There's no better way to spend a summer afternoon than with the sun warming your skin and a paddle in your hands. Whether you’ll be quietly enjoying the waters or finding the best fishing spot, choosing the right kayak paddle is crucial when it comes to your comfort and performance on the water. With so many options to choose from, things can get complicated. That’s why we made this handy guide to make finding the right kayak paddle easier.
When you’re shopping for a kayak paddle, there are four factors to consider:
Paddle length: The width of your kayak and your height determine the length of your paddle.
Blade design: The size and shape of your paddle’s blade influence the power and efficiency of your stroke.
Shaft design: A bent shaft or straight shaft impacts performance and comfort on the water.
Materials: Lightweight and durable materials are attractive features but add to a paddle’s price.
Whether you’re a recreational paddler or an angler, our kayak paddles are designed with your comfort in mind. At Pelican, we exclusively offer low-angle paddles. This design allows you to maintain an easy, steady pace without having to worry about your technique. Low-angle paddling also means that your hands are always at or below shoulder height which puts less strain on your shoulders. No matter how you like to enjoy your time on the water, our kayak paddles ensure your comfort from sun up to sun down.
Figuring out the right length is fairly straightforward. Two factors end up influencing the length of your kayak paddle: the width of your kayak and your height. The wider your kayak is, the longer your paddle needs to be. Similarly, a taller paddler needs a longer paddle.
[PELICAN KAYAK PADDLE SIZE CHART]
Wider blades lend themselves to quick, powerful strokes that let you accelerate quickly. In turn, narrower blades are more comfortable for occasional and long-distance paddlers. Narrow blades also help reduce fatigue through the shoulders, allowing you to cover longer distances with less effort.
Generally speaking, blade size should align with your body size: bigger person, bigger blade, smaller person, smaller blade.
Straight shaft or bent shaft? Bent shafts have several bends on either side of each hand grip area whereas straight shafts, as the name suggests, are straight. Bent shafts keep your wrists at a neutral angle to your forearms throughout the stroke, which is more comfortable and minimizes wrist discomfort and fatigue. Straight shafts don’t offer as much performance as bent shafts, but they are less expensive.
One-piece, two-piece, or four-piece? The solid design of one-piece kayak paddles makes them much more durable; however, their size can be challenging to travel with. Two or four-piece paddles are designed to break down for easier storage and transportation. Because of this, two or four-piece paddles also make a great backup kayak paddle — even the toughest paddle can break, so having a spare on deck is a smart idea.
BLADE & SHAFT MATERIALS
Polypropylene blades. A reliable and economical choice. Polypropylene blades are strong and durable. They do offer a bit of flex when moving through the water, which can affect stroke efficiency. Long-term, however, polypropylene blades are more susceptible to UV damage.
Fibreglass reinforced blades. Usually, the strength and resistance offered by a polypropylene or nylon blade are offset by their less efficient performance due to flexing. However, reinforcing these blades with fibreglass decreases the degree of flex in the blade — improving performance while not being too hard on the wallet.
Fibreglass blades. Fibreglass blades are definitely worth the additional investment if you plan to spend long hours in your kayak. These blades are more lightweight compared to polypropylene and nylon blades. The added rigidity of fibreglass blades means that each stroke takes you further. Even when compared to fibreglass reinforced blades, the improvement is noticeable with fibreglass blades.
Aluminium shafts. A more reliable and economical choice. Aluminium shafts are perfect for short or occasional trips on the water.
ALUMINIUM + shafts. When comfort and practicality are top of mind, our ALUMINIUM + shafts are the perfect choice. These shafts come with either a full shaft anti-slip coating or a comfort grip sleeve which helps protect against temperature variations you would otherwise feel without these features.
Fibreglass shafts. Well worth the additional investment if you’re planning long hours in your kayak! These paddles are more durable and much lighter than aluminium shafts.
For the everyday kayaking enthusiast, we recommend the SYMBIOSA. Carefully designed for paddlers of all skill levels, this adjustable kayak paddle offers superior quality and versatility at a great price. The low-angle design allows you to cover greater distances while reducing shoulder fatigue. Thanks to its adjustable length, this fibreglass kayak paddle is ideal for those with multiple kayaks or those who want a paddle that can accommodate all their friends and family.
Kid Kayak Paddle
We even have a kid’s kayak paddle! Perfect for young, first-time kayakers — the three-piece assembly is ideal for compact storage while kid-sized ribbed blades help maintain a good tempo on the water. It’s an excellent fit for small, eager hands and is free from heavy metals and phthalates.
For the avid fishing enthusiast, checking out one of our most popular models — the POSEIDON. It’s the perfect kayak paddle for your everyday adventures. The low-angle paddle design reduces shoulder fatigue and helps you cover greater distances with less effort. The anti-slip grip aluminium shaft and fibreglass reinforced polypropylene blades ensure better durability and performance on the water. The two-piece design makes storing and transporting your kayak paddle a breeze. Plus, it includes an integrated hook retrieval system on the blade and a measuring tape along the shaft that allows you to gauge the size of your catch in an instant.