Kayak Paddles 101

Kayak Paddles 101

Shafts and Blades

The shaft and blades on a paddle are frequently made of two different materials. Shafts can be made from:

  • aluminum,
  • fiberglass,
  • or carbon fiber.

Meanwhile, blades are usually:

  • plastic,
  • plastic blended with fiberglass,
  • plastic reinforced with carbon fibers,
  • or fully fiberglass.

Each material offers different benefits, which we’ll outline below.

First, decide how much you want to spend on a paddle. Quality paddles can cost several hundred dollars or more. If you are on a tight budget, chances are you will want to get an aluminum shaft paddle with plastic blades since they are the most affordable. But this affordability comes with a drawback — aluminum paddles with plastic blades are also the heaviest. Kayak owners that want a paddle that is lighter than aluminum but don’t want to break the bank should consider a fiberglass shaft paddle. These paddles are lighter and more durable than an aluminum paddle. Those who want a light and easy to handle paddle should consider a carbon fiber paddle. These paddles have a carbon fiber shaft and either plastic or carbon reinforced plastic blades. This type of paddle is extremely popular because it is lightweight but it does cost more.

For kayakers looking for the ultimate paddle, a carbon fiber paddle with a fully fiberglass blade is a cut above the rest. Without any plastic in the paddle, these premier paddles are the lightest and of the highest quality, but carry a price tag to match.

Another consideration when purchasing your next kayak paddle is the paddle’s blade size. Smaller blades cut through the water easier than paddles with large blades for less muscle fatigue. Larger blades are useful while paddling in faster moving water to help maneuver the kayak more quickly.

We also carry paddles designed especially for anglers. Our fishing paddles come with a couple features specific to fishermen:

  • A ruler built into the shaft of the paddle so you can measure the length of the fish you catch.
  • A unique J-hook built into the blade that allows you to get fishing line or lures un-snagged.


When purchasing a paddle, we recommend stopping in to the store so that you can try out several paddles. Our knowledgeable staff would be happy to show you the benefits of each type of paddle and help you to choose the best paddle for your kayaking style.

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