Best kayak paddles 2018: for white water and flat water paddling

Whether you prefer to bomb it down rapids or take leisurely river cruises, we’ve put together a list of the best kayak paddles, covering every type of paddler

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If you’re new to the whole kayaking lark, there are some basic things you need to consider when purchasing your first set of paddles. 

While, for the more experienced kayaker, the minor details matter, if you’re just starting out but know you’re a white water kayaker over a calm cruiser or vise-versa, we can help you out with a few tips and our pick of the best. 

Those looking to master white water kayaking should be on the lookout for shorter paddles, as they have the manoeuvrability for you to get in those high angled strokes. 

Something like the Werner Sidekick Whitewater Paddle should do the trick - check out Eat Sleep Kayak’s guide to kayaking paddles to find out the kind of length you should be going for. 

You don’t have to be quite so fussy if you’re a leisurely kayaker, although longer paddles tend to give you more on the low angle paddling. 

If you’re looking to head out on the lake or a sheltered bay, try the Advanced Elements Compact Touring Kayak Paddle for size.  

The best kayak paddle

1. Werner Sidekick Whitewater Paddle

Long, lightweight and powerful, this Werner paddle is certainly your sidekick in the water

Reasons to buy
+Down-turned blades generate more power in the water

Available in a range of sizes which are suitable for short to tall white water kayakers, this paddle from Werner should do the trick nicely as you make your way down grade 3 and 4 rivers. 

The paddle features large, downturned blades which catch the water as you make your angles, with playboaters particularly benefiting from its design.  

Advanced Elements Compact Touring Kayak Paddle

2. Advanced Elements Compact Touring Kayak Paddle

A compact paddle that comes in four parts, this one is ideal for take on holiday

Reasons to buy
+Spits into four parts

Lightweight and portable, this paddle from Advanced Elements is ideal for leisurely cruising. It comes in four parts, which can be easily constructed then taken apart again to be packed neatly away. 

The paddle’s blades are made from durable fibreglass, while the aluminium shaft ensures there’s no unnecessary weight on the paddle, making it strong and supple on mild water. 

ZJ SPORT High Performance Full Carbon Fiber Whitewater Paddle

3. ZJ SPORT High Performance Full Carbon Fiber Whitewater Paddle

Those looking for a great paddle from the offset should take a look at this one from ZJ Sport

Reasons to buy
+Assemble the connect tube yourself for the best angle

If you want to make sure that your paddle is tailored to your stroke, this one from ZJ sport Bending Branches Angler Classic could be just the one for you. The blades are made out of incredibly strong carbon fibre, with PMI foam and Epoxy Resin to give it some springiness. 

Coming in two parts, you’ll need a hot gun to fix the connecting tube but you have the freedom to adjust the blade degree to make sure the paddle is perfect for your stroke. 

WERNER TYBEE CARBON

4. WERNER TYBEE CARBON

A great all round paddle for touring and milder white water

Reasons to buy
+For sit-on-top and sit in kayaks

Consisting of carbon reinforced nylon blades and a carbon fibreglass blend shaft, this is a high quality paddle suitable for a range of kayaking conditions. 

Whether you’re cruising around a bay or tackling a lower grade river, this paddle from Werner should do you justice. As a high angle paddle, it’ll suit a more vertical paddling style and should assist beginner kayakers looking to master their rolling skills. 

Bending Branches Angler Classic

5. Bending Branches Angler Classic

With a dual tape measure along the shaft, plus adjustable blade angles, this is the perfect paddle for fishing kayaks

Reasons to buy
+Reinforced fibreglass nylon blades and fibreglass shaft

Anyone looking to take their boat out to the flats to catch some fish should consider purchasing this angling paddle from Bending Branches. 

Thanks to the three hole snap-button feature, you can change the angle of the blades to best suit your stroke, while handy features such as the tape measure along the shaft and the hook retrieval system ensures ultimate convenience when you’ve got a biter.