Paddle Suggestions Please

I am a short person with short arms and don’t even know whether that comes into play here but I will be buying my first Kayak paddle and am looking for suggestions as to brands, length, and how much should I be spending.

Can I get a decent paddle, relatively light weight for $50 - $100?

Suggestions please.

need to know the width of the boat
Werner paddles has a nice tool on their website to estimate the ideal paddle length. As a new paddler, you will most likely paddle in a “low angle” style (more relaxed approach which requires a longer paddle length).

Aluminum paddles will run you around $50, but if you go up to $120, you can get a carbon-fiber paddle such as the Aqua-Bound Stingray. Even if you don’t notice the difference immediately, you will over time, so it would be a savings in the long run to start with a decent CF paddle.

Without knowing the width of your kayak, it is really hard to say for sure, but you would probably be happy with a 220 cm kayak. Look for a retailer that will let you test paddle before you buy. If you live near other paddlers, they might have a collection to let you try a few different lengths. Somehow passionate kayaking starts to lead to collections.

More info
You want to include information on the boat and kind of paddling you will be doing, flat water, ocean, surf etc.

Aquabound paddles are good inexpensive paddles. A light paddle that fits your hand well and lets you paddle efficiently is actually more important than the kayak. Spending an extra 25 -50 bucks would be a good investment. I would see if you could take a paddling class from a trained instructor and try out some different paddle lengths. I disagree that a beginner wants a long paddle, it just keeps you in the awkward beginner stage longer. I’m 5’8" and use a 197 for touring. If you have a little more money to spend look at Onno paddles. Also around kayak clubs it’s easy to pick up a decent used paddle for not a lot of money.

Paddling Suggestions Please

– Last Updated: Apr-24-13 8:24 PM EST –

The kayak is only 25" wide....a "sit-in". I will be doing a lot of small river/stream and creek paddling and exploring. Some lakes but mostly streams and rivers. So. Jersey is loaded with them.
Hope this answers you questions.
Wish I knew some folks who have extras I could borrow, but I am joining a couple of clubs so I'll ask around.

Stay short IMO
If it were me I would stick to a short paddle, you might not want a carbon fiber paddle so you can use it to push off the bottom on shallow creeks. I lived in Bucks County PA and my boss lived in the Pine Barrens. Only did canoe paddling then, but if I were going back to small twisty streams there I would go with a short paddle to avoid the snags and overhead branches etc, and so you can paddle close to the hull to get around obstacles, mostly branches. If you post on the general section there is a Celebrity Poster from the Pine Barrens who can weigh in.

Your budget
"Can I get a decent paddle, relatively light weight for $50 - $100?"

The answer is no, so start looking on Craigslist.

Craig’s List? Under Boats?
I will be doing most of the very shallow rivers/streams in Jersey. There is one called Wading River for obvious reasons, so I guess carbon fiber might be the way to go although like many I don’t want to spend a ton of money.

I’ve never seen paddles on Craig’s List but I’ve only looked under Boats/Kayaks.

Werner Sprite

– Last Updated: Apr-25-13 8:36 AM EST –

Not great for whitewater but great for touring

Fit Guide for length
Below - Werner has one that can help with the length part.

As to your price range, add a voice to no. Under $100 you are just being unkind to your joints unless you look used. I would add two ideas that I don’t see above - EBay for used, and consider getting a paddle that is a little long and sending it back to the manufacturer to be shortened. If it is from a major manufacturer and is in decent shape, they’ll all do it. The cumulative price tag is more than you state above but a lot less than a new few hundred dollar really light paddle.

An adjustable paddle is an option

– Last Updated: Apr-25-13 11:44 AM EST –

Austin Kayak has the Bending Branches adjustable Slice fiberglass paddle for $129. The ferrule can be set to make the paddle any length from 215 to 230 cm (using the Werner "calculator" puts you at 220cm for low angle paddling with a 25" boat). That could be a useful investment for a beginner -- if you decide to get a different kayak in the future or your skill level changes from low angle to high angle, it would be handy to have the option of 4 different settings:

You'll get a lot of suggestions for shorter paddles, but as a shorter person with short arms myself who used to paddle a 25" kayak, I found anything under 220 cm caused me to hit the gunwales with my hands when trying to reach the water. Even now with a 21" kayak I prefer a 213 cm. The short arms and upper body geometry are the key. Guys tend to have proportionally longer arms and wider shoulders and can clear the gunwales using a shorter paddle. Size is highly personal -- it would be ideal if you could borrow and test some different lengths. Are there any places nearby with kayak rental liveries, say at a state or county park? Usually you can rent a paddle for a few bucks and exchange it during the day for a different size. I did that years ago to decide which length was most comfortable for me.

Also I recommend looking for a slender shaft and as long and narrow a blade as you can find to fit your budget. Avoid fat rounded paddles. I also second TsunamiChuck's suggestion of the Werner Sprite. Several vendors have it for undeer $100.

Under "paddle"
Just type “paddle” into the search box for all sales.

Some paddle materials in approximate order from least to most desirable:


Nylon (aka plastic)



(with wood in there somewhere depending on its weight)

In your price range you might look for a carbon shaft + nylon blades, like an Aquabound Sting Ray. Each extra $50 you invest should bring you up into a better category. I’ve spent as little as $200 on an all-carbon paddle.

I agree adjustable length and
angle is a good idea and not necessarily expensive (not that $120 is expensive). I’ve used one of these Lavika glass paddles for a while and like it.

Paying more will get you a better paddle, but the glass/carbon shaft paddles in the ~$100 price range are significantly nicer than the ~$50, aluminium shaft paddles. The $400 paddles are lovely to hold in the store, but I’ve haven’t yet been brave enough to lay out that kind of cash. May be one day, sigh.

I just learned a ton about what I can afford, what I want in composition and what length paddle would be best for a midget like myself.

I really like the idea of the adjustable paddles because I can then test to see which feels most comfortable.

Thank you all.

That’s not to say if there are more suggestions I wouldn’t be adverse to hearing them…:slight_smile: