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Paddle length advice.

I went on my first outing on saturday. I used a borrowed paddle and I think it's too short. It measures 84" (213.36 cm). So, what size should I try? I saw some that are 220 cm but would that really be noticeable? 230 cm would add almost 3" to each side. I'm not sure I will be able to borrow another one so I might just have to buy one. What would you recommend? This is for calm river/canal kayaking.


  • extende trial required
    I have about 5 paddles, all great, ranging in length from 208 to 226 cm. It depends on stroke height, technique, blade area, and the type of paddling you do. There is no substitute for your own trials, and you must decide for yourself.
  • What boat are you paddling?
    Also how tall are you?
  • Under the bridge
    is where trolls should go !
  • Options
    About 5'10".
  • Options
    I don't know why you are implying that but just leave the thread if you can't answer.
  • I'm 6"
    I'm 6' and use around 215cm for sea kayaking and 197cm for whitewater. Unless you use a very wide kayak your current paddle should be fine.

    Do you have anyone who can check out your technique?
  • 230 cm very long
    230cm is quite extreme for a kayak paddle. It depends on your height, paddling style, and the width of your boat. In my experience paddlers tend to go shorter as they get more experience. I'm 6'1" and use a 210cm paddle (unless using a greenland paddle), but I usually paddle a 21" or 22" beam kayak.
  • Options
    Correct paddle length
    My suggestion: go to the Epic Paddle Wizard application: This will get you in the right length paddle.


    It really does depend on the width of the boat, style of paddling (upright vs horizontal) and a host of other factors.

    In my 24 in beam sea kayak i see a big difference in say 212 cm vs 220 cm.

    I am not saying buy an Epic paddle but of course they are great , IMO. I do think if you have or plan on having more than one boat an adjustable paddle is a great idea.

    I did get sticker shock when i bought my Epic mid wing 210 -220 cm but hey it's an investment and i plan on holding on to it for quite some time.

    Just my thoughts.

    Best of luck.

    DR. J
  • Options
    For all the replies so far.

    The width of the kayak is 27.75.
  • werner fit guide
    play with this.
    See if you get same results as epic guide
  • Options
    Kayak width = 28 inches ?
    -- Last Updated: Aug-27-12 12:26 AM EST --

    Which kayak is 28 inches wide ?
    Long paddle length usually equates
    to a heavier paddle, tiring people easily.

  • xp10 is 28" wide and
    inflatibles (such as Aire lynx) even wider -- and they need paddles, too. ;-)
  • Wide Kayak Paddle
    I have and have had some wide kayaks. The widest boat I paddle now is a surf kayak 27 inches wide. In the surf or White water a shorter paddle handles best. Lots of whitewater boats are this wide, but 200cm is really long for a white water paddle. For a short paddle with a wide boat only a high angle paddle stroke will do.

    I find that paddlers who learn the high angle stroke from the beginning avoid a lot of the arm paddling and bad habits that cause injuries down the line.

    For flat water a 215 might be a good all around size for your height and boat. I't will work well at a high angle and OK at a lower angle. Another thing to conside is the shape of the blade. As a beginner I would advise you to get the smallest blade possible, then learn to get your cadence up.
  • One of my boats is a Jackson Rogue
    It is 27.5" wide and I use a 194 cm paddle. I am your height (5'10"). However, I started paddling as an exclusive WW paddler and I use a vertical stroke with good form.
  • Quite simply
    someone who has just taken their first paddle would not be throwing out for discussion different paddle lengths in centimeters along with their inch equivalents. Nor would they be discussing paddle length beyond longer or shorter.

    Back under the bridge.
  • Options
    OP mentioned "first outing"
    -- Last Updated: Aug-27-12 12:25 PM EST --

    The catch was the original post.
    The good ol' calm river/canal kayaking.

    Usually WW purchases involve "training/classes", etc.
    where the inflatable market is anything goes for cash.

  • Options
    Paddle length advice.
    there are many variables for determining length in standard 'euro' paddles. Many use a lower paddle stroke with longer paddles and a higher angle stroke for shorter paddles. the high angle comes partially from surf skis and often requires a faster cadence. long story.. sounds like for your type of paddling the lower angle will work. if the paddle is too long you might feel some torque in your shoulders, make sure you're are rotating your torso for power not just your arms.

    more here. http://www.paddling.net/guidelines/showArticle.html?132
  • Options
    Thanks again for the replies. I'll look over them to if and try to figure out what to do. The kayak is an old town dirigo xt140. So, it's not in the same league as some of the more experienced users of this site. But it's a kayak and it what I could afford. Defiantly no white water planned.

    And the reason I asked is because on my first outing I was talking to another kayaker and they mentioned the paddle looked too short for me. I'm sure I have bad form but will hopefully get better with time.
  • Now that's just crazy
    -- Last Updated: Aug-27-12 2:27 PM EST --

    Well, just as you would have expected from a beginner, his initial thought WAS that the paddle should be a different length, and in this case he thought it should be longer (so far, so good, by your way of thinking). His conclusion about needing a longer paddle is almost certainly incorrect, but that's beside the point when quibbling about the motivation for what he said, so we can skip that part. With the "I need a longer paddle" idea in mind, he probably measured it with a tape measure in inches so he could compare it to other lengths that are available, but then when he saw that the lengths are always reported in centimeters, he converted his measurement to centimeters. How else could the different choices in length be compared to the paddle he had? (Answer: there is no other way). Anyway, being a beginner and not knowing for sure what unit of measure more-experienced kayakers use to describe their paddles (this is the USA after all, where the average idiot does not understand the metric system at all), he provided both units of measure when asking his question, which is almost certainly the reason that he reported the lengths to a greater degree of precision than normal as well. That possibility makes so much sense that I'd have never even imagined that someone would focus on that and start bitching.

  • Second on the Epic online guide
    And Werner has one too.

    230 is a ridiculous length - there is a good reason you can pick them up like candy on EBay. But there are still people out there who (improperly against current thought) advocate for longer paddles.

    Most of this is your own technique, and the right paddle will help that happen. We were paddling with a woman a couple of years back, when she started kayaking, who came out in an OK boat but the paddle was awful - some 230 cm thing the guys at the shop had insisted was right for her. I gave her my much shorter foam core paddle and while she appreciated the weight, she had the devil of a time paddling with it. When she handed it back I found out that she was scheduled for an upcoming clinic with a very good coach. I told her that the coach was going to get her technique tuned them tell her to get the same paddle I had just handed her. She thought I was nuts - we met up a month later and she had the same paddle as mine except it was bent shaft...
  • Options
    After entering my info in the recommended links above and doing some reading, it looks like 220 cm icomes out as the suggested size. So, as I said, I know my technique is not there yet but either way, I'm using a borrowed paddle so I have to get something Anyway.

    Will going up from 213 to 220 cm be noticeable?

    Lastly, any suggestions are greatly appreciated but not if it's going to start a war. I need to keep is as cheap as possible. I'm hoping to spend no more than $75 or so. It's just all I can afford at this point.
  • Choosing a paddle
    It would be best to start a new thread for choosing your paddle. Lots of people will be ignoring the current thread now that they have said what they wanted to about proper length. Ask a new question about prices and choices, and attention will be renewed. It is good that you recognize how restrictive you price limit is right now, but some advice about more expensive paddles may be valuable for other reasons, or in the future. Don't worry about starting a war. We can do that without your help ;)
  • At 220
    it is still worth checking out places like EBay for used, to get a better (lighter weight) paddle. The tendency on paddles has gotten to be so much shorter due to high angle paddling that good deals can be scored on used 220cm as well.
    It's a temporary paddle for you anyway as you learn more, so it just has to hold together long enough to get you started.
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