Most people spend more time picking their kayak than picking their paddle. But your paddle is the way you move your kayak, so, you should try to buy the most expensive, lightest paddle you can afford. Lighter paddles are less fatiguing, meaning you can enjoy your time on the water longer and feel less sore at the end of the day. Also, more expensive paddles use better components. The formula that was shared with me by a paddle industry marketing manager is each ounce heavier your paddle weighs is like paddling and extra 100 pounds per hour. I would suggest a paddle no heavier than 30 or 31 ounces. You will be a happier kayaker.
Standard sized blades like the Aqua-Bound Sting Ray Hybrid is perfect for most recreational kayakers. And, at around 30-ounces is very light, high quality and surprisingly only costs $149. The standard sized blade is for a low-angle stroke with the paddle relatively horizontal while paddling. Oversized blades, like the 31 ounce Aqua-Bound Manta Ray Hybrid is also a high-quality, reasonably priced at $149 and is perfect for those sit-on-top fishing kayaks that need a little more horsepower. Oversized blades have a bigger bite, more control and high angle paddling where the shaft is more vertical during your stroke.
Picking a paddle is also dependent on your height and the width of your kayak. For example, if you are 5’7” tall and your kayak is 24” to 28” wide, then a paddle 230 cm would be best. You can find sizing charts on most paddle company websites, like Aqua-Bound/Bending Branches, a Wisconsin company. Generally, most touring kayaks are narrower and require a shorter paddle, with recreational and fishing kayaks wider, requiring longer paddles.
If you have any questions about selecting the right paddle, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be happy to assist. Also, check out one of the area outfitters who have knowledgeable staff who should be able to help.