Kayak Paddles: High-Angle vs. Low-Angle

packrafter with high-angle kayak paddle

If you didn’t know better, you might think “a kayak paddle is a kayak paddle”…

But before long, you’d learn there’s a big difference in the type of paddles available. That difference has to do with the kind of kayaking you want to do.

Let’s look at the difference between the two types of kayak paddles—high-angle and low-angle. We’ll see how they’re different and what type of paddling each one is designed for.

To start with, take a look at this short video from our friends at Aquabatics Calgary:


Why the Angle Matters

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

In high-angle paddling, the paddle is pulled through the water more vertically. Speed, power and maneuverability are important. Whitewater kayakers and aggressive, fast kayakers use high-angle strokes much of the time.

In low-angle paddling, on the other hand, the paddle is pulled through the water more horizontally. Efficiency is more important than speed. Folks who are after a more relaxed time on the way, or will paddle for hours at a time will use low-angle strokes because it’s less tiring.

high-angle vs low-angle kayak paddling

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.

Aqua-Bound’s Whiskey and Manta Ray kayak paddle lines are high-angle paddles. Priced from $99.95 for the Manta Ray Aluminum up to our premier high-angle paddle, the Whiskey Carbon Bent Shaft at $474.95 —we have a high-angle paddle for every kayaker.

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

Low-Angle Kayak Paddles

The blades of low-angle kayak paddles are more long and narrow. You can pull the blades through the water easier, which means less fatigue over time. If you prefer a more relaxed paddle experience or will be on the water for several hours or days, a low-angle paddle is for you.

Aqua-Bound’s Tango, Eagle Ray and Sting Ray kayak paddle lines are all low-angle paddles. Prices start at $99.95 for the Sting Ray Aluminum and go up to $474.95 for the Tango Carbon Bent Shaft , our “Best in Show” of low-angle paddles.

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

low-angle vs high-angle kayak paddle

Why the Difference in Price Points?

The price difference in kayak paddles is largely the materials they’re made of. Generally, the lighter the paddle, the better the materials used, the more expensive.

Full carbon paddles are the lightest paddles on the market, and come with the highest price point. A fiberglass/carbon combo is next in line, then full fiberglass, then fiberglass/aluminum.

You don’t want to skimp on your paddle, as it’s essentially the motor for your kayak.

Our rule of thumb is: Buy the lightest paddle you can afford. You won’t regret it!

Get our free guide: “10 Tops Health Benefits of Paddling”

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