A paddle is a tool for mixing or pushing against liquids, typically in order to propel a boat. Paddles for use in canoes consist of a wooden or metal rod (the shaft) with a handle on one end and a rigid sheet (the blade) on the other end. Paddles for use in kayaks are longer, with a blade on each end, and usually no handles.

The paddle is held with two hands, some distance apart from each other. For normal use, it is drawn through the water in a backwards direction. The two blades of a kayak paddle are dipped alternately on either side of the kayak.

A paddle is distinquished from an oar in that the paddle is held in the user's hands and completely supported by the paddler, whereas an oar is primarily supported by the boat.

The word paddle also designates some devices of similar shape:

  • A paddle is an wooden instrument of corporal punishment consisting in a handle and a flat surface, traditionally used in the United States to inflict spankings in schools and households.

  • Table tennis racquets are often called paddles.

A paddle in the world of video games is a game controller with a round wheel and one or more fire buttons, where the wheel is typically used to control movement of the player object along one axis of the video screen. How it works: The paddle wheel is usually mechanically coupled to a potentiometer, so as to generate an output voltage level varying with the wheel's angle relative to a start position.

Some famous video games using paddles are Pong, Breakout, and Night Driver.

See Also: joystick