-- Last Updated: Sep-22-12 6:42 PM EST --
Depends on what you mean by "light" and your ball park budget. A Wenonah quetico paddle is a "light" woodie at 20oz and $90. A Zaveral Extra light is 7oz and $320. That is the extremes of what you're looking at.
(check out zre.com for all the models mentioned below)
You can get a ZRE black rec paddle for just about $200 shipped (with the factory 2nd option. Always get a 2nd. its a perfectly good paddle thats 10% off) The black rec model is 12oz and the cheapest semi light paddle.
I switched from an 11oz to a 8.5oz ZRE power surge light and have to say there is a big difference in feel even though its only 2.5 oz, but its $100 more if you buy new. If you're just going to paddle casually with a nice paddle the 12oz will do you fine. If you intend to race at all the 10 oz and 8.5oz will be noticed (if you care to spend the extra $).
I bought my power surge "used", though it was in like new condition for $220 shipped. If you search ZRE or Zaveral on paddleswap.com there is a 50 and 51" medium (10 oz) for sale for $175.
I now have 3 zav paddle and love them all. Im 6'1 and use a 48"-49" in a pro boat (or any boat that is very low in the water) or I use a 50.5" in my solo or in boats like a MNII.
I own a jensen 17 and usually use the 48". If you are unsure of what size to get you can order the shaft long, like 52", and ask Zav to leave the handle not glued in. you can tape it, paddle with it for a day and if its too long cut an inch off, repeat until it feels right.
I think everyone will reccomend Zav as the standard bearer for carbon/light paddles.
My last $.02: I found I like a skinny paddle. The 8" power surge blade is my favorite so far but on my next one I think I will even go skinnier (7.75") as I have bad shoulders and they prefer less force, higher cadence paddling.
So with all that said, If you just want a nice touring paddle I recommend a Wenonah Quetico. If you want to race or just want to spoil yourself with a light paddle get a ZRE medium or light.
Recreational Kayak Paddle
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