Best Kayak Paddle: Supercharge Your Kayaking Experience – Top 6 Kayak Paddles Reviewed

So, you have brought a kick-ass Kayak but what about the Paddle?

After buying your Kayak, your choice of Paddle is the most important decision you need to make. Having the right kayak paddle can make the world of difference to your experience out on the water. It is the distinction between being a hero or a zero!

But with so many different kayak paddles on the markets, it can be hard to know what’s the best kayak paddle?

Truth be known, the better question would be; What’s the right kayak paddle for me? 

But fear not my Kayaking friends. We have 5 key points to help you on the road to paddle enlightenment and rounded up the best kayak paddles on the market today.

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In a hurry?  And, the Winner is!..

Don’t have time to stick around to read this amazing article?  Want to know what the winner of the best kayak paddle is now?  Ok, I will tell you on the condition that you come back and read the full round up later? Deal? Ok then.

AQUA BOUND - Manta Ray Carbon 2-Piece Kayak Paddle

AQUA BOUND - Manta Ray Carbon 2-Piece Kayak Paddle

Our Rating: ★★★★★

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Why is it better?

  • Excellent mix of materials to maximise performance
  • Super durable whilst remain light
  • Great performance out on the water, a real joy to use  
  • Available in a number of length options – suitable for all sized paddlers
  • An adjustable feather angle – that perfect stroke can be quickly dialed in.
  • Reasonably priced considering being carbon fiber

How to Select a Kayak Paddle – The 5 Paddle Selection Mantras

Carbon Kayak Paddle being drawn through the water

Ok, let’s get one thing straight before we start – it’s a paddle not an oar. Many novice kayakers seem to not understand the difference between a paddle and oar and use the terms interchangeably.

An oar is used for rowing, is attached to the craft via a mount and pushes the water. A paddle is used for paddling, is single or double ended and is used to pull the water.

Got it?! Good, let’s move on.

In the end, the final selection of a kayak paddle will come down to the buyer’s personal preference. That does not mean you should run out and buy the shiny black one that goes great with the colour of your kayak.

It’s an important decision and should be treated with the respect and reverence it deserves! If you buy sensibly, a good kayak paddle will long outlive the life of your Kayak. And remember that even a short trip out on the water will see the average Kayaker perform 1000s of strokes. So, make each stroke count and buy wisely.

When it comes to how to choose the best kayak paddle, if you want to make an informed buying decision, then take note of these 5 paddle buying mantras.

Follow them and soon you will be on the road to Kayak Paddling bliss. Namaste! ·

  • Take a Lesson – A great kayak paddle can’t make up for poor stroke technique
  • Select the Correct Paddle Length – Your height and width of Kayak govern paddle length.
  • Buy the Best Material You Can Afford – The material a paddle is made from affects the paddle weight. Weight directly affects paddle efficiency and performance. ·
  • Pick the Right Blade Shape – The shape of the blade will affect how the paddle displaces water. Shape selection is dependent on stroke style, physical ability, and type of Kayaking. ·
  • Choose the Appropriate Shaft Shape – The shape of the shaft will affect comfort. Especially on longer journeys.

Take a lesson

Kayak school on the beach

Even if you have been Kayaking for a while, we all could benefit from some stroke scrutiny and education. You may have the best Paddle in the world but if your stroke is garbage then you will be going nowhere fast – literally! Wasting not only your money but an opportunity to be better at your sport – so, learn how to paddle a kayak property.

Even if your stroke is perfect, understanding your striking style will help you buy a paddle that unlocks your full potential. So, get yourself down to your local Kayak club or speak to someone at your local retail store – you never know you might be able to trail that kayak paddle you had hoped to buy.

Selecting the Right Paddle length

Yellow bladed Kayak paddle

It’s true the size and length can affect your enjoyment.

To answer the question, “What is the right paddle length?” you have to consider some factors. If the paddle is too short then you’ll constantly hit your hand on the kayak. . If your kayak paddle is way too long, not only will you be inefficient while paddling but you will struggle to keep the kayak straight – due to oversteer.

What size kayak paddle do I need?

Kayak paddle length is determined by two factors; paddlers height and  Kayak width

The taller you are and wider the Kayak, the longer the Paddle. Simple, right!?

Kayak paddles come in lengths ranging from 210cm to 260cm. Typically increasing in size in 10cm increments. Most of the major brands will offer 10cm increments. Although, the budget brands or models might be a little more restrictive – typically only stocking the most commonly purchased sizes of 220cm to 240cm.

The kayak paddle size guide below gives an example of suggested paddle length, based on Kayak width and Paddler height.

  Kayak Width
Paddler Height < 23 “ 24” to 28” 29”- 33” 34”
Under 5ft5” 210 cm 220 cm 230 cm 240 cm
5ft5” – 5ft11” 220 cm 230 cm 240 cm 250 cm
Over 6ft 220 cm 230 cm 250 cm 260 cm
  Recommended Paddle Length

Information taken from https://aquabound.com/kayak-paddle-sizing-guide

I have more than one Kayak, does that mean I need a paddle for each?

Not necessarily!  Several of the major manufacturers offer telescopic paddles  within their premium products. These items have an in-built telescopic feature that allows the paddle to be extended. Typically by 15cm, in 2.5cm increments.

But what if I can’t afford a premium paddle? Or, I want a greater level of expansion?

It’s possible to buy shaft extenders that increase the paddle length from as little as 10cm right up to 40cm. This is a cheaper and more flexible solution than a telescopic shaft – and a whole lot cheaper than buying a whole new kayak paddle. 

Buy the Best Material You Can Afford – Buy Cheap, Buy Twice

Man with a paddle for a sports boat kayak in a store

The material that the paddle is made from significantly affects its rigidity and weight. As a general rule of thumb; the lighter and more rigidity, the better the paddle. The difference in weight of a budget kayak paddle to a premium kayak paddle can be just 10-15oz. But this can make all the difference to your paddling ability and experience

Don’t believe me? Hold onto two 19.2oz cans of beer in each hand and make a paddling motion for a few minutes, then repeat this with 12oz cans.

Although this is a crude test, I hope it conveys my point. Even the smallest difference in weight changes the swing weight and feel.

What are Kayak Paddles made of?

Kayak Paddles have two major components: the paddle shaft and the paddle blade. Both can be made of different materials, so it’s possible to mix-and-match according to your budget.

Paddle Shaft Material

Shafts are normally made of one of three materials, each with their own strengths and weaknesses;

  • Aluminum Shafts – A great paddle material for the budget-conscious consumer, although aluminum is heavier both than fiberglass and carbon fiber. Another downside to aluminum is that it conducts heat well – the shaft has a habit of running hot in the summer sun and ice-cold during the winter.
  • Fiberglass Shaft – Most commonly found on mid-point kayak paddles because they offer a great balance between cost and performance.  Fiberglass is lighter, more rigid, and as raw material, about the same price as Aluminum. The downside to fiberglass? It takes more time and effort for workmanship to shape this material into a shaft, as a result the paddles are more expensive. And, it can develop fine feather cracks in hot weather or if left in direct sunlight.
  • Carbon Fiber Shaft – The king of shaft materials. Lighter, stronger, more rigid and durable than its paddle material counterparts. There is very little to not like about a Carbon fiber shaft, except the high price.

Paddle Blade Materials – What are the Best Kayak Paddle Blades Made From?

Kayak Paddle blades are made of one of the three following materials, each with different properties; ·

  • Plastic blades – Are cheap and easy to mass-produce using injection molding techniques. Unfortunately, as material it’s heavy, making the paddle heavier by extension. Plastic paddles tend to bend and flex under load, preventing them from effectively propelling a boat through water.
  • Fiberglass Blades – These blades are both affordable and provide great performance. They weigh less and are more rigid than plastic blades, which improves their stroke efficiency and overall comfort for the paddler. However, unlike plastic, they can easily be damaged if you happen to hit a rock or river bed.
  • Carbon fiber blades –   A popular choice among pro paddlers because they are light, strong, and stiffer than all other materials. The downside is that they’re not cheap.

All of the above materials can be further enhanced with a foam core. A foam core increases blade buoyancy, which causes it to rise through the water quicker and easier on the return stroke.

Paddle Blade Design

Kayak Paddles 101 - Part 2: Blade Shapes

Manufacturers often claim that their blades are better than anyone else’s, promising they will propel you through the water like a jet ski. However, these features are just minor differences in two model types of blade shapes

Without boring you all with the details of fluid dynamics and drag physics, this article will focus on two common paddling techniques. High angle paddling and Low angle padding, as these paddle styles mimic the difference between a narrow blade shape versus a wide blade shape. 

What is a High Angle or Low Angle paddle?

  • High angle blade – This type of paddler strikes the water closer to the kayak. A narrow, near-vertical, and downward motion. The full tip of their blade enters the water first. The most appropriate blade for this technique is shorter and wider so that they can grab a large volume of water; propelling it forward with force.
  • Low angle blade – This type of Paddler strikes the water wider to the kayak. A broader, sweeping and shallower motion. The tip and blade edge enter the water together, a moment similar to running a knife across a tub of butter. To support this technique the paddle blade is longer and narrower. This provides less resistance and a larger surface area. It’s a more efficient and less physically demanding technique- better suited to those who plan to spend extended periods out on the water, such as touring.

Paddle Shaft Type

Kayak paddle and shaft

There are two options when it comes to the shape of a kayak paddle shaft. Selecting a “straight” or “bent” can make your paddle experience better.

For most people, the choice of a straight shaft kayak paddle should work just fine. But for those who have a powerful stroke or are consistently out on the water for long periods, consider using one with a bent shape.

Bent shaft paddles are designed to improve your wrist position when paddling, and as a result, reduce the pressure and strain placed on your wrist. Unfortunately, bent shafts are not for everyone – the best thing to do is try one out before buying it.

Best Kayak Paddles – Top 6 Kayak Paddles for Every Budget

1. WERNER – Kalliste Kayak Paddle

WERNER - Kalliste Kayak Paddle
  • Best Carbon Fiber Kayak Paddle
  • Rating: ★★★★
  • Price: ★★★☆☆
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How do you review a paddle named ‘The best’? According to Wernner, Kalliste means ‘The best’ in Ancient Greek. Unfortunately, this isn’t what my Greek friends tell me, it means ‘Most beautify ‘, someone might need to tell Werner. Awkward!

Werner Paddles Kalliste Touring Paddle

When you first learned the meaning of the name, where you left thinking, wow that’s a bold statement? Well, it is! And, you are not alone as this was my initial reaction. But I guess these are the kind of statements you need to make to stand out in the premium paddle market.

The Kalliste is without question a Premium paddle. And, we all know that means it comes with a premium price tag. In fact, they charge extra for the tag…ok, that was a joke, I hope? But what does digging that little bit deeper into your pockets buy you?

Well, it buys you a performance paddle that weighs around the same as a pair of men’s jeans, I am not even kidding. This feather-light paddle is a mere 23oz. That’s 40% lighter than our ‘budget buy’ recommendation, the Bending Branches Whisper 2. Simply wow! But before you all reach for your credit cards, depending on the retailer, it’s also 3 times more expensive.

But 23oz that’s too light, right? You would lose precision and power in the stroke? Wrong!

I borrowed a buddy’s Kalliste for a 3-hour river trip. I can tell you, this is one of, if not, the best handling kayak paddles I’ve had the pleasure to try. My stroke is already powerful but the Kalliste turned the volume up well beyond 10. That day, I motorboated up and down the river. Best still, I felt I could have turned back around and done it again.

This isn’t just a super light paddle, it is a well designed and constructed paddle. Everything about this paddle has been carefully researched and crafted. The midsized blade provides the perfect compromise between raw power and fatigue beating sleekness. The blade shape and construction displaces water effectively. This reduces drag on the return stroke. It’s a pleasure to be out on the water with.

The shaft comes with many options to suit most paddling styles or paddler preference. Straight or neutral bent? Standard or wide diameter? A posi lok ferrule system in which the feathering angles can be changed from 0c° – 60°, in 15° increments, which helps reduce wind resistance and dial if you prefer paddling style.  The Kalliste is available in sizes from 220cm to 240cm.

Technical Summary

  • Blade Material; Carbon Fiber with a foam core
  • Shaft Material; 100% Carbon Fiber
  • Lengths; 210cm – 250 cm
  • Weight; 23oz (652g)
  • Blade style; Mid/Low Angle Paddling(20.5” x 6.3”)

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Excellent power delivery
  • Adjustable feathering angles
  • Well balanced

Cons

  • On the expensive side
  • Limited range of paddle lengths
  • No telescopic feature

So, do I like this paddle? Yeah, just a bit…ok, I like it a lot! My only real complaint, other than the price, is the restrictive sizing and the lack of a telescopic feature. If the Kalliste had these features then it would need to be rebranded as the ‘Zeus’….I can feel a new line in the making. 

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2. AQUA BOUND – Manta Ray Carbon 2-Piece Kayak Paddle

[aAQUA BOUND - Manta Ray Carbon 2-Piece Kayak Paddle
  • Best Kayak Paddle
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★★
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Looking for a lightweight paddle that doesn’t mean re-mortgaging the house? Or, selling a kidney? Well, the Aqua-Bound Manta Ray Carbon may be it.

Positioned in the middle of the Paddle price range. A mixed-material paddle that offers an impressive balance between price and weight. Weighing 29.5oz/836g, there is no argument that it’s light.

Manta Ray Series from Aqua-Bound

But, let us address the elephant in the room! This is not a pure Carbon Fiber paddle, nor do Aqua-Bound claim it to be. But there appears to be some confusion online due to the name.

So, let’s clear things up. The shaft is 100% carbon, oval in shape which helps reduce the possibility of joint strain. I prefer an oval shaft over a round or bent one. But oval might not be everyone’s cup of tea – so please go and hold one first.

The blade, 18” x 7.25”, is made out of injected model Nylon with a veneer of Carbon Fiber. Why? Nylon is a little too flexible. The Carbon Fiber top layer increases the rigidity. Which brings about a noticeable rise in power over a Nylon only blade. And this big bladed beauty does shift some water.

The shaft top layer is Carbon Fiber wrap, rather than webbed. This gives the shaft a texture like a sports racket or bicycle handlebars. For some, this might be a point of endless irritation and loathing. For others, it might provide the extra grip that they have always desired.

Coming in sizes from 210cm – 250cm, in 10cm increments, there is a length to suit most heights and width of Kayak. The 2-piece construction allows the blade face to be adjusted from 0° to 60° offset, helping reduce the wind drag on the non-leading blade. Blade shape is focused on high angle paddling, so is better suited for the power focused paddler. Or, those who kayak on fast moving water or have bigger kayaks

Technical Summary

  • Blade Material; Carbon reinforced nylon blades
  • Shaft Material; 100% Carbon Fiber
  • Lengths; 210cm – 250 cm
  • Weight; 29.5oz (836g)
  • Blade style; High Angled (18” x 7.25”)

Pros

  • Multi-chined hull improves stability 
  • Cockpit-operated skeg 
  • Tracks well without compromising Lightweight
  • Oval Shaft to help reduce wrist strain
  • 60° adjustable shaft offset
  • Durable materials and construction

Cons

  • Fiber wrapped not webbed – no easy on wet hands
  • An oval shaft isn’t for everyone

Safe, stable, versatile, and predictable – in a good way – Baffin P3 is an excellent choice for tall Overall, if you are looking for that carbon lifestyle but on a lemonade budget then Aqua Bound – Manta Ray Carbon is an excellent choice.   It has all the key benefits of carbon at a fraction of the costs.  What I love most about the Manta Ray product range is that it comes in a range of materials to suit everyone’s budget. If you cannot afford the Carbon, well the hybrid fiberglass is a cheaper alternative, which is also a great paddle with its fiberglass reinforced nylon blades.

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3. AQUA BOUND – Eagle Ray Carbon 2-Piece Kayak Paddle

AQUA BOUND - Eagle Ray Carbon 2-Piece Kayak Paddle
  • Best Lightweight Kayak Paddle
  • Rating: ★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★
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I wouldn’t typically include a paddle within the same product family. Or, a paddle with such similar features, but I couldn’t leave the low angle paddlers out of the action. However, the range offers such a great bang for the buck, it would be foolish to not include the low angel variant. So, meet the Aqua-Bound Eagle Ray Carbon. 

The Eagle Ray, like its Manta Ray cousin, is a two-piece paddle. It comes with a 100% shaft and injected model Nylon blade with a carbon top layer. This marrying of materials provides extra strength and stiffness to the blade head.

Choosing Your 'Ray Series' Kayak Paddle from Aqua-Bound

Does it offer the same stiffness at the Manta Ray? I would say yes, well nearly!

Is it better than a pure nylon blade? Yes, without question.

It has all the benefits of its cousin, along with the possible dis-benefits. Such as the taped styled carbon shaft. It will bother some people; others will love it. My advice, once again, is go and hold any paddle that you plan to buy. The Eagle Ray is heavier than the Manta Ray, weighing in at 30.3oz (858g). This could be due to the increased blade size of 20” x 6.25”. But what’s less than an ounce between friends? At this price point, nothing!

It comes in sizes from 210 – 250 cm, in 10cm increments, there a length to suit more heights and width of Kayak. I would have liked to have seen 260cm. Especially for a paddle aimed more at low angle paddling, touring Kayak market. But this isn’t a deal-breaker. 

Technical Summary

  • Paddle Material; Nylon core with a Carbon Fiber top layer
  • Shaft Material; 100% Carbon Fiber
  • Lengths; 210cm – 250 cm
  • Weight; 30.3oz (855g)
  • Blade style; Low Angle Paddling (20” x 6.5”)

Pros

  • Lightweight Carbon Fiber shaft
  • Blade design better suited for low angle paddle paddling
  • Durable construction

Cons

  • Limited range of paddle lengths
  • Fiber wrapped not webbed – no easy on wet hands
  • An oval shaft isn’t for everyone

Overall, if you are budget conscious, low angelled, paddler then this is an excellent choice. The Aqua Bound – Eagle Ray Carbon is a decent paddle that is competitively priced, with respectable features and performance.

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4. BENDING BRANCHES – Whisper 2-Piece Snap-Button Recreational Kayak Paddle

BENDING BRANCHES - Whisper 2-Piece Snap-Button Recreational Kayak Paddle
  • Best Budget Kayak Paddle
  • Rating: ★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★★
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On a tight budget and need an inexpensive kayak paddle? Then Bending Branches’ Whisper is your go-to Paddle.

Renowned for being one of the bestselling Kayak paddles in the world. This USA made paddle is doing something right to keep the orders coming year on year.

Sometimes I struggle to break free from the mindset that budget means bad. Or, that budget means poor design and manufacturing.

Is the Whisper made out of inexpensive materials? Yes! Does that make it a poor paddle? No! Is it well designed and excellently manufactured? Yes!

I remember my grandfather saying; a poorly fitting expensive suit looks cheap. A well-fitting cheaper suit looks expensive. This is the best way I can describe the Whisper.

ACK Product Focus: Bending Branches Whisper Dream Paddle

The Whisper executes ‘budget’ with precision. Weighing in at 37oz it’s only 7oz heavier than some of the more expensive carbon hybrid kayak paddles. And, all for a third of the cost. The ferrule is adjustable for feathering of 0° and 60° – making it suitable for both left and right-handed paddlers. 

The aluminum shaft is ovalized for comfort. It comes with two rubber grips which should keep the heat conductivity issues at bay. Although, I would still buy a set of gloves.

The 18” x 6.75” size blades are neither unadulterated high or low angle. The midsize proportions deliver a well-mannered ratio between power and ease of paddle stroke. But if pushed for an answer, I would say it’s better suited to a high angle paddler.

To keep costs low, the Whisper is only available in the most popular lengths, 210cm, 220cm, 230cm and 240cm. Sadly, if you’re super tall and have a mega-wide kayak then you might need to look elsewhere for a budget paddle – sorry!

Technical Summary
  • Blade Material; Polypropylene
  • Shaft Material; Aluminium
  • Lengths; 210cm – 240 cm
  • Weight; 37oz (1049g)
  • Blade style; High Angled (18” x 7.25”)

Pros

  • Super budget friendly
  • Oval Shaft to help reduce wrist strain
  • Mixed paddle blade profile.  Although more suitable high than low angle paddling
  • Adjustable ferrule
  • Best selling paddle in the USA

Cons

  • Super budget friendly
  • Oval Shaft to help reduce wrist strain
  • Mixed paddle blade profile.  Although more suitable high than low angle paddling
  • Adjustable ferrule
  • Best selling paddle in the USA

Overall, there is a very good reason why the Bending Branches Whisper is the best selling paddle in the USA. It’s a great entry level paddle that offers premium features on a shoestring budget.  After all, not everyone needs a super light carbon paddle. I personally own a Whisper, I use it as my backup/buddy boat paddle.  Not had a complaint so far.  

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5. BENDING BRANCHES Angler Ace Kayak Paddle

BENDING BRANCHES Angler Ace Kayak Paddle
  • Best Kayak Ever
  • Rating: ★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★
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From the makers of the bestselling paddle in the world, the re-designed Bending Branches Angler Ace is a hidden gem of a paddle. It could happily be the best paddle in many classes. Its primary intention is to meet the needs of the angler, equipped with a built-in hook retrieval system on the blade edge and tape measure on the shaft.

There will be no more excuses for the one that got away or long stories of fish being ‘this big’. Nice try Buster!

Angler Ace from Bending Branches (Official Product Video)

Its Carbon Fiber shaft and Carbon Fiber reinforced Nylon blade mean this paddle is a mere 30oz (850g). The Ferrule extends by 15cm, in 2.5cm increments, permitting the angler to adjust the paddle length to suit their seat height. 

As fishing kayak paddles go it’s hard to find much wrong with this excellent paddle. If I was being super picky, I would say the number of branded stickers makes the paddle look busy and garish. But I am informed that this is the ‘in’ thing. Who am I to argue with the cool kids?!

Is there a better fishing kayak paddle, yes maybe. Which one? – the Bending Branches Angler Pro Carbon. But I don’t think most people would be willing to pay double the price for 4oz less in weight – I know I wouldn’t be.

Technical Summary
  • Blade Material; Nylon core with a Carbon Fiber outer layer
  • Shaft Material; 100% Carbon Fiber
  • Lengths; Telescopic 230-245cm and 240 -255
  • Weight; 30oz (850g)
  • Blade style; High Angled (18” x 7.25”)

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Budget friendly Carbon Fiber shaft
  • High angled blade
  • Adjustable ferrule
  • Telescopic
  • From the maker of the best selling paddle in the USA
  • Hook retrieval system in paddle head

Cons

  • Over branded, makes the paddle look garish
  • Not cheap – but definitely worth the money

The Bending Branches Angler Ace is, without question, the smart choice for those into kayak fishing. And I would go as far as to say, the smart choice for anyone looking for a cost-effective, lightweight, telescopic carbon paddle.

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6. Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle

Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle
  • Best Recreational Kayak Paddle 
  • Rating: ★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★★
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The Carlisle Magic Plus is designed for recreational use. It will transport you across the water with minimal arm fatigue, due to its unique glass-filled asymmetrical blade shape that helps break the surface tension of the water – reduces drag and provides smooth, efficient strokes.

It’s important to note that although the blades on the Carlisle Magic are made of plastic, they are polypropylene- the steel of plastic.  Polypropylene is far more rigid than that nylon blades, found on more budget kayak paddle offerings.  And to take the rigidity of the blade to the next level Carlisle has filled them with fiberglass – these fiberglass reinforced paddles are not going to flex and break on you.

Carlisle Magic Mystic Fiberglass Paddle

The fiberglass shaft is lightweight and flexible, with both a 0 and 60 degrees feather offset to accommodate left-handed or right-handed kayakers. It is offered in four lengths, 220cm, 230cm, 240cm, and 250cm – a separate shaft extender is available if you need it.

The shaft is fitted with rubber drip rings to prevent water from running back down, keeping your hands dry.  The shaft’s ovalized shape encourages good grip and distributes the stress placed on your wrists – thus helping reduce paddling fatigue.  And, the fiberglass wrap provides excellent thermal insulation, which means it is comfortable to hold in any temperature. 

Technical Summary

  • Blade Material; Fiberglass reinforced Polypropylene
  • Shaft Material; Wrapped fiberglass
  • Lengths; 220cm – 250cm 
  • Weight; 39.8oz (1.128kg)
  • Blade style; High Angled (18” x 7.25”)

Pros

  • Great value for its price
  • Available in a good range of lengths
  • Comfortable to hold and shaft design helps reduce wrist fatigue
  • Fiberglass reinforced blade maximise stroke efficiency
  • Backed by brand reputation and excellent customer service

Cons

  • Despite its mixed hybrid material construction its not the lightest of kayak paddles
  • Only recommended for those who like an oval shaped paddle shaft
  • Some reports of the blade deforming if left in direct sunlight

The Carlisle Magic Plus is a great choice for anyone who needs a high performance, yet affordable recreational kayak paddle. It’s lightweight, comfortable to hold in any temperature, and available in a wide range of sizes. It’s less expensive than other high-end paddles and is backed up by excellent customer service – all in all, an excellent buy.

Pros

  • Great value for its price
  • Available in a good range of lengths
  • Comfortable to hold and shaft design helps reduce wrist fatigue
  • Fiberglass reinforced blade maximise stroke efficiency
  • Backed by brand reputation and excellent customer service

Cons

  • Despite its mixed hybrid material construction its not the lightest of kayak paddles
  • Only recommended for those who like an oval shaped paddle shaft
  • Some reports of the blade deforming if left in direct sunlight

The Carlisle Magic Plus is a great choice for anyone who needs a high performance, yet affordable recreational kayak paddle. It’s lightweight, comfortable to hold in any temperature, and available in a wide range of sizes. It’s less expensive than other high-end paddles and is backed up by excellent customer service – all in all, an excellent buy.

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Conclusion – What Is The Best Kayak Paddle

We have reviewed the best kayak paddles on the market today, and you can see kayak paddles come in all different shapes, sizes, materials and price points.  

Does the fact that it is three times the price make it better than a cheaper alternative?  No!  Premium features can be obtained without selling a kidney or refinancing the house.  

After all, do you actually need a full carbon paddle?  Most people don’t need a performance kayak paddle, and the extra benefit it brings is often overshadowed by the massive jump in price.

For most beginners and intermediate hobbyists a hybrid material paddle will be more than suitable. And, there are some great buys out there.  If you don’t believe me then just read the reviews above.

Our personal favorite is  Aqua Bound’s Manta Ray Carbon, which has been awarded best kayak paddle.  Why? Well it provides the key features found on the higher priced paddles, such as carbon, durability, lightweight and power. Yet, it’s a fraction of the cost of the most expensive, the full carbon Werner Kalliste.

But all said and done, you couldn’t go wrong with any of the top 6 kayak paddles reviewed above, they are all excellent paddles in their respective classes.