I started with the Carlisle Day Tripper (around $50 I think). It's a decent paddle but nothing like my AT Fishstix.
I'd try to get something moderately priced but you don't need to spend a lot of money on a paddle to get started.
Oh, and I still use the Day Tripper. When I've been down the Brazos River, it's shallow and has a rocky bottom in a lot of places. I use the cheap paddle because I'm pushing off of things and it handles the harsh conditions better than a composite blade. Plus if it breaks, it's cheaper to replace so don't be ashamed of going with a $50 paddle.
Edited by ben_beyer (11/22/16 08:59 AM)