A guide to choosing a canoe and kayak coil.

Guidance and tips for buying a kayak and canoe coil

Even on a short paddling trip, you can easily take hundreds of strokes, so the right kayak paddle will have a huge impact on your paddling speed, efficiency, feel and enjoyment. The lightest full carbon paddles weigh 750g and the heaviest basic paddles over a kilo, and with prices ranging from €30 to €450, there really is a lot to choose from. Read our guide which explains the most important criteria such as length, material, weight, paddle size and shape and choose the kayak paddle that suits you best. If there is one feature to remember, see point 1, length and how to determine the basic size of the paddle.

Not forgetting the kayak kayak paddle's unique friend, the canoe paddle, the end of the article also takes a look at the differences between the various types of canoe paddle and how to choose the right size.

However, if you are not interested in the terminology or technical details of the industry and want to paddle with the right equipment without learning, or are buying a kayak paddle as a gift, contact our knowledgeable customer service team and we will be happy to find the best option for you.


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Kayak kayak paddles

Two-foot kayak paddles for camping, rental, cottage, lake and sea.

The range includes durable and affordable aluminium paddles, atmospheric wooden paddles and top quality and lightweight composite paddles (carbon fibre, fibreglass) from renowned manufacturers such as Finnish lahnakoski and French Select.

Discover the collection here

Chicken eggs

Simple and high quality individual canoe paddles.

You can choose from beautiful wooden paddles made by Lahnakoski, Finland, to adjustable metal paddles.

See the collection here

1. User length

When choosing a kayak coil, it is a good idea to start by determining the length that suits you best. Reach your hand with your fingers straight up and measure the distance from the floor to your fingertips. The result of the measurement (e.g. 225cm) will be the right length for you. the basic size of the paddle that suits you.

2. Width of kayak

The width of your kayak also affects the length of your paddle - the wider your kayak is, the longer paddle you need, and conversely, the narrower your kayak is, the shorter paddle you need for a natural and smooth paddling motion.

The majority of touring kayaks are universal, i.e. 57-63 cm wide, and you can choose a length to match your basic size.

If your kayak is less than 57cm we recommend that you subtract 5cm from the basic size, so in our example the optimal length of the kayak would be 225cm-5cm = 220cm.

If your kayak is wider than 63cm, we recommend adding 5cm to the basic dimension, 225cm+5cm = 230cm.

Open kayaks, packraft and inflatable kayaks can be very wide with widths mostly between 80-100cm. For 80cm widths we recommend to add 10-15cm to the base size, for 90cm widths 15-20cm and for 100cm widths +20cm.

The seating heights and characteristics of these special sledges vary widely, so the dimensions are approximate. Kayak packages often come with a basic paddle, which is a good paddle to practice and experiment with, then you know your preferences better and can buy a better quality paddle with the exact length and features, and you can leave the cheap package paddle as a spare.

The above is a basic idea for choosing the length of a kayak paddle, but it's good to know that your paddling style will also influence your choice of paddle.

3. Paddling style (high)

Experienced and hard paddlers often have a high paddling style which allows for dynamic paddling, i.e. the paddle is at a larger angle to the water and the paddle runs close to the sides of the kayak. If your paddling style is high, reduce the base size by 3-5cm.

4. paddling style (low)

If your paddling style is shallower, allowing for a more relaxed and lighter paddle, choose a kayak paddle with a basic length. If you are a beginner and don't know your paddling style yet, choose a basic size paddle.

5. Lap angle

When the blades are at different angles to each other, the top blade is aerodynamically at a better angle and therefore the wind resistance is significantly lower.

Almost all the paddles in our range have either a graduated or free adjustable blade angle, but before buying a paddle you should check that it has either an adjustable blade angle or a fixed angle to suit your purpose.

6. Platform size/shape

We have a range of pallets from 550-660cm2 in surface area. The more surface area you have, the heavier and more powerful each stroke of the paddle will be.

Big, strong or technically skilled paddlers prefer large paddles and for smaller paddlers and campers we recommend a smaller paddle to start with. The most popular surface area is 590cm2.

The paddles come in different shapes and sizes. For those with a long, steady trip, we recommend an elongated, oval and narrower paddle, which means less energy is spent paddling. This smaller paddle does not take as much upwind, and is lighter in the water because the water resistance is reduced with each stroke. The sea paddle works as a general term, so even if you paddle exclusively on lakes/rivers, you can safely choose a sea paddle for your hobby. A good example of a sea kayak for camping is Select X-Line with 590cm2 platform.

For those looking for a more rugged paddle, for example for training purposes, or for short trips, we recommend the paddle, which has a larger board size. As the surface area of the paddle increases, so does the resistance to wind and water when paddling. This paddle is easier to squeeze into a hard pace and paddling rhythm, but it is also heavier on the muscles and uses more energy, making it less ideal for long, flat distances than a sea paddle. An example of this is Select X-Blade with 660cm2 platform.

Your paddling angle will also influence which type of paddle you should buy for your hobby. High-angle paddlers, who are often experienced, will get more out of a large paddle, while beginners or those who paddle at a more leisurely pace are more likely to tire too quickly with an isolavel paddle. So as a simple reminder; high paddling angle = bigger paddle and low paddling angle = narrower sea paddle.

This paddle is made by Lahnakoski

Greenlandic paddle!

This Inuit traditional paddle, which looks like an aircraft propeller, is unique, perfect for ultra-long trips on the open waters.

See product

Paddle blade material

It's worth paying attention to the materials of your paddle board - the right choice will improve efficiency, comfort and feel. When you take a bet on one paddle, you naturally lift the other paddle into the air and when you factor in the number of repetitions, the seemingly small difference in weight becomes a big factor on a longer trip.

The lightest paddle material of all is carbon fibre, the second lightest is glass fibre and the heaviest are plastic/nylon. The price level between materials is correlated to weight, i.e. the lightest is the most expensive and the heaviest the cheapest.

Carbon fibre is a very rigid material, not only because of its lightweight structure, but also because the paddle blades do not flex as much against the water. and this allows for efficient power transmission when paddling as Select's X-blade.

The fibreglass is of medium quality, which is one of our most popular paddle materials due to its price/lightness/quality ratio. With this construction you get a competent paddle that is light, responsive and functional. A good fibreglass paddle is represented by Select X-line paddle series.

The most economical option for the paddle is nylon/plastic. This is the material that can withstand the most careless use and is therefore often the first choice for family cabin use or rental houses. The material flexes and bends, adding to its durability. As a slight minus, durability comes at the expense of paddling efficiency. Egalis Swell for example, is a good nylon-paddled base paddle.

Paddle shaft

The material of the paddle shaft also has a big impact on different aspects of paddling. Paddles with a thinner head are often made of aluminium stems such as Saimaa Kayaks base paddle. Aluminium is very durable and will serve for a long time in use. Even at this low price, there is a slight downside - aluminium is a heavy material and sensitive to heating and cooling, so especially in colder weather, prolonged handling requires a gloved hand.

Like shovels, there are also handles carbon fibre- and glass fibre and their combinations. These are really lightweight, spectacular and less susceptible to temperature fluctuations than aluminium. For these benefits you have to pay more than aluminium, but often just one canoeing trip is enough to cover the extra cost in terms of comfort.

The design of the kayak coil shaft is also different in some models. Most stems are straight, but for example Select X-Blade Ergo is equipped with a curved shaft. The crankshaft allows you to keep your wrists at a more natural angle when paddling, so they don't strain as much.

Select Paddles

Our range is crowned with high quality kayak paddles from the top brand Select. Handcrafted in France, these are equipped with a 10cm infinitely variable length and paddle angle adjustment, allowing you to fine-tune the length to suit your skill level and preferences.

Canoe reel

Choosing a canoe paddle is often much easier as these paddles are not as technical or complex as kayak paddles.

The first step is to find out the length you need. If you are only looking for a paddle for your own use, you can measure an approximate length by measuring how much distance there is from shoulder height to the floor when standing - this is a suitable paddle length +-5cm depending on your paddling style. When buying a paddle as a gift, it's good to know that a paddle of the right length is often about 30-40cm shorter than the user.

There are also differences in the design of paddles, some are more shovel-shaped and others are elongated like a beaver's tail. There are also straight paddles and paddles with a small angle, the so-called bent-angle paddles.

A shovel-shaped paddle is a safe and easy choice, especially if the paddle is going to be a general purpose paddle. If you are looking for a long distance paddle, an oblong design is better.

Canoe paddles are often wooden and showy. A well treated and stored wooden paddle will stay in good condition for a long time.

Paddles are also available in plastic and, unlike wooden paddles, they are often adjustable. This is particularly useful when the paddle is going to be used by several different people, for example at a cottage or rental shop. An example of an adjustable paddle Lahnakoski Indyhandy.