top of page



Beyond the kayak itself, the paddle you choose significantly influences your performance on the water. Every stroke you take, whether on a short tour or an extended adventure, underscores the importance of selecting the proper paddle. To make an informed choice, there are four fundamental considerations:

Length: Tailoring the length of your paddle to your boat width and height is crucial for optimal performance. Materials and Price: The materials used in paddle construction affect both performance and cost, with lightweight materials often enhancing efficiency but also commanding a higher price. Blade


Choice: The size and shape of the blade directly impact its effectiveness in the water, influencing factors such as stroke efficiency and power generation. Shaft Choice: Variations in shaft design, such as bent shafts or feathered blades, can further enhance a paddle's performance and ergonomics.


Determining Paddle Length

Choosing the correct paddle length is relatively straightforward. It primarily depends on the width of your kayak and your height. Generally, wider kayaks necessitate longer paddles, and taller paddlers require longer paddles, particularly for narrower kayaks. Paddle manufacturers typically size their paddles in centimeters, aligning with boat measurements in inches. However, slight variations may exist between brands, so consulting specific size charts is advisable.



Low- and High-Angle Paddles


Paddles are designated for either low-angle or high-angle kayaking, each requiring different stroke techniques and paddle sizes. Low-angle strokes, characterized by a slightly tilted shaft with the top hand staying below shoulder level, are ideal for relaxed, recreational kayaking in calm waters. On the other hand, high-angle strokes involve a more tilted shaft and a closer blade path to the boat, offering increased speed at the expense of precision and increased fatigue. Paddle size charts vary between low- and high-angle paddling techniques, with the provided chart focusing on low-angle paddling.





Blade Materials:

  • Plastic/Nylon Blades: Often favored by recreational paddlers for their affordability, plastic blades may lack durability and efficiency compared to other materials.

  • Fiberglass Blades: Offering a balance of performance and durability, fiberglass blades are lightweight and efficient in the water, making them a popular choice for many kayakers.

  • Carbon-Fiber Blades: Renowned for their ultralightweight and stiffness, carbon-fiber blades offer top-tier performance at a premium price.

Shaft Materials:

  • Aluminum: An economical option, aluminum shafts are durable but may become uncomfortably cold or hot depending on weather conditions.

  • Carbon and Fiberglass: Offering a blend of durability, strength, and lightweight construction, carbon and fiberglass shafts complement lightweight composite blades for optimal performance, albeit at a higher price point.


Blade Design


Modern paddle blades typically feature an asymmetrical dihedral shape, optimizing their performance in the water. Asymmetrical blades are narrower and shorter on one side, ensuring a uniform surface area while pushing through the water. Additionally, blades with a dihedral design feature a rib down the center, promoting smooth water flow and enhanced stability.



Shaft Design


Considerations such as straight shafts versus bent shafts and two-piece versus four-piece configurations can significantly impact comfort and ergonomics during paddling sessions. Bent-shaft paddles offer a more natural hand position during the power phase of a stroke, reducing discomfort and fatigue. Meanwhile, collapsible shaft options facilitate easier storage and transportation, making them ideal for kayakers on the go.





Paddle blades may be feathered or matched, with feathered blades angled to reduce wind resistance when one blade is out of the water. Most paddle shafts allow for easy adjustment between matched and feathered configurations, with options to customize the degree of feathering to suit individual preferences.


In summary, selecting the right kayak paddle involves careful consideration of factors such as length, materials, blade design, shaft design, and feathering options. By understanding how these elements contribute to paddle performance and comfort, paddlers can make informed choices to enhance their on-water experience.

We understand that choosing the right paddle is important, which is why we offer a variety of paddle designs to fit your needs. Our downrigger  paddle is specially designed for fishing, with a reinforced blade for extra strength. Our stand-up paddleboard paddle features an adjustable length and a lightweight design for maximum speed and efficiency. Our sea kayak paddle is designed for stability and control, while our surf ski paddle is designed for speed and maneuverability. Contact us to learn more about our paddle designs and which one is right for you.


BC Kayaking _ Kayaking Vancouver Island _ Surfside Paddlesports _ Ski & Surf Courtenay _ K

If you’ve delved into the world of kayaking, chances are you've encountered surf skis as well. But what sets them apart? And how do you decide between the two? Let’s delve into the differences between kayaks and surf skis to help you determine which one best suits your needs.

Comparing Kayaks and Surfskis


Surf skis are often likened to sit-on-top (SOT) kayaks, but they possess distinct characteristics. Typically, surf skis are longer, narrower, and lighter than kayaks, optimized for traversing lakes, rivers, and open ocean waters across varying conditions. Their sleek hull design facilitates speed, making them ideal for touring, fitness paddling, or racing. Equipped with foot-operated rudders beneath the stern, surf skis offer responsive steering capabilities, while their bow shape is engineered to pierce through waves and rapids, aided by buoyancy to resurface quickly after submersion.

Moreover, surf skis feature self-bailing cockpits, ensuring water drainage and easy remounting in case of capsizing, enhancing safety and maneuverability. Originally favored by lifeguards and water-rescue teams, surf skis have gained popularity among recreational paddlers for exploration and exercise.

While surf skis boast responsiveness and efficiency, their narrow profile may necessitate some proficiency to stabilize. However, manufacturers like Stellar offer a diverse range of surf ski models tailored to various skill levels, from recreational to professional paddlers. Stellar's lineup encompasses an array of kayaks, surf skis, paddles, and accessories, each meticulously crafted for specific purposes and performance requirements.


Stellar's recreational surf skis feature wider bodies and flatter hulls behind the cockpit, prioritizing stability without compromising on speed. Intermediate models boast narrower profiles for enhanced lightweight and speed, catering to more experienced paddlers seeking optimal performance.


Factors to Consider

When contemplating whether to invest in a kayak or surf ski, several factors warrant consideration:

  1. Paddling Environment: Assess where you intend to paddle—whether it be lakes, rivers, oceans, or whitewater— as both kayaks and surf skis are engineered with specific water conditions in mind.

  2. Rudders: Consider the type of rudder best suited to your paddling environment. Over-stern rudders are preferable for shallow lakes and rivers, while under-stern rudders excel in ocean conditions, offering varying sizes to accommodate steering precision and stability.

  3. Paddling Goals: Determine your primary objectives for paddling—whether it's recreational enjoyment, fitness, or racing—as this influences the desired level of stability and performance in your watercraft.

  4. Environmental Exposure: Factor in your comfort level with exposure to the elements, as the open cockpit design of a surf ski may offer less protection compared to a kayak, particularly in colder climates.

  5. Test Paddling: Prioritize experiencing both kayaks and surf skis firsthand before making a decision. Performance Kayak's knowledgeable staff can guide you through various options, ensuring the perfect fit for your needs and preferences.

In conclusion, choosing between a kayak and a surf ski necessitates careful consideration of your paddling aspirations, environment, and comfort preferences. By weighing these factors alongside expert guidance from Performance Kayak, you can confidently select the ideal watercraft to elevate your paddling experience. As you embark on your paddling journey, explore the diverse options available and discover the perfect companion for your aquatic adventures.

bottom of page