Paddles? What to use when first buying

I’m close to buying my first kayak. I have 2 choices of paddles I could use. The First is the plastic seaclude brand which is heavier. the other is the Fiberglass model. I was told the fiberglass is better for more exper. users. SHould I invest in the fiberglass model first or start with the Seaclude model? HELP!!!

My opinion
Go with the Seaclude for now. It’s relatively inexpensive and they are pretty good blades. Plus when you do upgrade at some point you’ve got a spare paddle for beating on rocks or loaning out to a buddy.

Eventually you’ll want to upgrade and using the Seaclude will allow you to refine your judgement. Do you want longer, shorter, bigger blade, etc. Easier to set a $75 paddle aside than a $175 paddle.


El Cheapo
I get beat-up everytime I say this but I use cheapos. To be exact, I use “Seasense” paddles - $19.99…I’ve put a year’s worth of use on mine with perhaps a couple hundred miles. I have no problems keeping up with anyone in regards to speed and stamina.

Unless I’m paddling across the Gulf of Mexico or in some sort of competition, I’ve never understood paying $200 for a paddle…Creative marketing can make people believe anything.

Hey Reno,…

– Last Updated: Feb-16-04 12:30 PM EST –

There are sereral ways to go about this. One is to spend a little on your first paddle, then later when you upgrade you can use it as a spare. Another thought is to spend the most you can afford on a good light weight paddle, so you might enjoy longer trips. You still have some time until the thaw, so keep looking around and talking to people, but the decision is yours.
Personally, I started out with a 33 oz paddle and wouldn't want to use anything heavier.

With my tandem…
I purchased a cheap paddle, and a middle-of-the-line paddle as my Kayak pro shop called them. I’m glad I did. Using both paddles I could really see the difference, and I can see what I now want in a paddle. Your choice in paddles will probably be influenced by your paddling style.

If you go “cheap” do you have friends that you can borrow more expensive paddles from so that you can compare? Do you have friends that have lighter, heavier, different shapes, etc.? You may end up tossing out the cheap one quickly, or you not find any fault in it.

After I purchased the cheap pro-shop version ($50), I borrowed a friends super-cheap ($20). YIKES. I am sure am glad I did not go THAT route. But in any event, I will be upgrading the cheap one that I do have to a better paddle now that I know the difference.

There are often some good deals
in the classifieds. Can you rent a paddle first? Try the length the store recommends and then try one 10 cm shorter.

More than 2 choices
there are lots of paddles out there. Lighter paddles will make your paddling more enjoyable, no matter what level you are at. More experienced paddlers tend to buy better paddles once they commit to paddle. Set a price limit and check sales, ebay, on line and local classifieds. Paddling friends may have some gear for sale/trade or even free.

If possible try before you buy
At least go to a shop and pick up the paddlesto see how they feel. Also hold the paddle near one end and shake it I’ve found some very good brands that rattle indicating a loose fit in the connection (2 piece) I’ve also found some high quality paddles that just didn’t feel right. Another plus of starting with a cheap paddle is it’s good to have for rocky creeks and landings.

Good Luck


The worst paddle
I’ve ever used was a Carlisle livery paddle(see Standard kayak paddle here:

Don’t even think about buying one of these if you want to enjoy paddling.

As for your two choices, either should work fine. As the other folks have said, try both of them on the water and see if you can feel a difference.

Thanks for the Advice
Thanks for The Advice I didn’t know I was going to get so many responces.

Get the
Get the best paddle you can afford. Your paddle is the most important item you will buy besides your kayak.

Good cheapo…
I got a good cheapo (under 100) and it was fine. I now have three better paddles… The first is the one I lend out to beginners or guests…

I guess I did the samething with boats… GH

Hard To Convince
folks relatively new to the sport, that the paddle may be as important as the boat. So most folks will get a decent boat and the cheap paddle. Eventually, they’ll spend more money upgrading. Once they move up to a really good paddle, they then can appreciate why some folks think a good paddle may be just as important as the boat. The paddle is what you move – over and over again – to move the boat… Bad paddles will tire you out quicker and may even lead to injuries.


Greenland Paddle for Newbie?
Does it make any sense for a beginner (who hasn’t yet bought a boat!) to make a Greenland-style paddle while waiting for the weather to warm up enuff to buy that kayak?

Just wondering… have heard and read that Greenland paddles are easier to learn rolling, etc.

The advantage of the GP is that you don’t have confusion over blade orientation that you might have with a feathered paddle. The bouyancy also helps. Once you get the rolling down, just about every paddle is the same 'cause is in the correct use of the hips.

GP is cheap in cost but takes time - 6-8 hours. Enjoyable if you’re into that type of thing. Torture if you’re not. :}


(who has 6 GP’s, 4 ww paddles and 3 touring paddles.)

inexpensive and not cheap
i like my daughters two piece grey owl dragonfly from CLC for about $75

I have found that a correct match between the boat and the engine(you)is important to the enjoyment of the sport. Sort of like matching a gear ratio for your car… Too big a paddle and you work to hard in an efficient boat… I have different paddles for each boat. My combinations won’t work for all engines… (except maybe my wing, but that’s another story and should not be your first paddle)

A decent mid size paddle should give you a good base line (you will aways keep it for a back up) and then beg a try on every other paddle you see… GH

yeas about 33 ounces is a fine place

– Last Updated: Feb-17-04 11:16 PM EST –

do draw the line. Occasionally I make myself paddle with my old heavy spare wooden paddle which is now way too long for me at 230 CM. I would hate to have to do that in 30 knot winds and heavy surf (the place I am most likely to need to.)

Do not paddle an Epic or any other high end paddle unless you want to buy one. They are just way too much fun, and by no means cheap.

It's like any other piece of gear. There are lots of ways to paddle and way to enjoy any individual type of paddling. After a day paddling heavy New england currents I am wasted even with the Epic. I hate to think what would happen to me if I tried that with a three pound aluminum shaft symmetrical paddle, but I would live through it.

I would think…
That the proper answer would depend partly on what you’re paddling plans are. Sea kayak or Rec? I see from your profile that you’re planning to paddle flat rivers/lakes with a group.

Craigdanomad is right. You don’t have to go broke buying a paddle just to tool around and have fun. There are several options in the $70-$80 range that, IMO, are more than sufficient for the average rec paddler.

We took the pluge and updated from our $20 paddles to the Harmony Adventure paddles. I don’t see us ever needing more for our particular wants/needs. We don’t go that far, we don’t race, and we’re all in half decent shape considering how much time we spend glued to various seats.

Jus an opinion.

Call Onno paddles and talk to the
guy. You will learn a lot and you might buy one paddle instead of the 3 or 4 most of us do.