Paddle Selection Help

I am new to kayaking and have purchased a Tsunami 165. I need a paddle now. I am on a budget and would not want to to spend more than 140.00. Looked at the the Werner Skagit, Aquabound Stingray, Bending Branches Sunrise GS and the Pacific Designs T-1.

Which would you prefer and why. Have pity on a newbie.

Have you had a chance to try any?

– Last Updated: Feb-08-10 4:16 AM EST –

If there's any chance you can get out and try several different paddles with your boat, that would be your best opportunity to see what feels good to you. So much depends on not only your boat, but the kinds of water/conditions you want to explore, your own "paddling personality", etc. If you have friends who paddle, perhaps you can try some of their paddles as well. If you have a chance, definitely try some Greenland Paddles! If you like that style, you can easily carve your own for *very* little money.

When I first started, it was just assumed that I would want a "Euro" style paddle (as opposed to what I prefer now, a Greenland paddle), so after trying a few, my first paddle was a Werner San Juan (pretty big blades). A well made paddle, and I really enjoyed using it for a few years...right up to the moment that I tried my first Greenland paddle. That was it...from that moment on, I've only used GPs (it's been about 10 years now). Looking back, I would have been very happy to have just started with a GP.

About the cost...

Once you've tried a variety of paddles, and have some idea of your first preferences, why not look for a used paddle? Just as with boats, you can get much more paddle for your money if you purchase used; and it's good recycling, and enables the seller to get whatever other gear they might be looking for by selling their paddle.

Let us know what you've tried, and how they feel to you, and we might be able to come up with all kinds of ideas for you (and by then, you'll have some pretty good ideas of your own).


Stingray is nice
And lean towards the shorter lengths like a 220cm.

The carbon fiber shaft with nylon blades is a pretty lightweight and durable paddle.


First paddle choice
The Skagit and Stingrays are fine choices for someone in your situation. Don’t go cheaper than these two, you want to have fun out there, the paddle is important. Do not buy longer than 220. 210 is better.

Bending Branches makes good paddles, I’m not familiar with the model you mention, nor that 4th paddle.

Pacific Designs T-1
I’ve got this paddle - for the price and weight, it appeared to be the best option. I have 2 big complaints about it:

  1. The shaft is really small. I blister most times that I use it (and I tend to keep a really light grip). I haven’t tried the electric tape + pencil trick that he suggests.

  2. It’s got to be the wettest paddle I’ve ever owned. I paddle a rec. boat (4’ long cockpit) and tend to get a tremendous amount of water from the paddle drip. The back of the paddle blade, where it mates up with the shaft creates a grove. Water hangs on there and subsequently drips on you.

Go used
Touring paddles should not be heavier than 30 oz - see if you can get something used in the $200 range that will be a good paddle as opposed to so-so paddle.

The problem is that util you pu some miles and know what you want in a paddle (besides price) you ae likely to change paddles a few times to get what you like. so buying new for a first paddle is usually a bad move financially -:wink:

GPs are a great option - A very nice Lumpy brand paddle or similar is worth considering even as a first paddle

Try some different paddles locally from fellow paddlers first to get a feel for what’s out there.

Pacific Designs
I ordered one, and just as it claims it is very light, i liked the small shaft, and you can customise it to any length or feather when you order, which is nice. When paddling with it though i found the abs of the blades just isn’t stiff enough, and caused more flutter than i have ever experienced with any paddle, found it hard to paddle at all with it. For myself i’d go skagit #1, stingray #2 and BB #3