When choosing a kayak paddle, there are three main things you’ll be looking at: it’s length, what it’s made of, and any extra features it has.

Let’s take a look at each one of these…

kayak paddles 101


Paddle length

The paddle length you choose will depend on both the type of kayak you’ll be paddling and your height.

Recreational and sit-on-top kayaks are built for stability, so they’re wider. You’ll need a longer paddle to be able to reach the water comfortably and easily. 230-250cm will be a good range.

Touring and sea kayaks are built for speed, so they’re narrower. You’ll want a shorter paddle since you won’t have to reach as far to the water. 210-230cm will work great for this.

If you’re taller, you’ll want a longer paddle. If you’re shorter, you’ll want a shorter paddle. It's ideal to find the paddle that will fit you, personally, best.

kayak paddle length chart

(Check out this article for more details on paddle length.)

Paddle Materials

Kayak paddles are made from a variety of materials. As you might guess, the lighter and stronger the materials used, the more expensive the paddle.

If you’re just starting out or have a limited budget, an aluminum shaft and polypropylene blade will work great. If kayaking becomes a life sport for you, you can always upgrade down the road.

Paddle Features

All kayak paddles have a ferrule system where the two ends of the paddle connect in the center. Aqua-Bound paddles have three different types of ferrule systems.

The snap-button ferrule has a 3-hole snap system similar to most standard paddles. There are a couple feathering angles available—turning each blade to allow for ease of use.

Our patented Posi-Lok™ ferrule system is easy to use, strong and metal-free. With this, there are unlimited feathering angles available. Check out all its benefits here.

The telescoping ferrule allows you to change the length of your paddle. That way your whole family can use it, or you can use your paddle with various types of kayaks and waters.

One other thing to look at— paddles can either be broken down into two pieces or four pieces. If you’ll be doing a lot of traveling and need to pack down into tight spaces, you’ll want a 4-piece. Otherwise a 2-piece will be fine.

Are you ready to look at specific paddles and prices? Click here.

You may find this video helpful, too.