So you’ve made the decision on an inflatable kayak. You’ve researched yourself to death, and have finally narrowed it down to the one that’s perfect for you. A sigh of relief – the hard part is over – until you find there are just as many choices, styles and terminologies for a kayak paddle.
If you want to skip the article, head to the bottom for our Comparison Chart with every paddle Airkayaks.com carries.
Note: this article is an update from our previous post on the subject in 2014.
First of all, what is a breakdown kayak paddle?
Unlike a canoe paddle, which has one blade, shaft and handle grip, a kayak paddle features two blade heads (left hand and right hand) and a shaft.
The paddler grips the shaft with both hands, and dips one blade into the water and pulls, then dips the other side into the water and pulls. This is a more efficient method of paddling when sitting lower in the water.
While there are 2-pc breakdown paddles on the market, the most portable paddles are the 4-pc breakdown paddles consisting of two shaft lengths that connect into one, and two blades – a left hand and right hand – that attach onto the shaft. Airkayaks.com only carries 4-pc breakdown paddles. 4-pc breakdown paddles for inflatables typically have a longest shaft length of 25 to 30 inches in length, making them easily storable, often in the kayak carrying case.
What length kayak paddle should I look for?
Since inflatable kayaks are typically wider than hardshell kayaks, a 230 or 240cm paddle is considered a good length. For those confused with the measurement system, a 230cm paddle is 90.55 inches in length while a 240cm paddle is 94.5 inches in length (2.54 cm per inch).
The choice of either is a personal preference, but you should consider your height, paddling style and typical paddling conditions. In general, 230cm is good for persons under 6 feet, high-angle paddlers, and those in fast moving paddling conditions. Paddlers over 6 feet, low-angle paddlers and those in calmer touring conditions may be more comfortable with a 240cm, though our largest-selling paddle for inflatable kayaks is the 230cm size.
As a rule of thumb, all Advanced Elements (AE1012, AE1017, AE1009, AE1007, AE1044), Aquagide Navarro and McKenzie Series, and Aire Tomcat Series, 230cm will fit 99% of paddlers. Aquaglide Chelan, and Advanced Elements AirVolution series and Fishing kayaks, may want to consider 240cm paddles.
What kayak paddles does Airkayaks.com include in the Basic Bundle?
If you are new to Airkayaks.com, for kayaks that do not come with a pump and or paddle(s), we offer a basic bundle which is everything you need to get paddling. The basic bundle includes: the kayak and everything