There are so many kayak paddles are available, so choosing right one for you is really important to enjoy kayaking experience. These kayak paddles come in variety of sizes, shapes and different prices.
While selecting a right kind of kayak, you must take into consideration some thing; first the type of paddling, touring or white water. Then your body strength and height; this is a really important factor as it would decide length of kayak, if your height is less than five and half feet, you should buy a paddle of length shorter than average paddle. And last thing you must consider is height and width of the kayak; if it is wide or tall than it may require longer paddle to reach water comfortable.
There are many different types of kayak paddles, this difference in their designing is based on three characteristics; length & shape of blade and shaft and material used to make paddle.
Length and shape of blade is the most important characteristic of a kayak paddles. You can get various types of blades like long, short, narrow, wide, spooned, feathered, unfeathered, symmetrical, unsymmetrical and dihedral and many more. Each shape has specific benefits and disadvantages too, like wide blade will have larger surface are which can provide more acceleration but at the same time it creates much more resistance in the water; also it takes more efforts to use large blade paddle than a smaller. If you are infrequent peddler then it is more about your endurance than speed.
Unfeathered paddles have lades parallel to one another and feathered paddles have blades placed in an specific angle to one another, with these kind of blades efficiency of strokes increases as resistance of wind decreases because of its unique design. Beginners can even have collapsible paddle which can be adjusted for feathered and unfeathered use.
Even spooned paddles are available this type of kayak paddles has curled or cupped faces which helps to increase power of stroke and dihedral type of paddle has a tapered nose in middle of face which directs water around the paddle.
Length and shape of shaft is also important factor. Shafts of most paddles are straight but bent shafts are also available such bent shaft increases comfort and provide more effective and stronger stroke.
kayak paddles can be made up of many different kind of materials like fiberglass, aluminum, plastic, graphite, carbon or traditional wood. The type of material used for paddles will determine weight, flexibility and most important its durability. Paddle made up of Kevlar or carbon are lighter than aluminum. So choose material for your paddle as per your need and budget as price will depend on material of paddles. You can even have paddles made up of combination of two materials.
One more important thing to remember about kayak paddles, you should always carry one spare paddle. You just can't do anything without paddle so on safer side buy spare two pieces of paddle with you, you can keep these on deck of your kayak.