How to Choose a Kayak Paddle

The two most important factors are your paddle’s length and the shape and size of the blades:

Paddle Length

There are a few things to consider when deciding on your paddle’s length: your own size, the width of your kayak and the type of kayak you have.

Generally, smaller paddlers should use a shorter paddle, while larger paddlers should use a longer paddle.

Then, the wider your kayak is, the longer your paddle will need to be. Recreational kayaks—both sit-inside and sit-on-top—are the widest on the market. You can look at paddles from 230-250 cm if you have one of these.

With a sit-on-top kayak you’re also higher off the water, so keep that in mind as well.

On the other hand, touring/sea kayaks are much narrower, so a shorter paddle will work better. A 210-230 cm paddle will work nicely for you.

A telescoping ferrule system gives you the best option as it lets you shorten or lengthen your paddle up to 15 cm. That’s a great feature if you have more than one boat, an adjustable seat or you’ll be sharing your paddle with others.

(More on ferrule systems below.)

Blade Size and Shape

Long, thin blades are for casual or long-distance paddling. These are called low-angle blades. They’re great for easy days on the water and for long days on the water.

Shorter, wide blades are better for more aggressive paddling or if you’re loaded up with a lot of gear. These are called high-angle blades.

(Read this post for more on low-angle vs. high-angle paddles.)

There are a couple more things to consider, too:

Ferrule System

The ferrule system is what connects the two halves of your paddle together.

A snap-button ferrule is the most basic and most affordable. It allows you one or two feathering angles and an easy connection.

The patented Posi-Lok ferrule system we use provides infinite feathering angles and a high-quality, rust-free connection. And, again, a telescoping ferrule gives you both lots of feathering options and an adjustable length.

(What is paddle feathering? Good question! Read: Kayak Paddle Feathering: What Is It and Why does It Matter?)


Kayak paddles can range from less than $100 to more than $400. The biggest factor that determines price is its construction. Weight, performance and durability are all affected by its construction. As a rule, the more you spend, the lighter the weight and the more performance you’ll get.

We always advise that you spend as much as your budget will allow. You won’t regret it! After all, your paddle is your connection to the water.

Do you have more questions about choosing a kayak paddle? Call or email our Wisconsin-based customer service team today—we’re happy to help: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]

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