Advice on my crank kayak paddle -

I have a BB Crank kayak paddle, and I enjoy paddling with it very much. The only problem I have with it is that I often think that the angled hand grips should be closer together. It seems that when I am making a paddle stroke on the left side that my right hand is extended up higher than it should be. If I was to shift my right hand off of the angled part of the shaft, and downward a few inches to the straight part of the shaft, then the hand spread would feel better. The same applies when paddling on the other side. It’s a 230 size, which feels right for paddling. Should I be shifting hand positions with this paddle with every stroke? Are the angled parts of the shaft only for the downward hand, or both? Thanks, and Happy Paddling!

230 is the right size ?
while you may feel that 230 cm is the right size, you say at the same time that your hands are too far apart. sound to me like your paddle is too long. have you tried a ‘crank’ in the 218-220 range? you should definitely not be moving your hands around on the shaft in order to find the proper grip ‘feel’ … you should however, probably be using a shorter paddle.

hand spacing
You may be trying to hold your hands too close together. For a powerful stroke, your elbows should be at or nearly at 90 degrees when you hold your paddle on top of your head. If you want to have an efficient and powerful stroke. If the hand spacing on the bb paddle does not permit a near 90 degree angle in your elbows while holding it on top of your head, ditch the paddle. It will be promoting a bad stroke habit. If you have not had insturuction on good stroke form, I encourage it strongly. A good stroke is not intuitive.


Thanks for your feedback,
I googled and found the following on grip spacing for a kayak paddle:

Kayak Paddling- Grip

Check the width of your grip. Your arms should form a ninety-degree bend at your elbows. This may feel awkward at first. Given time, you’ll come to appreciate the greater amount of power and control. Sliding each hand in an inch or two is okay, but more limits your power.

The gap between my 90 degree hands is 19". The gap on my 230cm crank paddle, with my hands gripping the angles, is 26". That is quite an increase from the grip spacing technique above described in I couldn’t find anything about this on pnet. I am 5’10" and an average size, and I paddle from a drop in box type seat in a canoe. My experience from touring with a low angle stroke and hurry paddling with a high stroke makes me think that 230cm is the right length for me.

Looks like I can buy another paddle that is non-crank to forget about the problem, or I can perhaps shorten the paddle in the middle to decrease the hand gap. I can cut and drill new holes for the one side, but the other side has a ferrule cemented into it. Anybody ever resize one of these with success? Any tips on how to reset the ferrule position? Maybe better to sell it…

19" doesn’t sound right for a guy thats
5’10". As in the previous post: put your biceps out horizontal to the ground, then put your forearm perpendicular to the ground…that is where you should be holding you paddle. I’m 5’11" and when measured in method described above I’ve got about 30" from inside to inside of hand.

Additionally, your boat width may be a factor in how long your paddle will be. I believe they recommend a 220CM paddle (or shorter) for boats up to 24" wide.

Leads me to believe your paddle is waaay too long.

Cant you just return the 230 for a 220? You might even consider buy one of the “plus telescoping” bending branch paddles. That would allow you to adjust the length by up to 10cm’s.

I’ve got a 23.5" wide CD sirocco and I was considering purchasing a BB breeze plus in 210CM lgth that adjusts out to 230CM. I usually paddle around 215CM lgth.

good luck

You’re right - My measurement
was with my biceps at my sides and my forearms perpendicular to my trunk. The raised arm position does make a difference.

That gap would maximize power, when power paddling is needed.

My conclusion from all of this is that most of my paddling is leisurely and does not require maximum power, and therefore I would benefit from a paddle that does not have a mandatory grip position if I want both a power grip positon(wide) and a leisure grip position(narrower). I could shorten my crank paddle in the middle, although I would lose the maximum power capability of the paddle.

Now I get it - a new paddle for Christmas!


I think
ONNO paddles are made to order - do a search here on p-net. You could specify/ask for any spacing you want.

How wide is your kayak??
I thought a 230 paddle would only be used with tandems or extremely wide seakayaks. I am 5’9" and my kayak is 22 inches wide and I paddle with a 218 lendal crank. I did paddle with a 230 until I did my first kayak course and the instructor was quick to tell me that my hand positioning was all wrong as my paddle was too long. You should try a shorter paddle just to see how it feels.

Narrow vs wide position
A narrow position is NOT a leisure position! The closer your hands are together on the paddle shaft, the longer the lever arm (the distance between your hands and the paddle blade). This results in more resistance and thus more required in terms of power. I encourage you to give the wider hand spread position more of a try. Also make sure that the angle of your paddle shaft to the water is 45 degrees or less, top hand no higher than your shoulders. If you give it more time, I think you’ll find this hand position to be more easier and more comfortable.

paddle lenght; hand spacing
I would not get rid of your paddle yet. I think I may have caused the misunderstanding about measuring your grip. When measuring your nominal grip, your upper arms should should be raised to shoulder level and form a line down one arm, through your shoulders and then down the other arm. Do the exercise holding any straight stick in front of a mirror. Place one hand with the end of the stick on the outside edge of one of your hands and place the other hand on the stick where your elbows will be at right angles. Then measure from the end of the stick to the edge of your hand that faces the butt of the stick. I am 6’1’ and my measurement is ~33". I’m sure that your measurment should be at least in the upper twentys. The 26" spacing might be a reasonable fit. What is your measurement?

You also mentioned that you a paddling a canoe not a kayak. I paddle both. I use a ~220 for a narrow kayak and a 240 for my 29" solo canoe. 230 is possibly too short for using a double bladed paddle in a canoe. What is the width of your canoe?

Lastly, you may be able to retrofit you BB paddle with the adjustable length ferrule instead of selling it.

I used a miter saw, and cut off
4.25 inches from the “hole side” of the shaft, after making some measurements and drawing an axis line.

I started the new hole with a tiny drill bit, and drilled it out to 3/8". Did a little filing, and presto, it snapped right back together, and better than new! Now it’s the right size!

I’ll still buy another paddle. I can use weight or the aesthetics of wood as an excuse. Thank you.

I noticed this when I bought my Crank
When I bought my Lendal Crank, I also noticed how hand placement effected the length I bought.

I had been using a 230cm length straight shaft while paddling my 22.5" wide kayak. The shaft felt too long for me after I paddled my new kayak a while, so I wanted a shorter shaft when I bought my crank.

I put a rubber band on each side of my straight shaft paddle, and kept moving them around until I had them in a place that marked my most comfortable “hold” spacing.

I wanted to buy the 210 cm paddle length, but the Lendal 215 crank spacing length seemed to fit my hand hold spacing better, so I settled for the 215cm length. I am a big guy, and this seems to work OK for me.