Your paddle is your first and most immediate contact to the water, making it as important to you as a paintbrush is to an artist. Investing in great paddles will require time, consideration and the financial resources to get the very best pair. Paddles are definitely not something you want to consider as an “afterthought” when assembling your kayaking “kit”.
Check out our article on other kayak paddle reviews!
|Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle||$|
|Seattle Sports Sea-Whisper Carbon Paddle||$|
|Aqua-Bound Sting Ray 2-Piece Carbon Paddle||$$|
|Cannon Paddles Nokomis Carbon Touring Kayak Paddle||$$|
So what’s the recommendation regarding paddles?
Most dealers and kayakers alike tend to recommend that you invest in the lightest paddles you can afford, and that’s definitely not something you’ll regret. Lighter, more efficient paddles enhance your paddling experience beyond measure. Consider the fact that you’ll be lifting your paddle in and out of the water A LOT, so you really don’t want something heavy that’s going to tire you out too soon.
Why choose carbon fiber paddles?
Simply put…they’re super-light! Investing in carbon fiber paddles instead of clunker paddles is like the difference between jogging with lightweight running shoes and running around in hiking boots.
It’s wiser to rather paddle a heavy plastic boat with great, lightweight paddles, than to paddle a lightweight boat with paddles that weigh you down and tire you out.
What You Need to Consider
Whether it’s your primary or your spare paddle, there are always a few things you need to consider before taking the plunge such as…
1 Piece vs. 2 Piece
Two piece blades come with a joint in the middle of the shaft, making them easy to take apart for transport and storage purposes. Two piece blades are definitely the way to go if you’re looking for a spare paddle.
The reason why one piece paddles are so great is because they are lighter and stronger than 2 piece paddles, you’ll never get stuck with loose joints, they need much less maintenance than 2 piece paddles and they have a much more consistent flex along the length of the shaft.
There are lots of low end paddles, made from plastic blades and aluminum shafts around on the market today, and they’re relatively cheap when compared to carbon fiber paddles, but don’t be fooled by the cheap price. You always get what you pay for. The best paddles have carbon fiber blades and shafts. These paddles are extremely stiff and light, giving you a much more efficient stroke, which is why they are the preferred choice for racers and long distance paddlers.
Most people are quite happy to paddle kayaks with a 220cm paddle. If you have a tandem though, you might want to consider a 225 or 230cm paddle length. The same rule applies to longer people, but if you’re shorter, you might want to look at paddles in the area of 215cm in length.
The longer the paddle length, the more force you’ll have to apply for each stroke in the water.
Here’s a KEY aspect of choosing your paddle, and you really don’t want to go over the 38 ounces mark for the weight of your paddle. For primary paddle, 32 ounces would be great. Some carbon fiber paddles weigh in at 16 or less ounces, making them the best option out there.
You can either go with an overall shape of symmetrical or asymmetrical and then it breaks down into flat, dihedral, spooned and winged, which refers to the cross section shape. For touring, asymmetrical blades are best because the blade is placed in the water at an angle, which helps creates even balance. A flat or dihedral blade is the preferred choice because it gives you great versatility and the right amount of power.
As you can see, there are quite a few things you need to take into consideration before actually buying your paddle. That being said, here are the best carbon fiber paddles available on the market today…
The Best Carbon Fiber Kayak Paddles
We’ve rounded up four of the very best carbon fiber kayak paddles out there that meet just about any need. They might be a little more expensive than plastic and aluminum paddles, but the investment will be well worth it in the long run.
Lightweight and super durable is the name of the game for the Carlisle Magic Plus paddles.
With their asymmetrical, slightly spooned blade shapes, these paddles are also combined with a lightweight, flexible fiberglass shaft that produces smooth and super powerful strokes out on the water.
Providing just the sweet compromise between the stiffness needed for a strong paddle stroke, and the flex needed to reduce stress on your joints, the wound fiberglass shaft takes care of all the hard work for you.
We love the fact that the fiberglass-filled polypropylene blades bring you the best balance of lightweight and durability all in one. What’s also great is the fact that it comes available in some seriously attractive colors such as sunrise and cloud and in lengths of 220cm, 230cm and 240cm.
If you need a strong and dependable paddle that won’t break the bank, the Seattle Sports Sea-Whisper is just the thing you want to consider.
We love that the paddle features a tough, lightweight 2-piece carbon shaft that was built with durability in mind, so it can really take a ton of abuse!
With the Quick-Adjust Cam-Lock and Marked-Ferrule and Index Shaft, you can make your adjustment in a split second, and be pretty darn precise about them too. It also has an integrated Leash Loop that prevents it from straying too far.
The dorsal blades are made from impact-resistant, glass-reinforced nylon that gives you superior durability and even more functionality.
The impressive dorsal blade technology allows you to shed water efficiently, hold your position at the dock, retrieve overboard items and grab onto fishing lines.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced kayaker, the Sea-Whisper paddles will not let you down and might just alter the way you compare paddles forever.
Featuring a popular blade style that allows you to effortlessly move through flat and slow moving water, the Sting Ray from Aqua-Bond is one seriously durable carbon fiber kayaking paddle.
We love the fact that the paddle is so lightweight, yet it still provides you with the strength and stiffness you need. Add the low swing weight carbon shaft and you have one pretty decent first class touring paddle!
With the 3-hole trouble-free snap-button ferrule with 0 and 60-degree RHC and LHC feature positions, this paddle is quiet, precise and won’t wiggle around while you’re paddling.
The Sting Ray brings you responsive paddling, efficiency and value, and because it’s a two piece, it’s easy to take apart and store or transport without any hassles.
Bringing you great handling, smooth paddling and a light weight, the Cannon Nokomis Carbon Touring Paddle is all you want from a carbon paddle at a very impressive price!
We love the fact that the blade design reduces noise and blade flutter in the water and its dihedral angle gives you the balance and strength you need, making paddling virtually effortless.
For durability and reduced swing weight, the blades are manufactured from carbon fiber and reinforced nylon.
Offering a superior strength-to-weight ratio, the aerospace grade unidirectional carbon fiber shaft gives you just the right flex, ease of use and reduced swing weight.
To keep the water from running down your sleeve, the paddle comes with added drip rings and to make things even better this 2-piece paddle is easy to store and transport.
The Wrap Up
So there you have it! We’ve shown you 4 of the best and most reliable carbon fiber paddles available on the market today. We really hope that armed with this great info, you’ll be able to make an informed decision and invest in the very best carbon fiber paddle for your needs. At the end of the day it all really comes down to personal preference and how much paddling you’ll be doing.
If we had to pick just one of these as the overall winner of the Best Carbon Fiber Kayaking Paddles division, it would have to be the Carlisle Magic Plus.
It’s a great recreational paddle that’s suitable for day touring, yet still good enough for those who want to paddle long distances and expeditions on occasion. It’s a great investment for a new paddler that brings you exceptional quality at a relatively affordable price.