Kayak Paddles: High-Angle vs. Low-Angle

5-minute read

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. One of the major differences is in choosing between a high-angle and a low-angle blade shape.

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

High-angle and low-angle blade shapes reflect different styles of kayaking:

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 wider and sometimes shorter than low-angle paddles. They’re designed to catch and hold the water, propelling your kayak forward faster and with more power.

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
  • Are large people who appreciate a beefy paddle
kayak bow with Aqua Bound kayak paddles; Scotland coast in background

Aqua Bound's Whiskey is our high-angle performance kayak paddle (photo courtesy of Nick Ray)

Low-Angle Kayaking

A low-angle kayak stroke is more horizontal—about a 20-30º angle. It’s for 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 and narrower and sometimes longer than high-angle blades. This allows you to pull the blades through the water easier and with less fatigue over many hours.

Low-angle blades suit kayakers who:

  • Prefer a more relaxed paddling style
  • Love to be on the water for many hours or even days at a time
  • Want paddling to be easier on their 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 as 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 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 our Posi-Lok™ ferrule system or our Versa-Lok™ ferrule system. Available in Black.
  • Manta Ray Hybrid has the same carbon shaft but with white abXII fiberglass-reinforced nylon blades. It’s also available in 2-piece or 4-piece, and with either Posi-Lok™ or Versa-Lok™ ferrule. Available in White or Sunset Red.
  • Manta Ray Fiberglass has a fiberglass shaft with our own abX fiberglass blades and a 100% fiberglass shaft. It’s available in either 2-piece or 4-piece, both with a snap-button ferrule. Available in Sunset Red or Electric Green.

kayaker with Aqua Bound Sting Ray Hybrid paddle, other kayakers in background

(photo courtesy of @blazin_paddles)

Aqua Bound’s Low-Angle Kayak Paddles

The Tango is our counterpart to the Whiskey and 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 with compression-molded fiberglass blades.

(NOTE: The color choices for the Tango and Whiskey fiberglass models are the same.)

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

Our Sting Ray series offer low-angle options for every paddler’s budget. The Sting Ray is a super all-around paddle, in fact it’s our best-selling flatware kayak paddle. Here’s a look at the different models:

  • Sting Ray Carbon is identical to the Manta Ray Carbon, except for the blade shape and size. It’s available as a 2-piece or 4-piece model, with either our Posi-Lok™ or Versa-Lok™ ferrule.
  • Sting Ray Hybrid is our most popular low-angle kayak paddle. Its blades are abXII fiberglass-reinforced nylon, available in either White or Sunset Red. Its shaft is 100% carbon, available in 2-piece or 4-piece, with either the Posi-Lok™ or Versa-Lok™ ferrule.
  • Sting Ray Fiberglass features abX fiberglass blades, in Sunset Red or Electric Green, with a fiberglass shaft. It comes in 2-piece or 4-piece with a snap-button ferrule.

Here's a video from our friends at Aquabatics Calgary that shows the differences between 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]

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