Paddle Float New Question

Quick question…

On sale at Sports Authority

  1. Seal Line Paddle Float $39.99

    (looks like an every day basic model)

  2. Seal Line self inflating for $60.00

  3. Seattle Sports 2 chamber for $45

  4. Gaia for $50.00

    I would appreciate all info you could send my way. The kid at the local paddle shop has not been much help!

    Looking for the best …in a worst case scenario…if @#$% were to hit the fan out on a bay which one would you want with you?


Pros and Cons
An initial comment - if the shit was really hitting the fan on an ocean bay it is possible that a paddle float wouldn’t do you much of any good unless you had progressed towards a roll and could do a paddle-float assisted wet re-entry and roll. I am not familiar with the water you are in, but there are conditions in which the typical paddle float self-rescue simply can’t be executed by most paddlers because the seas are too big. Every time they get balanced a wave comes along and knocks them down. In sum, don’t assume that a couple of flatwater practices of a paddle float re-entry will cover you in real serious conditions. Your better bet would be to carry a VHF radio with a weather alert feature and stay away from that kind of trouble until you have some more time.

As to types of floats - the more air that you have to add to the chamber to make it effective, the longer you are in the water and more tired you get blowing it up. So if you don’t want to consider something like the NorthWater foam float - they are big to carry - you may want to focus on the two chamber models. In them you can blow up just one of the two chambers in a pinch and get some help from it.

Also, look for a valve that doesn’t require a lot of fuss or fine finger movement to get open and filled up. If the air or water are on the cold side, you’ll need something that you can operate virtually with your eyes shut and will hold its air without being fussy about how the valve is shut down.

I agree completely with Celia
The inflatable float by Gioia has been my choice of inflatables for years now. It can be attached to the paddle, inflated, and then deflated with only one hand.

I also have a Northwater Foam float that I used mainly for learning to roll. Several people I know that paddle in very cold water, have told me that in the winter time, they can’t make a seal around the inflation tubes with their mouths and they would only use a foam float. Slightly less buoyancy, but quicker and easier to deploy.

As Celia said, don’t make a paddle float your sole rescue method.

Which ever one you get
make sure it is the two chamber one.

Then practice with it so that you have the rexcue down pat.

Then the most important thing to do is listen to the marine forcast and take heed on the conditions before every one of your paddles so you will never have to use it.



thanks for your info …very helpfull

Seattle Sports
I bought paddle floats by Seattle Sports when I first started paddling some 8 years ago. They have taken a beating and significant abuse but still work as they were designed to do. I tried other lightwiehgt floats but they just didn’t hold up. Foams are great from practice but too bulky to actually keep as part of my regular “kit”. If you buying your firstm then Seattle Sports duel-chambers are a great value.


I’ve got a reasonable roll, but still keep a mostly-inflated paddle float behind my seat. It provides a bit of back support when I’m not paddling, displaces some water when I do practice reentries, and is ready to use if I ever need it.