1st Paddle

ditto on the borrowing + good used
Tons of paddles out there and you’ll always find one that you might like just a little better than the one that served you just fine until the new flavor is in your hands.

If joining a club, there’s always used quality paddles for sale for discounts up to 50% - especially with switches to GP. Plenty of sweet glass Werner Camanos and Shunas available. My take is that you need a spare paddle anyway, so might as well buy a 2-piece & see what you like/don’t like about it & then keep it as a spare when you upgrade.

Love my Werner Shuna
fiberglass blade paddle. My all time favorite paddle. Had a Werner Camano before this one.

Also have an Aquabound carbon fiber paddle – damn thing cost about $260 and I HATE it.

length is a tricky one and you nailed it
I am about 6’2", more or less normally proportioned arms, torso, and legs. Earlier I recommended a 215-220 because I think it is a good range to start trying. About as long as people need to go (unless you paddle a tandem) and generally not too short at first.

At my height I use a 205 length paddle. When I first started kayaking I used a 240. It was awful on my joints and I struggled with it in rough water. then I switched to a 220 for a while, then a 215. Next I have my eye on a 199 whitewater paddle.

what do you hate about it?
just curios

Seven2 carbon
at $129 for a 230 paddle it was quite reasonable. Lightweight. I like mine.

Well, to start
it developed spider cracks around the ferrule within a year of (light) use. The same thing happened to TWO friends who have the SAME paddle. Luckily, I was able to return mine to EMS (I had the receipt) and they gave me a replacement. One friend sent hers back to Aquabound and had some initial troubles getting it replaced, but finally, the paddle was replaced.

For me, the blade does not have the “bite” the Shuna has. I feel I have much more power in my stroke when I use the Werner Shuna, versus the Aqua Bound.

I also made the mistake (for me) of getting the smaller shaft, which I assumed would be better for me since I am a woman. Wrong assumption. I find I like the regular-sized paddle shaft better (fits my hands/grip better).

Of course, this is all strictly personal preference. I am a plus-sized female paddler and I have a strong forward stroke. I usually paddle with a high-angle stroke. The Aquabound paddle seems like a low-angle paddle to me. I call it my “lily-dipping” paddle. It’s fine, but it’s not my cup of tea.

Note that I have both male and female paddler friends who use the same paddle, and they LOVE it. But, they also don’t paddle as much as I do.

So, it’s all a matter of personal preferences.