Having the proper equipment for your rafting adventures is a key aspect of the experience. Rafting paddles help to efficiently steer the raft. With the right paddle, you can enjoy your next rafting experience safely. Consider these tips for choosing a raft paddle.

Paddle Style and Material

It’s essential to first consider the style of the paddle that you need for your raft. Rafting paddles come in several kinds of materials, lengths, and styles suited for your personal preference and comfort. There’s wood, fiberglass, plastic, metal, carbon fiber, and various combinations available.

Some materials are heavier or more lightweight than others, which has a direct impact on your physical ability to paddle. The lighter the material, the less fatigue. When you’re able to paddle for longer periods of time, you’re able to explore more in your raft. Try experimenting with different materials to see which paddle feels best on the water and how your performance compares when using it.

Paddle Size and Length

Paddle size and length are critical to being able to efficiently and comfortably paddle. When choosing the correct paddle size and length, you must first consider your own height. It is ideal to have a paddle that is comfortable to hold and easy to use in the water.

If the paddle is too short, it may not be able to plunge deep enough into the water to provide your raft with the power and direction required to efficiently navigate it. If it’s too long, you’ll find yourself struggling to efficiently power through the water and hold the tool. This means you’ll spend more energy paddling and less time enjoying the water.

A rule of thumb is to aim for a paddle that is 191 cm if you are shorter, 194 cm if you’re average, and 197 cm if you’re above average height. Depending on how wide your boat is, you may need to increase the paddle length with that in mind as well.

Blade Size

Blade size is another essential factor to consider when taking your packable kayaks out on the water. Different surface areas impact the performance of the paddler in different ways. You may find yourself exerting more energy using a paddle with a bigger plate versus a smaller one if it is too large for you. Conversely, if you’re taller and find a larger blade gives you more power, consider using a paddle with a larger blade. Smaller blades are always available for those seeking more control and less overall stress on the body.

Before choosing your next raft paddle, consider the logistics. Your height, physical build, and preferred style of boating all have an impact on the kind of rafting paddle you should ultimately buy. Experiment with a few paddles and consider these tips when choosing the best rafting paddle for you.

October 04, 2022 — Adrian Landia