but could get more info if you are interested. This might be closer to you.

And, of course, p-net is the best source of paddling info I’ve ever found!


Columbus Outdoor Pursuits webpages

The newsletter goes online at the beginning of every month.

A good handful of the members are very helpful to serious beginniners. I think very highly of these people.

They also have boats you can rent.

In fact they have scheduled some winter roll classes inside at one of the health clubs.

Thanks for the link, LindaKeith
I should have added that the three groups mentioned in my post are all yahoo groups. Go to and type in the name of the group (usually with no spaces) and you should be able to find them. You need a yahoo ID but they are free and easy to set up.