Why are kayak paddles twisted? (Easy guide for beginners)

Why are kayak paddles twisted? (Easy guide for beginners)
Photo by Louis Hansel / Unsplash

Why are kayak paddles twisted? It's a question that many kayakers ask, and it's a good one! After all, paddles are supposed to be symmetrical, right? So why the twist?

The answer has to do with the way kayaks are designed and ergonomics. Kayaks have a curved hull, which means that when you paddle straight ahead, the paddle blade is actually angled to one side. This angle creates a force on the paddle blade that turns it in the water. The offset in the paddle also helps with your arm rotation since the movement you have to make with a twisted paddle feels more natural.
Before we get into this topic a bit more, the term for twisted kayak paddles is called feathering. Since this blog post is aimed more toward beginners, I will simply just be referring to them as twisted paddles.
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Why does it matter?

If you've been seeing people kayak or noticed that your paddles have the option to be twisted, then you've probably wondered what the point of doing that was. There are a few reasons why kayak paddles are twisted.

Wind Resistance

As an avid kayaker, one of the things I'm always looking to improve is my efficiency on the water. Part of that is finding the right paddle for my style and my kayak. I've found that twisted kayak paddles offer a lot of benefits in terms of wind resistance.

The traditional paddle shape is very aerodynamic, but it can be susceptible to crosswinds. That's where a twisted paddle comes in. The twist in the paddle blades creates a sort of vortex that deflects the wind and keeps the paddle tracking straight.

I've found that this makes a big difference when paddling in windy conditions. I don't have to fight the paddle, and I can maintain a more consistent stroke. If you're looking to improve your efficiency on the water, I highly recommend giving a twisted paddle a try.


When it comes to ergonomics, twisted kayak paddles have a lot going for them. For one, they offer a more natural grip that can help reduce fatigue on your hands and wrists. Additionally, the twists in the paddle help to keep your hands and arms in a more comfortable position, which can also help reduce the risk of injuries.

One of the main benefits of using a twisted kayak paddle is that it can help reduce the amount of fatigue you feel in your hands and wrists. When you grip a traditional kayak paddle, your hands and wrists are constantly working to keep the paddle in place. This can lead to fatigue and even pain in your hands and wrists. However, with a twisted kayak paddle, your hands and wrists are in a more natural position, which reduces the amount of work they have to do. This, in turn, can help you paddle for longer periods of time without feeling as much fatigue.

Another benefit of twisted kayak paddles is that they can help reduce the risk of injuries. When you paddle with a traditional kayak paddle, your hands and wrists are constantly in an awkward position. This can lead to repetitive strain injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome. However, because twisted kayak paddles keep your hands and wrists in a more natural position, the risk of these types of injuries is much lower.


If you're a kayaker, you know that having the right paddle can make a big difference in your speed and performance. And if you're looking for a paddle that can give you an edge on the competition, you may want to consider a twisted paddle.

Twisted paddles are designed to provide a more efficient stroke, and as a result, they can help you paddle faster and with less effort. And because they're less likely to catch the wind, they can also help you maintain your speed in windy conditions.

Because of the better wind resistance and ergonomics, it can easier to get more out of every stroke.

Photo by Louis Hansel / Unsplash

When should I use twisted kayak paddles?

If you're new to kayaking, you may want to stick with a traditional paddle until you have a bit of experience and are comfortable with the basic strokes. Once you're ready to move on to a more advanced level, you may want to consider using a twisted kayak paddle. These paddles offer a number of advantages, including increased speed, better maneuverability, and more power. Of course, they also come with a few challenges, so you'll want to make sure you're comfortable with the basics before making the switch.

With these kayak paddles, it's easier to get more out of every stroke. The added comfort makes each stroke easier and more comfortable and they have a unique blade shape that allows them to cut through the water more efficiently, making them ideal for paddling in adverse conditions.

While it's entirely subjective, twisted paddles seem to offer more benefits to some people who choose to use them. There definitely seems to be more benefits but it ultimately comes down to your preference.

So, should you use a twisted kayak paddle?

If you're new to kayaking, you might not notice any major difference between traditional paddles and twisted kayak paddles, aside from how it looks and feels. Changing the angle on your paddle is a personal preference and you won't know if you like it until you give it a try. For some, it may feel more natural, for others, it may take some getting used to.

If your paddle supports it, I suggest giving it a try and seeing how you feel about it. Most paddles nowadays support different angles so you can get a good feel for it without having to spend any cash.

What's the best angle for twisted kayak paddles?

Generally, most paddles allow you to twist to 60 degrees, which is what most experts would use and recommend. There are also kayak paddles out there that give you a lot more precision in your twist if you feel that 60 degrees isn't good for you. Experimenting can be key to finding what you're most comfortable with and mastering your stroke.

Unless you've been kayaking for a while, I don't recommend putting too much weight on the degree offset when looking to buy paddles, instead, you should focus on other factors such as weight and grip.


Twisted kayak paddles offer many features and benefits over using a traditional style. By having an offset, you can get better speed, more comfort, and better control of your kayak. So, if you feel awkward with how your paddle feels or you are looking to up your kayaking game, I would suggest trying different angles in your paddles. The difference may surprise you!

Happy Paddling!!