Kayak Paddle Shafts- Diameter, Design and other Details 2023

The kayak paddle will be among the most crucial pieces of equipment you own as a kayaker. The piece of gear you’ll be using all day and what will move you through the sea is a kayak paddle. It can be difficult to choose a kayak paddle among the various variations available. Kayak paddle shafts come in a variety of lengths, metals, and blade designs. Before purchasing, it’s critical to understand your needs.

Every paddle has a shaft that serves as the framework for all of its other parts, from the blade’s design to the particular swipe sequence. A first water traveler quickly saw the necessity for a power help outside his or her outstretched arm and closed palm even before they propelled the drifting log to traverse a stream.

Including among enthusiasts of wood shafts, laminating technologies have expanded the choices for combining regularly employed woods into shafts that make the most of each wood’s good attributes and increase the range of aesthetic attraction those various kinds of wood can produce when placed collectively. Here is a complete guide about Kayak Paddle shafts.

Diameter of Kayak Paddle Shafts

Slim paddle shafts are for tiny hands, whereas thick paddle shafts are for large hands, you’ll often hear people claim. The actions we take when paddling are far more complicated than that. Rarely is the diameter variation between a “slim” shaft and a “thick” shaft greater than 1/8 inch. A kid’s shaft and a behemoth’s shaft only differ in diameter by a little over half an inch!

Diameter Size and Structure

Naturally, shafts are available in a range of lengths to accommodate paddler sizes and different stroke techniques. Due to the wide range in hand sizes of paddlers, most manufacturers provide shafts in two standard diameters: large and small. In addition to decreasing the effectiveness of your stroke, a bad hold on a paddle can wear you out and be uncomfortable.

Size and shape go hand in hand. The cross-section area of a paddle will either be completely round in diameter or will be ovalized at the portion of the shaft where you will grip it. We refer to the oval cross-section as indexing. It provides a visually different appearance along the shaft that makes it easier for you to rapidly place your grasp at the proper location along the shaft to line up your grasp with the power face of the Kayak paddle shaft. The majority of paddlers can also keep a more firm grip while feeling less worn out.

Kayak Paddle Size

If the diameter is increased too much, your hand is freely holding the shaft, preventing your fingers from getting to your thumb. Due to the additional material required, the larger shaft is typically bulkier. For each stroke, a slender shaft slices further into your hand, sometimes resulting in bruising. Your fingernails may indeed press against the hand’s palm. You may also have a complete guide to learn how to dress up for kayaking.

Shaft Material

There are following best shaft materials to choose;

  • Wood
  • Aluminum
  • Synthetic


A fantastic option to customize your kayaking adventures is to make your hardwood kayak paddle. A lovely work of utilitarian art that you created yourself can be used in place of a standard plastic paddle. I’m making the blade out of Western Red Cedar for the base and a small amount of Ash for the flair and reinforcement. Ashes serve as the strengthening spline on a Sitka spruce shaft.

Typically, cedar, spruce, ash, and walnuts are the three widely used kinds of wood for creating paddles. To create a powerful and more eye-catching/striking color layering, they are frequently coated. Some shafts are covered in urethane to preserve them, while others have oil poured into the top to retain and maintain the finish. Some wooden paddles may not even have a finish; they are just allowed to dry out in between applications.


The most common metal used for paddle shafts is aluminum alloy. Aluminum has a strong weight-to-strength ratio, making it a good option for inexpensive paddles. It is simple to machine and useful for producing two-piece paddles. For increased corrosion and wear opposition, as well as to make the surface simpler to paint, the majority of aluminum is anodized.


Fiberglass is semi-metal in terms of weight and cost because it is lighter than aluminum and hotter on your skin. The aluminum and a fiberglass or nylon blade paddle shafts are the most affordable ones. When you buy a kayak, a dealer will provide a paddle like this for no additional cost.


The most costly material we use is carbon. The paddles with the highest strength-to-weight ratio. You must purchase a carbon paddle that is made entirely of T-700 carbon. High-quality, durable carbon fiber known as T-700 is frequently utilized in aircraft applications. Since the fibers may be woven into shapes, each model can have a unique appearance.

Types of kayak paddle shafts

Shaft Swing Mass

The feeling of the shaft and blades in your hands being weighty is referred to as “swing weight.” When using paddles, less really is more. In principle, lighter paddles are favored over heavier ones unless you expect to paddle in conditions that call for utmost robustness, such as whitewater. Even so, choose the lighter type if you must choose between two that appear to be equally durable.

The paddle’s actual weight is its stationary weight, which is the sum of all of its pieces, including the shaft, blade, and any other elements (two-piece clips, adjustable ferrules). Consequently, swing weight may be thought of as its dynamical weight, which refers to both its “heft” while in action and the sense of flow that results from the load distribution for appropriate balance across the entire paddle.

Use sensation and other senses to measure the swing weight rather than using any scale. Two paddles may weigh the very same overall amount. The paddle with a superior swing mass will appear to flow more easily through the paddling movements and be more evenly balanced during the compression stroke and reverse arc swing.

Additionally, its blades will typically be lighter. A paddler will probably feel considerably less worn out after utilizing a good swing-weight paddle than without one. Moreover, ideal weather conditions also play a key role in making kayak boating successful.

Choose Paddle Shaft with an easy grip

No matter if you choose a flat Kayak paddle shaft, a twisted bent shaft, or a rounded shaft, using the right grip can reduce fatigue. The non-power stroke side of the paddles is also crucial, even though the power stroke hand typically receives all the focus. Consider letting up a little bit on the return stroke rather than maintaining a tight, solid grip.

While paddling, you should keep your paddle under the command and maintain a constant rhythm. Yet, if you tuck the shaft between the base of your index and thumb you have the option of entirely opening your grip or relaxing all of your fingers save for those two and softly encircling the blade with your fingertips.

You can still provide pushing force to counteract the thrust on the power face side on the non-power face side. Comparable to utilizing a toe clip on a bicycle, where the uphill pull on the pedal increases the strength of the descending pedal, swapping hands when paddling has this effect. It is a simple approach that reduces stress and exhaustion on both hands.

Kayak Paddle Shafts Design

Straight or Bent Shaft

The “pinched” portion of bent-shaft paddles places the wrists at a more straightforward during the energy phase of a stroke, reducing pain and tiredness in your joints. Schedule a day on the ocean if you’re switching from a straight-shaft kayak to a bent-shaft kayak to modify your stroke pattern.

Two Piece or Four Piece Paddle Shaft

You can disassemble both of them for simpler storage. If you’re hillwalking anywhere with a compact kayak or transporting your paddle on a flight, a version with a four-piece paddle shaft just has shorter portions. Another important factor for kayaking include mount a trolling motor to a kayak.

Bent Shaft versus Straight Shaft

Kayak paddles might have a straight shaft or perhaps a tiny twist to help you arrange your hands better. Shafts with bends are intriguing. Even during the propulsive phase of your stroke, they put your hands at a more cozy angle. This enables you to maintain a solid grip on the paddle shaft as you perform your paddle stroke. A stroke that is less taxing on the joints and more fruitful as an outcome.

Bent shaft versus straight shaft

The design of several paddle designing and producing businesses (like Werner Paddles) bent-shaft paddles has received much study. These paddles are designed to combine the convenience and joint safety of a bent shaft with the classic feel and control of a straight shaft.

Paddle Shaft in shifts

You can often built Kayak paddle shafts using single-, two-, and four-piece types. A kayak paddle shafts that disassembles into little pieces is more practical the more equipment you need to bring with you. Split a long single Kayak Paddle into 2 short parts to fit into your chilly vehicle. Much more practical is to disassemble your paddles into four significantly smaller parts before your expedition leader’s first portage.

Custom Feathering by Kayak Paddle Shafts

The excellent thing is that you can usually modify the extent of feathering on paddle shafts to match your normal paddle angle, generally in steps of 15 degrees. Several kayak paddles include variable ferrules, allowing the user to quickly alter the feathering to suit the scenario.

You can feather the majority of contemporary kayak paddles between 15 and 60 degrees. The most typical angle is 60 degrees, with the notable exception of whitewater paddlers, who generally choose 30 to 45 degrees because of the difficult conditions they encounter. Every time you’re out here on your kayak, try something new.

Final Words

You must focus on a variety of factors to choose a proper kayak paddle shaft, some of which are straightforward and objective whereas others are very debatable. Once you’ve mastered good paddling form and are at ease using a certain style, it’s simpler to understand what will work best for you. The appropriate equipment will then depend on personal desire.

A final factor to take into account when selecting a kayak paddle is whether it is a one- or two-piece. The degree to which you want a changeable tip so you have alternatives for feathering the paddle is highly linked with that choice. That warrants a separate conversation all by itself. Keep in mind before going towards Kayak Paddle Shafts you must have essential knowledge about kayak boating rules.