Finding the Best Kayak Paddles for Beginners is easier than you think. Here’s a rundown of our favorites paddles for newbies, including our top pick - SeaSense X-Treme II Kayak Paddle.

best kayak paddles for beginners

The key to learning to kayak is to actually get out there and practice, and practice often. And to do that you need the right equipment to practice on. I assume you already have a kayak, if not please check out our other kayak related reviews. After researching dozens of kayak paddles for beginners, we have a list of our top 5 picks below, but first let’s look at some top tips when shopping for the best kayak paddles for beginners.

What to look for is a Kayak Paddle For Beginners:

  • Paddling Style: There are two types of paddling styles. Low-angle paddling – Which is a more relaxed slower cadence stroke which tends to work well on long trips as it conserves energy. And, High-angle paddling – which is a more aggressive style with a faster paced rhythm. Ideal for moving water or strong ocean currents where maneuverability and speed are of the essence. This is an aggressive style, requiring great strength and fitness.


  • Sizing: The dimensions of your boat are also important, as depending on your height and the kayaks width, you will need shorter or longer paddles. Here is a helpful chart provided by REI for general size guidelines:

Low-Angle Kayak Paddle Length Sizing (paddler height x boat width)

Under 23″ 23″ to 28″ 28″ to 32″ Over 32″
Under 5′ tall 210cm 220cm 230cm 240cm
5′ to 5’6″ tall 215cm 220cm 230cm 240cm
5’6″ to 6′ tall 220cm 220cm 230cm 250cm
Over 6′ tall 220cm 230cm 240cm 250cm

High-Angle Kayak Paddle Length Sizing (paddler height x boat width)

Under 26″ Over 26″
Under 5’1″ tall 200cm 220cm
5’1″ to 5’4″ tall 205cm 220cm
5’4″ to 6′ tall 210cm 220cm
Over 6′ tall 220cm 230cm


  • Materials: Now, a kayak paddle can be made from a number of materials: carbon fiber, fiberglass, aluminum, plastic, and nylon. In general, these materials influence its lightness and strength. The stronger the paddle, the harder it is to use it, and the heavier it is too. However, you can’t use light paddles in strong currents. If you prefer long and slow trips, we suggest light paddles, while the opposite requires strong and forceful tools.Carbon fiber is light and strong, but also the most expensive option. Fiberglass is in the middle as far as price is concerned. They are relatively light and strong. Aluminum, like nylon and plastic, tends to be heavy but is cheap and perfect for beginners.


  • Blade Design: The blade design is a bit more complex but also very important. First, we have the shape of the blade. If you can, try to find an asymmetrical dihedral shape. This shape has a built-in angle which creates an effect similar to the one airplane wings make. This will make your paddling feel quite smooth.


  • Feathering: Here, the blades, if they are feather, are not on the same plane. This means that they are offset at an angle against each other. What makes this important is the fact that feathering can reduce both wind resistance. This, in turn, makes things a lot easier on your wrists and arms. The smaller the angle, the easier it is to paddle. However, larger angles make you much more efficient at paddling, but will also make you work more and work harder. This element makes it somewhat complex to use, but in our opinion, every beginner should start using these as soon as possible. They will thank us later.


  • The Shaft: This can be very subjective. For example, most paddles have straight shafts, but paddles that have a bent shaft position your hands in such way that it makes it a lot easier to paddle. Some can be broken down into a couple of parts. Two piece, and especially four piece shafts, make the paddles very convenient and easy to carry during long treks. If you have in general small hands, a shaft with a smaller diameter is best for you. The shaft can also be oval or round. The oval type tends to be much more comfortable, though this is just a subjective preference.

SeaSense X-Treme II Kayak Paddle

TOP PICKbest kayak paddles for beginners

SeaSense has been known for a long time as an excellent and popular company. Proven and tested, they, simply put, know their stuff.

Now, what makes the SeaSence X-Treme an excellent low-angle paddle choice is just how much thought and effort went into this paddle. First of all, it has a feathered blade design. As we’ve already mentioned, this is an excellent addition that will do wonders for your paddling. Another nice addition is that it can be disassembled into two pieces, which makes it quite easy to store. Beginners will love the fact that if you drop it, and we know that worries you a bit, it will float. So it’s quite difficult to lose. Available in two sizes and made from aluminum. It’s our top pick because it is has a ton of features, including adjustability, and it’s so durable for the price.

What Users Are Saying:

  • Excellent quality for the price range.
  • The grips are well spaced and they stay in place.
  • Fairly lightweight.
  • Sturdy and great quality.
  • inexpensive, adjustable, and came with drip guards and foamy grips for your hands

Cannon Paddles Escape E Kayak Paddle

best kayak paddle for beginners

This Cannon Paddle is perfect as an entry level paddle for any beginner. It is very lightweight, made from fiberglass-reinforced nylon. You can also get this paddle unfeathered or with a 60-degree (left or right) feathering angle. The shaft, made from aluminum, is heat treated and anodized. It comes in silver and black colors. This paddle is also very easy to store, as it can be split into two pieces. The paddle weighs around 39 oz. The available lengths are 220, 230 and 240 cm.

What Users Are Saying:

  • A good, classic design.
  • Good value for its price.
  • Very durable.
  • Cuts through water like butter.
  • Perfect for beginners.

Carlisle Day Tripper Aluminum Kayak Paddle

best kayak paddle for beginner

The Carlisle Day Tripper paddle comes with the added benefit of having a shaft that is fully round at the top but has an indexed oval section at the bottom. This makes it very easy to grip and use, making it one of the best kayak paddles for beginners. It’s made from polypropylene, making it study and light. The paddle can be feather at 60 degrees, which, combined with strong aluminum shafts, allow you to make very strong and consistent strokes. It weighs approximately 37 oz, and the length ranges from 220 cm to 230 cm, and to 240cm.

What Users Are Saying:

  • Impressive, low-cost paddle.
  • People love the adjustable feathering.
  • Breaks down and stores easily.
  • Light and inexpensive compared to other paddles on the market.
  • Works on calm and whitewater.

Shoreline Marine Kayak Paddle

best kayaking paddle for beginners

Dripping water can be annoying during paddling, but it can be avoided by having drip guards on your paddle. The Shoreline Marine paddle will definitely keep you dry, as it has an excellent drip guard installed. Another point are the foam grips, making it extra comfortable. Like the other products listed here, it also can be disassembled into two pieces. With a 3 position system, you can customize the paddle for whatever water conditions you find yourself in.  The blade is also specially molded, giving you extra propulsion when paddling. It’s a 96-inch paddle, weighing around 2.2 pounds. It made our list because it is cheap (really cheap for a paddle) and it help up to some pretty vigorous testing.

What Users Are Saying:

  • Very sturdy for its price.
  • Customers report not getting as tired when using this paddle.
  • Very comfortable and easy to use.
  • After one use, it became my favorite paddle.
  • Great cheap option for beginners.

Leader Accessories Kayak Paddle

best kayak paddle for beginners

This Leader Accessories paddle has three locking positions and comes in a variety of colors. You can choose a black, marine blue, gold and white paddle. It’s made of molded plastic and can be disassembled into two pieces for easy storage. What makes it very good for beginners is its lightness, as most beginners don’t have the arm and shoulder strength to maneuver a heavy paddle. The total length of the paddle is 220 cm, or 87 inches.

What Users Are Saying:

  • Customers enjoy the fact that it is easily disassembled
  • They enjoy the fact that the grip area is padded and ergonomic.
  • Very good for beginners, and an excellent backup for veterans.
  • Many color choices
  • Fast and free shipping