Kayak Paddles: High-Angle vs. Low-Angle

When you’re brand-new to kayaking you might think: A paddle is a paddle. But before long you’ll learn there’s a big difference in the types of paddles available. Some of that difference has to do with the kind of kayaking you want to do.

In this post we’ll explore high-angle versus low-angle kayaking, and how paddles are designed for each.

Why the Angle Matters

As you might guess, the high and low angles have to do with the angle your paddle enters the water.

High-angle paddling is more vertical. It’s easier with narrower kayaks, and is used for speed. Whitewater kayakers and aggressive, fast kayakers use the high-angle strokes much of the time.

high angle kayak stroke

Low-angle paddling is more horizontal—about a 20-30º angle. It’s used for wider, recreational kayaks, and is great for more relaxed paddling. It’s less tiring than high angle. And since the kayak is moving slower, paddling technique isn’t quite as important.

High-Angle Kayak Paddles

The blades of high-angle kayak paddles are shorter and wider than low-angle paddles. They’re designed to catch and hold the water for aggressive strokes, propelling your kayak forward faster.

Here's a full listing of Aqua-Bound’s high-angle kayak paddles. Filter the list by checking “High-Angle.”

You’ll find paddles from the very affordable Manta Ray Aluminum (MSRP $89.95) to the medium-range Manta Ray Carbon (MSRP $189.95), up to the high-end Surge Carbon (MSRP $374.95).

Low-Angle Kayak Paddles

The blades of low-angle kayak paddles are more long and narrow. This allows you to pull the blades through the water easier, meaning less fatigue. If you prefer a more relaxed paddle or will be on the water for several hours, low-angle kayaking is a great choice.

low angle kayak paddle

Aqua-Bound has a full range of low-angle paddles. Filter the list by checking “Low-Angle.”

From the entry-level Sting Ray Aluminum (MSRP $89.95), to the Eagle Ray Carbon and Sting Ray Carbon models (MSRP $189.95 each), to the top-of-the-line Spindrift Carbon (MSRP $374.95), Aqua-Bound has a low-angle paddle for you.

In Summary

As you can see, the type of paddle you buy should be influenced by the type of kayaking you plan to do. Whichever you choose, Aqua-Bound has you covered.

Here's a video from our friends at Aquabatics that demonstrates high and low-angle paddling: