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Best Kayak Paddles of 2021

Lots of paddlers spend a good amount of time figuring out which kayak they are going to buy. A lot less time is typically spent figuring out what paddle they will purchase but a great paddle can make all the difference.


So how do you evaluate your options and make a decision in 2021? To begin, you need to understand the basics of a kayak paddle and what the different characteristics will afford you. Fortunately, the kayaking community has been paddling along and sharing their experiences through kayak paddle reviews. By leveraging the reviews and experience that's been shared by thousands of your fellow paddlers, they've helped narrow those dozens upon dozens of options down to the best of the best.

When a 17-year-old paddleboarder was swept out to sea, his survival depended on his cell phone and the voice on the other end of the line.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Kayak Paddle

A kayak paddle is a critical piece of paddling equipment.. There are many things to consider when buying a kayak paddle. Especially if you plan on paddling a long distance, you'll want to consider factors like:

  • Basic Kayak Paddle Shapes - Make sure you understand the implications of basic kayak paddle shapes and characteristics like width, length, curve, and symmetry of a kayak paddle.
  • Kayak Paddle Length - When buying, or even borrowing, kayak paddle length matters.
  • Kayak Paddle Shafts - Shafts come in different materials and forms.
  • Read kayak paddle reviews - you'll get a sense for all of the above factors and more. You'll probably even learn a thing or two that you hadn't even thought to consider!
  • Always try it before you buy it. The best advice, as always, is to try a couple of styles in a variety of conditions. Research is key, but nothing beats getting on water with a paddle. You'll want to know how that paddle is going to feel after a good, long day of use. Talk to friends, borrow a paddle, or contact your local retailer for a demo.

As kayak paddle innovations grow, so do your choices. Don't let the options overwhelm you—you only need one (Be advised that it is smart to have an extra paddle within your group). Do some research, borrow or rent, then buy. Choosing a paddle isn't rocket science, but it's a very important decision. After your PFD, your paddle is the most important tool in your kit. It has to fit, and it has to suit both your boat and the kind of kayaking you want to do. You have to factor in everything from your experience, planned water types, durations, budget, and preferences. The unique combination of these factors will mean the best kayak paddle for you is not the same as the next double-blader.

So use this list as a starting point. Get some ideas, read some reviews, look through the entire Kayak Paddle Gear Guide, maybe browse the message boards, talk to your local paddlesports retailer or paddling groups, and get out and try it before you buy it! And, of course, when you're done, be sure to help the next paddler in their search by submitting a review!

Your Review Matters

This list was based primarily on reviews from paddlers just like you. If you have experience with a kayak paddle or two, be sure to submit a review to inform others and have a voice in how this list is made.


Best Kayak Paddles of 2021

Kalleq

210–230
Length (cm)
26
Weight (oz)
$438
MSRP

Kalleq is Gearlab's flagship paddle, Inuit name meaning Lightning. It is the lightest and strongest paddle in their line of paddles thanks to its seamless carbon fiber construction. Kalleq incorporates the best-available technology and latest design, offering the ultimate touring paddle experience. If you are interested in adding a Greenland paddle to your quiver, the Kalleq is the way to go.

Additional Attributes

  • Slice With The Sharpest - Meticulously engineered, the thinnest part is merely 1.1 mm. Results in smooth and silent slices through water, in perfect serenity.
  • Light & Strong - 220cm blade with 750 grams of seamless carbon fiber construction. No reinforcements, no joints, no nonsense.
  • Original ProTek Tip - Gearlab's signature ProTek tip design offers worry-free rock dings, multiple tip colors, and loom extensions options. This easy user replaceable parts provides convenience and peace of mind.
  • Ripstop Weave - Exclusive carbon fiber ripstop weave adds unique visual texture and depth only on the Kalleq.
  • Diamond Joint - Patent pending full carbon fiber spring joint design snaps firmly and securely at your fingertip. No protrusions, no tools required. Most importantly, no wiggle room.
  • Titanium - Only aerospace grade Titanium screws are used in Gearlab paddles. Sea water tested and rust proof. No details overlooked.
  • 2 Piece - All Gearlab paddles are 2 piece snap design. They are easy to travel with and makes a great backup on the deck too.

Kalleq Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
(122 Consumer Reviews)

I was concerned that there…

I was concerned that there would be a steep learning curve switching from Euro blade to a Greenland paddle. Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t switch over years ago. Gearlab… read full review

I am a beginner to Greenland…

I am a beginner to Greenland paddling and sea kayaking in general. Having paddled for a year with a short cedar wooden paddle and built my own longer cedar/ash combo paddle (… read full review

Just picked up a new Kalleq…

Just picked up a new Kalleq 220. I've been using a cedar greenland paddle for years, but this is my first trip into the world of carbon. This paddle is really cool. It's supe… read full review

Whiskey Fiberglass 2-Piece Kayak Paddle

The Whiskey Fiberglass paddle has the same beefy blades as the Whiskey Carbon paddle, making it perfect for high-angle, high-energy paddlers. Hand-crafted and compression molded with multi-laminate fiberglass resin and a lightweight foam core, the Whiskey Fiberglass paddle comes in three eye-popping colors: Fuego, Agua, and Sunwave.

The Whiskey Fiberglass paddle has the same super-light and durable, 100% carbon T-700 shaft. The Whiskey Fiberglass is available in a 100% Carbon Posi-Lok® ferrule system which clicks into position firmly and securely. The Posi-Lok® features strong, corrosion-free construction, convenient dual-button release, and infinite feathering angles. Licensed Ferrule US Patent No. 6,881,111.

The Whiskey Fiberglass is available in lengths from 200cm to 240cm in increments of 5cm.

  • Material Description: Blade Material: Compression molded fiberglass; Shaft: T-700 Carbon

Whiskey Fiberglass 2-Piece Kayak Paddle Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
(5 Consumer Reviews)

Love the weight and feel of…

Love the weight and feel of the Whiskey Paddle. It helps to relieve some of the tiredness in my shoulders I'm starting to feel as I get older. Keeps me in the water for sur… read full review

I purchased this paddle a…

I purchased this paddle a year ago and have used it from quiet water paddling to a paddle leg of a local triathlon and it lives up to all I thought it was. VERY light and eas… read full review

Just a fantastic & really…

Just a fantastic & really enjoyable , easy to use paddle. It's super lightweight & that darn Posi-Lock makes a lot of other paddles seem obsolete . I just set it & forget it … read full review

Akiak

210–230
Length (cm)
$348
MSRP

The Akiak is the first modern shoulderless Greenland paddle with exchangeable tips. Inspired by the Inuit tradition of strengthening paddle tips with bone, walrus ivory, and harder wood, Akiak integrates durable polyamide tips with a carbon fiber paddle. The tip unites smoothly with the paddle to form a seamless paddle stroke.

  • Exchangeable paddle tips provide extra protection for the fine tips of paddles.
  • Sharp paddle blade edges provide crisp and precise paddling.
  • A wider loom accommodates modern kayaks.
  • The shoulderless design promotes smooth sliding strokes.
  • The 2-piece design breaks down quickly for easy transportation and storage.
  • The remarkably light paddle weight reduces fatigue on long paddling excursions.
  • Carbon fiber blades create a slim profile that enters and exits the water quietly while adding buoyancy for a light stroke.
  • A low-profile button release creates a sleek paddle shaft.
  • The carbon fiber button never rusts.
  • The high-quality, continuous-weave carbon fiber shaft delivers a superior strength-to-weight ratio.
  • The symmetrical blade shape reduces torque.
  • This allows the paddler to maintain a looser grip and pull the paddle smoothly through the water.


  • Material Description: 100% Carbon fiber paddle with interchangeable PA paddle tips

Additional Attributes

  • Greenland style ocean kayak paddle
  • Designed and built for ocean touring
  • Swappable tips, an extra set of tips included
  • 100% continuous carbon fiber construction
  • Convenient 2-piece assembly

Akiak Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
(62 Consumer Reviews)

Nice paddle! Light, fast and…

Nice paddle! Light, fast and easy to handle. You get a bit wet but I’m sure that will improve over time with use. A pleasure to paddle with.

Gearlab Akiak Smooth 230 in…

Gearlab Akiak Smooth 230 in Black. 6 ft tall paddler. I like it. Not so much at first but that's the learning curve not the paddle. Its easy to hold in many different place… read full review

This is a beautiful paddle. I…

This is a beautiful paddle. I spent much time trying to decide on length shape and color and decided on 230cm, smooth shoulders and black. I'm 6'0" tall and paddling a percep… read full review

Tango Fiberglass 2-Piece Kayak Paddle

The Tango Fiberglass’ multi-laminate fiberglass blades are truly hand-crafted using high-pressure compression molding, and they come in three hi-vis color options: Agua, Fuego, and Sunwave.

Along with its all-carbon T-700 shaft, the Tango Fiberglass paddle has a super light swing weight yet is strong and very durable. The Tango Fiberglass is available in a 100% Carbon Posi-Lok® ferrule system which clicks into position firmly and securely. The Posi-Lok® features strong, corrosion-free construction, convenient dual-button release, and infinite feathering angles.

The Tango Fiberglass is available in lengths from 210cm to 250cm in increments of 5cm.

  • Material Description: Blade: Compression molded fiberglass; Shaft: T-700 carbon

Tango Fiberglass 2-Piece Kayak Paddle Reviews

5 out of 5 stars
(5 Consumer Reviews)

I purchased a Tango for my…

I purchased a Tango for my wife as a present. She looked at me like I had a hole in my head for spending a few hundred on a paddle when she already had a perfectly good one. … read full review

OMG! What a game changer.…

OMG! What a game changer. This is the GREATEST paddle ever made! At least for a little 110 60 female. You can paddle all day long without getting tired. It's also a beautiful… read full review

Once again a top notch…

Once again a top notch paddle from Aqua-Bound. I got the Whisky earlier & now this in a size 240 for my more casual/relaxing outings. It's so nice to take a slower day & padd… read full review
205–220
Length (cm)
22
Weight (oz)
$595
MSRP

The Storm paddle is best in class for its combination of weight, strength, and performance. Lendal Paddles believes that the benchmark of a truly great paddle is one that performs day-in, day-out in the worst conditions Mother Nature can dish out. The Storm's expedition DNA makes it the only choice for those true explorers pushing the boundaries of kayaking from the Arctic to the Antarctic. You don’t need to be a world-class voyageur to appreciate the benefits of paddling with the Storm.

The Storm is a high performance dihedral foil-back paddle designed for every type of paddler. Ultralight, controllable, with a predictable feel, this paddle will inspire paddlers in whatever conditions they face. Lendal Paddles takes immense pride in the fact that they've made the Storm the perfect “must-have” paddle for all skill levels, from beginners to experts.

In short, the Storm sets the bar for high-performance sea kayak paddles.

  • Material Description: 100% Carbon Fiber

Additional Attributes

  • Dihedral blade that is perfect for any paddler, from beginners to experts
  • Smooth entry and exit on every stroke
  • Doesn’t require drip rings
  • Blade provides real purchase without sacrificing predictability or control
  • Among the lightest, strongest touring paddles on the market, expedition proven
  • Unlike other brands’ lightweight paddles, these don’t come with a warning to avoid use in rough water
  • Comfortable, grip-shaped ergonomic shaft available in straight or bent shaft, now with colorful checkerboard graphics

Storm Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
(9 Consumer Reviews)

When Lendal described the…

When Lendal described the Storm on their website, and after consulting with their excellent customer service team, I knew it was the Storm was for me. While paddling the Flor… read full review

I power a sleek boat with the…

I power a sleek boat with the Storm 205 and it never gets heavy. The blade shape and size is so superb you never need to hold the paddle tight to keep it from fluttering. It … read full review

This is my 10th paddle. I…

This is my 10th paddle. I have even made a couple trying to find what works best for me. The Lendal Storm Bent-shaft is that paddle. I am an senior kayaker, averaging 300-400… read full review

Manta Ray Carbon

210–250
Length (cm)
30
Weight (oz)
$199.95
MSRP

With its beefy blade, the Manta Ray Carbon is an excellent choice for high-angle paddlers, those looking for more power, bigger boats, and moving water.

This power is balanced out with an ovalized, 100% carbon composite shaft, which means less fatigue and joint strain. The Manta Ray Carbon has two ferrule options. In addition to a snug 3-hole snap-button ferrule (0° to 60°, L and R feathering angles), this paddle also offers the Posi-Lok® ferrule system which clicks into position firmly and securely. The Posi-Lok® features strong, corrosion-free composite construction, convenient dual-button release, and infinite feathering angles.

  • Material Description: Carbon Reinforced Nylon Blade

Additional Attributes

  • Comes in both 2-piece and 4-piece models

Manta Ray Carbon Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
(5 Consumer Reviews)

Pros: This paddle is a good…

Pros: This paddle is a good value for those looking to own a "performance level" paddle. This paddle is lightweight and has good buoyancy so it helps lift itself out of the w… read full review

I am a recreational and…

I am a recreational and fitness paddler. I paddle a Wilderness Tarpon 140. I paddle pretty regularly averaging about 12 miles a week. I recently bought the Aqua-Bound Manta R… read full review

Really nice paddle. Very…

Really nice paddle. Very smooth assembly and I love the ribbed shaft.

Ikelos Kayak Paddle

200–260
Length (cm)
21.5
Weight (oz)
$385
MSRP

The Ikelos is Werner's most advanced high-angle paddle, with their best paddling design and construction features. You’ll feel exceptionally light, buoyant strokes while the smooth back face gives a quiet entrance and exit from the water. The award-winning Ikelos is the smart choice for those playing or cruising with a high-angle style of paddling and wanting the powerful feel of a full-sized blade.

Additional Attributes

  • Dynel® edges protect the paddle from the rigorous environment paddlers often find themselves in
  • Full sized blades are and ideal fit for larger, well-conditioned paddlers.
  • Smooth back face makes for cleaner entry and exit of your strokes and an elegant feel on the water.

Ikelos Kayak Paddle Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
(26 Consumer Reviews)

I usually ride with my dog so…

I usually ride with my dog so for those dog pawrents this one is perfect . Of course you paddle but as an outside person why buy a kayak if your not going to paddle - the exp… read full review

Precision made has…

Precision made has comfortable carbon shaft and durable blades

I love this paddle.. light…

I love this paddle.. light weight .. easy to put together and pull apart. I use it without a feather , but it can be adjusted to use the feathering technique. I use to have… read full review
210–240
Length (cm)
28
Weight (oz)
$299.95
MSRP

The Bending Branches Navigator wood kayak paddle dares to combine high-tech materials with the natural beauty of red alder and roasted basswood. For added durability, the blades are wrapped in fiberglass and protected with a Rockgard edge around the blade.

The Navigator comes with either a snug-fitting traditional 3 hole snap-button ferrule (adjustable for feathering angles 0° and 60°, L or R) or a more versatile telescoping ferrule with infinite feathering angles. The Navigator with a snap-button ferrule comes is lengths from 210cm to 240cm, in 10 cm increments.

  • Material Description: Blade: Red Alder and Roasted Basswood, Shaft: T-700 Carbon Shaft

Navigator Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
(9 Consumer Reviews)

I initially bought this…

I initially bought this paddle for its great looks and light weight. Performance was only a secondary consideration since I had other paddles for that Since it ha proved to h… read full review

After three years of kayak…

After three years of kayak ownership, I'm not experienced enough to compare to every paddle available. All I know is, this is the finest paddle I could ever ask for. It is st… read full review

OMG heaven... my paddling…

OMG heaven... my paddling improved monumentally. I borrowed my neighbors offset carbon fiber with smaller blades and worked my butt off trying to get my cheap boat not to d… read full review

Kalliste Kayak Paddle

210–260
Length (cm)
20.25
Weight (oz)
$385
MSRP

The Kalliste is Werner's most advanced low-angle paddle, with our best paddling design and construction features. You’ll feel exceptionally light, buoyant strokes while the smooth back face gives a quiet entrance and exit from the water. The Kalliste is the smart choice for those touring with a low-angle style of paddling and wanting the conservative yet powerful feel of a mid-sized blade.

Additional Attributes

  • Mid-sized blades are an ideal fit for the great majority of average size paddlers.
  • The volume of the buoyant, full carbon, blades creates an exceedingly light feel for effortless and confident strokes.
  • Dynel® blade edges use a composite roping material, that is impact and abrasion resistant.

Kalliste Kayak Paddle Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
(31 Consumer Reviews)

I bought a 230cm bent shaft…

I bought a 230cm bent shaft standard diam carbon Kalliste and have used it three times. My go-to paddle has been a $60 Bending Branches Whisper. I bought the Werner because m… read full review

I've been paddling a 220cm…

I've been paddling a 220cm carbon fiber Kalliste for the last 6 years. It fits me so well and I'm thinking of picking up a 2nd one and demote my current paddle to be a spare.… read full review

I recently bought this Werner…

I recently bought this Werner Kalliste carbon bent-shaft 220 cm paddle from Native Water Sports in Jensen Beach, FL--it is the nicest Euro blade I have ever used. The super l… read full review

Malik

220
Length (cm)
104
Weight (oz)
$188
MSRP

Paddle further with less stress, and roll with ease. Malik is a great solution for kayakers fresh to Greenland-style paddling, and perfect companion for kayak clubs or a cool spare paddle. The blade is made of polypropylene, a scratch resistant and impact proof material.

Additional Attributes

  • Greenland heritage with advanced materials
  • Entry Level Paddle with Iconic Premium Features
  • Lighter than water, stronger than steel

Malik Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
(19 Consumer Reviews)

I've been curious about…

I've been curious about greenland paddles, but they aren't easy to find. Gearlab appears to be the go-to greenland paddle manufacturer for most people, and the price was righ… read full review

I have been using the carbon…

I have been using the carbon shaft Gearlab Malik for one season. This is my first Greenland paddle, and the Malik has me totally sold. It’s not quite perfect, but plenty good… read full review

Got this as a christmas gift.…

Got this as a christmas gift. Looks like another high quality design that i can't wait to get on the water with.

Lanai

220–240
Length (cm)
30
Weight (oz)
$149.95
MSRP

Performance at an affordable price. The Lanai is a low angle touring paddle that provides smooth, powerful and efficient strokes by incorporating our advanced dihedral blade design. Carbon fiber shaft, fiberglass polymer blades and the new Kingpin Connection equals an exceptional, affordable performance paddle.

  • Material Description: Carbon fiber shaft with fiberglass polymer blades

Lanai Reviews

5 out of 5 stars
(2 Consumer Reviews)

I love my paddle. I've had it…

I love my paddle. I've had it for about five years. I've used a lot of crappy paddles in my day, and this certainly isn't one. I'm not particularly buff, and so its light wei… read full review

We got the 230 cm version of…

We got the 230 cm version of the Lanai (white/ivory) paddle from Accent Paddles. This paddle truly is light and I couldn't be happier now that I've upgraded from the aluminum… read full review

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