1st Paddle

First kayak. I am 6’2 and ~240 pounds. The kayak will be a 18 foot sea kayak. What are your paddle recommendations? If you have a favorite thread on this, please pass it along. No prior kayak experience with the exception of rentals. Thanks.

Should of said Kayak paddle in my subject data. I am partial to REI so if anyone sees something there for me to look at, please let me know.

AT Straight shaft T4E OS
if you are just getting into kayaking I would go with the AT Straight Shaft T4E OS (OS is for Over-Sized blade - which isn’t really over-sized). It is $99 - If you call Austin Kayak they offer free shipping.

Plus you can adjust it to any blade angle you want and increase the paddle shaft length by 5cm.

For your height I would recommend a 215, which gives you up to 220cm of length.

Well, since you’ll eventually…
…discover the absolute superiority of Greenland Paddles (GP), you may as well start with one! :slight_smile:

I’m only half-joking. I started out with what was first put into my hands (Euro style, 80 degree feather), and while I was very happy with this type of paddle for almost five years, when I finally did try a GP, I really fell in love, and have never looked back. Of course, your particular boat and/or personality may or may not go along with this, as all we know at this point is that your boat is 18 feet long.

You can carve your own GP for very little money and just a bit of time, and there are also some very nice commercially built/carved GPs available (including paddle carvers who will custom carve one just for you and your body/boat).

Just something to think about. :slight_smile:


Firsth thoughts on GP is that they are narrower at the end. An inexperienced kayaker would think that to move faster the blade should be wider. That may not be correct.

like gears on a bike
the wider blades allow for faster acceleration, the narrow blades allow you to cruise with less energy.

Most people who use AT Paddles find switching back and forth between the two (AT and Greenland paddles) pretty easy.

if you’re anything like me
choose something good and inexpensive

something you can forget and walk off and leave at a car wash

something you won’t regret losing

save the big bucks for when you know what you want and the first paddle becomes a spare.

Some $150 Aquabound paddle would do.

Many more than just

– Last Updated: Oct-25-07 12:42 AM EST –

...the simple "gear" difference you describe.

I suppose I could go into all sorts of detail describing the differences I perceive between Euro and Greenland paddles, but for now, I really just wanted to be sure that yellowsubmarine doesn't simply dismiss out of hand the idea of trying a GP at this early stage of his paddling adventure.

Both types of paddle can be great, but to give each a chance, good techniques should be practiced as well, and there are some distinct differences in technique that should be observed. Personally, after having spent almost five years *absolutely loving* my old Euro paddle and all I could do with it, over the past five years, I've become even more impressed with the GP and its possibilities. Others will feel differently, but this is how I feel, and I like sharing my enthusiasm for GPs whenever possible.

At this point in my paddling life, I am an unashamed proponent of G-Style boats, paddles, and techniques. Looking back at my novice days with 20/20 hindsight, I really do wish someone would have encouraged me to investigate G-Style paddling from the very beginning. No regrets, but I would have appreciated being made aware of the possibilities early on.


PS: Sorry for the clumsy subject/first sentence sequence. Since I can't change the subject line, It'll just have to remain clumsy. :-)

I was just addressing the statement
"inexperienced kayaker would think that to move faster the blade should be wider"

I guess the correct statement is to accelerate faster the blade should be wider. But, after that it is a matter of efficiency and work.

Aquabond or Plastic Lendel

– Last Updated: Oct-25-07 7:25 AM EST –

Aquabond - Nice basic blades that don't flutter and are solid spares, also not an arm and a leg until you are more sure of where to go. Just a little on the heavy side if you get a model that someone your size can use to help get into the boat. Highly recommend you learn to do that without the aid of the paddle if that's what you are doing now anyway.

Lendel - get a multi-piece system, shaft and blades separate, so you get a good light shaft now and basic plastic blades. Also a good spare, you can upgrade the blades if you want and you'll always have something you can use for rock gardening if you start messing around there.

The really high end lightweight carbon Werner or Epic paddles will run you a few hundred. They are lovely, with different blade shapes that present different balances between power and stress on your body. You may not be settled enough in your paddling yet to make the best pick there.

Aquabound at REI

– Last Updated: Oct-25-07 1:29 PM EST –

is a good paddle but so are many of the other mfgs. I like the strength and weight of the alum shaft Manta Ray and I use a 230cm.

I would suggest purchasing an inexpensive paddle but not a real cheap one. It takes much longer to find the right paddle than a few minutes depending on your use.

What may feel good in the beginning my not feel the same after 30 minutes or an hour and what works for me might not work for you. Perhaps an Outfitter will loan you one to paddle with but unfortunately they usually don't have good ones to loan or rent. I ask paddlers in groups to swap boats and or paddles for an hour which gives them a variety of experiences.

Be patient with your selection and your will find the right one.

Have fun shopping!


I started with an Aquabound and it is indestructible. Survived a lot of abuse. I now use an ONNO paddle for its power and light weight. But I do have to be more careful with it.

how did you guys know
it was an Aquabound that I lost!


demo if you can

– Last Updated: Oct-25-07 4:35 PM EST –

don't know your geography but you can demo paddles. Pretty hard to buy a paddle without getting the feel and heft of it in your hand. Kind of like choosing a baseball bat.

Check w. paddleshops and outfitters - either bring your kayak... OR choose one of their demo kayaks that is like yours in terms of width, length, and cockpit depth.

The width of your boat is just as big a factor in choosing paddle length as your height, wing span and torso height. You're looking for a paddle that slices cleanly in and out of the water and doesn't knock on the side or deck of your boat.

While you are demoing ask a paddle shop person (hopefully knowledgeable) to watch you paddle. If you are a high angle paddler you will benefit from a paddle in the shorter end of your range, a low angle paddler from the longer end.

Some people are midangle paddlers and yup the middle length of their range suits them fine.

Werner Paddles has a great "paddle wizard" you can click on and input some info about you, your boat and paddling style (high, low etc) It's a great place to start, learn the terms, and something which you can compare as you do your on the water demos.

You don't have to buy a Werner to benefit from the wizard, but do check out the Werner recreational paddles that are at the top of that class yet not as costly as their carbon or carbon/foam cousins.

epickayaks.com also has a link for paddles and a style wizard. They also have from time to time some cosmetic blems that will save you lots on a quality paddle.

I own both a Werner Cyprus 210 and an Epic Active Tour Level Lock (latter adjusts between 205-215 cm) For me, my style and my kayaks they are both excellent paddles. Not affiliated with either company.

Last thing I've found is that while gaining experience, a used version of a very good paddle is often a good way to start. But demo first - regardless of price range - so you can see personally what different paddle styles and materials really mean to you on the water.

Good points…
…and your last sentence is worth repeating:

“But demo first - regardless of price range - so you can see personally what different paddle styles and materials really mean to you on the water.”

At the risk of sounding like a “broken record” (if any here are even old enough to know what that means), I’d like to mention again the value of trying some GPs as well.

Since most retail and rental shops don’t stock GPs (even though there are some limited lines of “average sized” commercial GPs available), it might take a bit more effort to find and try a GP, but if at all possible, I think it’s worth the effort. Looking back, I know now that I would have appreciated such a recommendation when I was considering my first paddle acquisition.

Just because something is more widely available in the commercial market does not necessarily make it the only choice we have. As I continue to gain more experience over the years, I feel the urge to help others get an earlier start than I did with regards to knowing what all our potential choices might be.


absolutely include GP :smiley:
right on.

I haven’t had a chance to try GP as all my frequent paddlin’ friends are Euro…

matter of fact, when asked to offer suggestions for next year’s Ladies of the Lake symp (Drummond Island in 2008, oh yeah!) I said “there ought to be GP paddles we can demo during classes and free time.” We did after all have over 90 students and 24 instructors. Maybe Betsie Bay kayaks can help us out there, or other GP companies.

That’s how I tried the Werner Cyprus Euro and wound up buying one five weeks later, so it could work that way for people curious about GP.

so I’m with you on that Melissa :smiley:


– Last Updated: Oct-25-07 4:54 PM EST –

I personally would like to be able to spend a little more time getting things down with a GP than I have. Of "things Greenland" it is more the moves like the static brace etc that I wish I had encountered earlier in my paddling, but the paddle is decidedly part of the package.

That said, many people who are new to kayaking and don't have ready access to some basic instruction with the stick may find that it is a lot easier to go from point A to B using a Euro paddle. The nearness of other GP paddlers makes a huge diff in how well someone can get going with one. Also, if someone is handy in a wood shop (I'm not) it can be a pretty easy job for someone to make their own. So a purchase is not necessary for all.

To yellowsub - what part of the country are you in? You may be in an area where it'd be easy to hook up with some traditional paddlers and mess around with a GP.

My GP “introduction and training”…
Hi Celia,

My first experience with a GP came after someone on an email list mentioned that they were selling theirs (two full length, one short, and one norsaq/rolling stick), and I thought I’d give it a go. At that point, I didn’t even understand all the custom measurement issues, and of the three paddles I purchased from him, I got lucky with two of them (one full length, and one short–“storm”).

When the paddles arrived via UPS, I immediately carried my boat and new paddles across the beach and launched into the surf (research into proper techniques would have to wait, as I just wanted to get the paddles wet and see what would happen). I had a great afternoon of playing in the surf and paddling out beyond the zone, all the while making adjustments that seemed to “feel right” as I went along. One of my intuitive adjustments that afternoon happened to be the “canting” of the blades, which did in fact seem to solve the ventilating effect I noticed, along with giving me additional interesting feedback through the rest of the forward stroke. I also played with extended and sliding strokes (I had heard of this “sliding stroke” thing, so I thought I’d try it…with both the long and short paddles). Sculling and bracing as well. I knew that I probably wasn’t doing everything correctly, and I suspected that there was much more to learn in terms of all the possibilities, but it was still a great afternoon on the water with my new toys.

Since that very day, while I still have my Euro paddles here for friends to use, I haven’t used them even once. Pretty amazing, considering how much I did love to use them when they were all I knew.

Basically, with no formal introduction or training, I went out to have some fun, and the paddles themselves began to teach me. After that, I did spend quite a bit of time reading on the web (the qajaqusa forum was a great resource for picking the brains of experienced GP’ers), and I watched all the video clips I could find on the web as well. Then, I got the “Rolling with Maligiaq” video, and that gave me more ideas to play with.

Of course, what I’ve described above is pretty much the way I’ve approached paddling in general, as I live about 150 miles from the nearest paddling instructors, and I wanted to paddle with the local whales every day, right away! :slight_smile:

10+ years later, and though I’m certainly not against formal training–even for myself if the opportunity arises–I’m a firm believer in jumping head first and full speed into things I’m passionate about. Sometimes, I just don’t have the time or patience for baby steps. :slight_smile:

I know that my approach isn’t for everyone, but I certainly wouldn’t want to discourage anyone from trying it “my way” if they felt they could do so with some reasonable expectation of survival.


paddle length
preference is not a cookbook calculation because different people have different leg, torso, arm ratios. I am 6’ 3" but have long legs and arms and a short torso (not a pretty sight). I fought for years with a high quality 240 cm paddle because it was supposed to be right for me. I tried a 220 cm and it was ideal because I did not sit as high as my overall height would have suggested. If at all possible borrow or rent a few paddles of different lengths and work with them to find the best length for you.