Kayak Paddles: High-Angle vs. Low-Angle

If you’re 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.

high-angle vs low-angle kayak paddle blades

There’s a big difference between low-angle (on the left) and high-angle (on the right) kayak paddle blades

In order to be able to choose the best paddle for you, you need to understand the two main styles of kayaking: high-angle and low-angle, or the angle at which your paddle enters the water.

High-Angle Kayaking

A high-angle kayak stroke is quite vertical. It’s for speed and power. Whitewater kayakers and aggressive, fast kayakers use high-angle strokes much of the time.

High-angle kayak blades are designed to move a lot of water with each stroke. The blades are shorter and wider than low-angle paddles. They’re designed to catch and hold the water, propelling your kayak forward faster.

High-angle blades suit kayakers who:

  • Haul a lot of gear regularly, particularly anglers
  • Love whitewater kayaking or packrafting
  • Love to kayak surf and other types of aggressive paddling

kayak surfing with a high-angle paddle

High-angle kayak blades suit kayak surfers and other aggressive paddlers (photo courtesy of @jallestjernberg)

Low-Angle Kayaking

A low-angle kayak stroke is more horizontal—about a 20-30º angle. It’s for more relaxed paddling and for long days on the water. It’s less tiring than the high-angle style, and since the kayak is moving slower, paddling technique isn’t quite as important.

Low-angle kayak blades are designed for efficiency and ease with each stroke. The blades of low-angle paddles are more long and narrow than high-angle blades. This allows you to pull the blades through the water easier and with less fatigue over time.

Low-angle blades suit kayakers who:

  • Prefer more relaxed paddling
  • Love to be on the water for many hours or even days at a time
  • Want paddling to be easier on body

sea kayaking with a low-angle paddle

Low-angle kayak paddle blades suit sea kayakers who love long days on the water

Aqua Bound’s High-Angle Kayak Paddles

We have a high-angle kayak paddle for every budget:

The Whiskey is our premier high-angle paddle, designed for elite kayakers and packrafters, and for those who love its eye-popping blade design options. It’s available with a 2-piece straight shaft, a 4-piece straight shaft or a 2-piece bent shaft.

The Whiskey comes with either a black carbon blade or a compression-molded fiberglass blade in three color options. Every Whiskey model features our patented Posi-Lok ferrule system. It’s our lightest high-angle kayak paddle.

The Manta Ray series offers high-angle options for a wide range of paddlers and their budgets:

  • Manta Ray Carbon has a carbon shaft with carbon-reinforced nylon blades. It’s available in both 2-piece and 4-piece models, and with either a snap-button ferrule or our Posi-Lok ferrule system.
  • Manta Ray Hybrid has the same carbon shaft but with white abXII fiberglass-reinforced blades. It’s also available in 2-piece or 4-piece, and with either a snap-button or Posi-Lok ferrule.
  • Manta Ray Fiberglass has a fiberglass shaft with our own abXII fiberglass-reinforced resin blades in bright yellow. It’s available in either 2-piece or 4-piece, both with the snap-button ferrule.
  • Manta Ray Aluminum is available is either 2-piece or 4 piece, both with a snap-button ferrule. It features a corrosion-resistant aluminum shaft and abXII fiberglass-reinforced nylon blades.

kayaker with a Ray series paddle

Our Ray series offers both high and low angle kayak paddles for every budget

Aqua Bound’s Low-Angle Kayak Paddles

Our low-angle counterpart to the Whiskey is our Tango, our premier low-angle kayak paddle. Tango is for elite kayakers who love long distances and gorgeous paddle blade designs. It’s available in both 100% carbon from tip-to-tip or with a carbon shaft and compression-molded fiberglass blades.

Both Tango models come in a 2-piece and 4-piece straight shaft or 2-piece bent shaft. They all feature our patented Posi-LokTM ferrule system. Tango is our lightest low-angle paddle.

Our Eagle Ray and Sting Ray series offer low-angle options for every paddler’s budget. The Sting Ray is a super all-around paddle. The Eagle Ray’s blades are a couple inches longer, which adds some extra oomph for multi-day kayak trips when you’re loaded down with gear. Here’s a look at the different models:

  • Eagle Ray Carbon has a carbon shaft and carbon-reinforced nylon blades. This all-black paddle is available in either 2-piece or 4-piece, and with either the snap-button or Posi-LokTM ferrule system.
  • Eagle Ray Hybrid has the same ferrule and 2-piece/4-piece options and the same 100% carbon shaft. Its white blades are abXII fiberglass-reinforced nylon.
  • Sting Ray Carbon is identical to the Eagle Ray Carbon, except its blades are each 2 inches shorter. It’s available in the same model options: 2-piece or 4-piece, snap-button or Posi-LokTM ferrule.
  • Sting Ray Hybrid is our most popular low-angle kayak paddle. It’s white blades are abXII fiberglass-reinforced nylon. Its shaft is 100% carbon, available in either 2-piece or 4-piece and with either the snap-button or Posi-LokTM ferrule.
  • Sting Ray Fiberglass features yellow abXII fiberglass-reinforced resin blades with a fiberglass shaft. It comes in either 2-piece or 4-piece with a snap-button ferrule.
  • Sting Ray Aluminum is available in 2-piece or 4-piece, each with the snap-button ferrule. The shaft is corrosion-resistant anodized aluminum and the yellow blades are abXII fiberglass-reinforced nylon.

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



Do you have paddle questions our friendly Customer Service Team can help you with today? Content them: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]

More for you...