In an inflatable boat, paddles could be less of a big deal. Why would you need to have oars if you can mount a motor and just hold the tiller? On oceans and calm waters, this could be the case. But if you’re planning to explore the whitewater, your outboard motor have to skip the trip. The best paddle for inflatable boats comes handy during these times because as much as your boat is durable, a broken oar might deem the vessel useless.
Oars are big players in the rapids. You have to get the sturdiest model that can withstand strong current and the force of using it to veer off the rocks. Plastic oars are a no-no as it’s only as good as its appearance. It will easily chip and crack even before you’re halfway the course.
So what’s the best choice? It’s either you go for aluminum, fiberglass, or carbon fiber. All these have better quality than pure nylon and plastic oars. But if you want that can bear all the beating, carbon fiber is the golden choice. It’s the strongest type used even in rowing competitions and other sporting events.
Burnwater Reactor II Full Carbon Fiber T-Handle Oar
Like what I said, carbon fibers are the best options. And if you’re looking for one, you might as well consider the Burnwater Reactor II Full Carbon Fiber T-Handle Oar. It’s a top-dollar choice and is made of pure carbon fiber for utmost strength even if you’re riding Class III or IV rapids. The Burnwater paddle has a 2 x 2 shaft and twill blade for a larger catch on the water.
Depending on the size you’ll get, the Burnwater Reactor II will weigh about 370 to 390 grams. That’s already light for its material and build to give you a nice feel while you’re on the water. It’s a one-piece paddle so you have no worries about detaching parts or loose locks. The edges and tips of the paddle are reinforced for a clean entry on the water and for less risk of chipping. It has smooth traction and the blades are well engineered.
The Burnwater paddle bears the PS202a certification from the International Dragon Boat Federation so you’re assured of quality here. In fact, the sellers even offer a three-year warranty for this best paddle for inflatable boats. The only downside here is that it doesn’t come in pairs so you’ll have to buy more if you’re rafting with a large boat.
If you’re racing, this paddle is the quintessential accessory you should have aboard. It costs around $315 but it’s a superb purchase for a solid oar that can withstand the harshest condition. Not to mention the clean water entry, this paddle is suavé.
Switchblade MultiPurpose All-Fiberglass Paddles
If you’re not really into competitive paddling and you just want a trusty oar, the Switchblade Fiberglass Paddles are for you. Basically, this is made to be a SUP paddle but to cater more activities, this model is a multi-purpose version that you can use for canoeing or kayaking. The oar is detachable into four parts and you can switch modes in just a few seconds.
If completely assembled as a SUP paddle, this will weigh a moderately heavy 667 grams. Detach it for canoeing and it’s going to be feather-light on your hands. You can play with it from 67 to 87 inches depending on what paddling you’re doing on your inflatable.
On the other hand, the blades are also great. The edges of this best paddle for inflatable boats are reinforced to have a good entry on the water.
The good thing about the Switchblade model is it’s made of fiberglass from top to bottom. It’s lighter than carbon fiber but still strong when used on whitewater. This is the best option for those who have multiple inflatables and doesn’t want to purchase separate oars for each one.
In terms of price, it’s a bit cheaper than the Burnwater Reactor but it’s still on the $250 mark. But here’s the takeaway: you’ll get two oars instead of one. That alone is a big money-saving fact if you’re on a budget.
The Burnwater Reactor is a very versatile paddle complete with length markers on the shaft and a T-handle if you’re using it as a SUP paddle.
Intex Dual Purpose Kayak and Boat Oars
Short on cash? No problem, because the Intex Dual Purpose Oars got you covered! This best paddle for inflatable boats is made of an aluminum material that’s reliable for calm water or sea paddling. You can use it as a kayaking paddle when joined together or inflatable raft oars when detached. It’s convertible from 49 to 96 inches so you no longer have to buy another paddle for your other vessels.
Each paddle is a bit heavy at 680 grams each but that’s understandable as you’re dealing with aluminum here. The plastic blades, on the other hand, are 19 inches long and it sports a middle rib for a more stable glide on the water. Just take note that this doesn’t have a T-handle but it comes with drip rings so you can secure it on the oarlocks.
You can utilize the adjustable connector when you’re using the paddle for kayaks. That way, you can achieve the perfect angle for the blades for added tracking. This is a bigger paddle compared to others of its kind. If you’re a tall paddler, you’ll love this best paddle for inflatable boats.
The Intex paddle is a good contingency accessory for a motorized inflatable boat. If your engine ran out of gas in the middle of the waters, you have a reliable pair of oars to save the day. In this case, it could be the Intex Dual Purpose Oars.
The best part here is that you can get this pair for approximately $25. That’s way cheaper than the first two paddles I listed!
BIC Sport Original Adjustable Aluminum/Fiberglass Oar
Are you fond of standup boarding, you might be looking for the best paddle for inflatable boats. A durable inflatable surfboard should be paired with the BIC Sport Original Adjustable Oar. This comes with a polycarbonate blade or either fiberglass or aluminum shaft. If you’ll ask me, I’ll look for the fiberglass version as it’s stronger and more long-lasting than aluminum. Anyway, the BIC paddles match every inflatable SUP board so the only thing you have to think about is quality and length.
Mind the size of the BIC Oar you’re buying as it comes in two namely Kids and Unisex Standard. You can use the Twin Pin adjustable locking system to suit it on your paddling needs. The paddle package comes with a T-shaped polycarbonate handle with a textured rubber coating for the best grip.
Another best feature of this paddle is it floats in case you drop it. It’s a surprising takeaway as the paddle weighs more than 2,200 grams. Anyway, using a leash would be advisable if you’re paddling on a moving water. Remember that you might easily experince fatigue on the aluminum option.
The BIC paddle is also stylish with its graffiti on the blade. It’s a good choice if you’re a bit of a hip paddler. For about $50-$125, it is low-risk to give it a try.
It says that the paddle is good even for kids but I don’t think it will work for anyone younger than nine or ten. The paddle is a bit heavy, thus problematic for small hands to handle.
The best paddle for inflatable boats is one that’s strong enough to survive the currents a boater would encounter. The options I gave here are some of the great finds in the paddling industry. I can always bet for a carbon fiber choice but aluminum and fiberglass would be great too if you’re low on cash.