Do Paddle Board Paddles Float?

Do paddle board paddles float? Yes, they do float! Paddle board paddles are made out of plastic or foam, so they will not sink. This article explores more about paddle boards, including what they are, what they are made of and different types of paddle board paddles.

Paddle Board Paddles are a must-have for any paddle boarder, and they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. The shape you choose will depend on your preference and your paddling style.

Do Paddle Board Paddles Float

What Are Paddle Board Paddles?

Paddle board paddles are used to paddle and steer your paddle board or surfboard while doing activities like paddle surfing or touring. The paddles are long, straight sticks with a flattened curved end and usually have a  foam or plastic padding on one side. 

Paddle board paddles are used to propel you across the water by imitating the movement of oars in rowing boats. Paddle board paddles come in all sorts of shapes and sizes to suit your style, but they are mostly made of one of two things: plastic or foam.

What are Paddle Board Paddles Made Of?

Paddle board paddles are made from different materials such as foam, aluminum, plastic, wood, carbon fiber and fiberglass, as discussed below.

The paddle that you buy will have a little tag on it to tell you what it is exactly made from but I highly recommend you read the material list on the product page of the specific paddles you decide to purchase. 

Wooden Paddling Board Paddles

Wooden paddles are made of light, rigid materials that provide less resistance in the water. Constructed from ash or balsa wood, they are durable and effective on flatwater rivers. Wooden paddling board paddles are available with either a spoon-shaped blade (spoon) or a straight edge leading to a bulbous head. 

Spoon blades offer increased control over longer distances without fatigue due to their cupped design; however, they are slower than other paddle designs. Straight edges have more surface area for pulling through the water at great speeds, but they can tire you out more quickly if you don’t have sufficient back strength.

 These paddles come in an array of colors which is useful if you have people using them.

Plastic Paddling Board Paddles

These are made of hard, durable plastic that is less expensive than most other paddles. They’re great for beginners, but their lightweight often makes them more suitable for long touring trips on flat water rather than high-intensity whitewater rapids. 

These do not have any features to reduce the wind resistance, so they tend to lose some speed when caught in strong winds. Some paddlers also use these sets because if they are lost, it’s easy to replace them without worrying about deep pockets. 

Plastic paddle boards are almost always available with either spoon or straight blades, although you can purchase a few brands with the more traditional curved blade. They are also available in various colors, but these are often limited to black and white.

Aluminum Paddling Board Paddles

Metal is a common material in whitewater and touring paddle board paddles because they are usually lighter than most other materials. Many paddlers find these the most effective, versatile and durable paddles for almost any kayaking or paddle boarding situation.

 Aluminum can also be anodized to make them more durable by adding color-coded graphics to prevent corrosion. These come in a variety of designs, including straight and bent shafts. They can also be used for both flatwater and whitewater kayaking, as the aluminum shaft reduces the amount of drag that occurs in rapids.

Carbon Fiber Paddling Board Paddles

These paddles are made from extremely lightweight, rigid carbon fiber, providing a high-strength and low-weight option for kayakers. They can take quite a bit of punishment and don’t rust easily, so they’re great for touring on rivers or flat water lakes. 

Carbon paddle boards come in either spoon or straight blade designs, with each accompanying benefits and drawbacks. However, these materials do not provide enough strength to be used in whitewater situations without added reinforcement at the joint. 

These work well when you’re heading out solo, but if you want to use them with others, it’s best to get one with interchangeable blades so that people will have their own paddling board paddle design and length.

Fiberglass Paddling Board Paddles

Fiberglass paddle boards are just like their carbon fiber counterparts, but they’re made from a fiberglass composite lighter than aluminum. Fiberglass paddles provide you with all of the advantages of the other metals in the sense that it reduces wind resistance and doesn’t corrode easily in saltwater. 

It also has additional flexibility compared to carbon materials because it absorbs some shock without breaking or flaking. These have a reputation for being somewhat less durable than aluminum or carbon paddles but offer an inexpensive option for flatwater paddling since they often come ready-to-go right out of the box.

Do Paddle Board Paddles Float?

Luckily, a paddle board paddle will float on its own. This makes it easy to find and grab while still remaining on your paddle board because of its high buoyancy rating and lightweight materials. 

Let’s dive into some of the popular styles that paddle board paddles are designed for.

Different Types Of Paddle Board Paddles?

Although many types of paddle board paddles are available, they can be broken down into four main categories. These include spoon blades, straight blades, bent shafts and interchangeable blade designs.

Bent shaft paddles

These paddles usually come in spoon or straight blade designs and bend between the grip and the blade. These bends improve your control over your strokes, but they also add more resistance to your movement so that they can be a bit slower than other types of paddle type designs.

Interchangeable Blade Paddles

Instead of having one long piece attached to the shaft, these have individual pieces attached together at right angles. They also slide onto an adjustable pole that allows you to change their length depending on if you’re going solo or with a tandem kayak. 

They provide additional flexibility for tracking because they can be adjusted based on which way you want them pointed during specific portions of your paddle stroke or turn. However, they can be a bit harder to learn because you have to adjust them on the fly during your stroke, and it’s possible that you could forget which way you had it set previously.

Straight Blade Paddles

These paddles come in spoon and straight blade designs and are the most popular option among beginners and veterans alike. Straight blades provide you with a large surface area, so they push back against the water more easily than curved or pointed instruments do. 

This is why they’re easier to learn because they require less effort for your stroke technique. The downside to this is that since there’s more resistance, it slows you down slightly due to “drag”, making it harder for elite athletes or experienced kayakers to use effectively.

 If you have limited arm movement, then straight blades are probably the best choice for your first attempt at learning how to paddle board.

Spoon Blades

These are usually seen on starter boards because they’re the easiest models to learn on. They’re designed with a short, curved end, making them ideal for slow paddles through calm waters or quick motions across the water’s surface during downwind distances. 

However, they are also slightly harder to control when compared to other options because of their shape, which is why racers rarely use this paddle type.

In conclusion, a paddle board paddle will always float on its own, so you’ll never have to go out and look for it after a capsize or if it slides of into the water. They’re surprisingly lightweight, making them easy to transport from one destination to the next without much hassle.

Joseph Gambino

Paddle Board Enthusiast, Athlete and Blogger. Learn more about me here:

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