Another Decent Paddle
– Last Updated: Jul-28-12 5:33 AM EST –
I forgot I have a few of these. Pretty light and easy handling. I think they are made for Wenonah by Bending Branches. I would probably look at around 56" for you and 54 for your wife. I use much shorter paddles than I used to. At 6'2", I used to use 60" straight and now like about 48"-52" bent, depending on the boat.http://www.wenonah.com/products/template/product_detail.php?IID=43&SID=bddef008a1dd7d1d5a9dbd55c589028c
my thoughts on paddle sizing
One can’t recommend a paddle size based solely on the paddle lengths and your height because neither measurement matters. On the paddle, the blade is completely submerged in the water and is therefore irrelevent - the length of the shaft is what’s important. And as for you, unless you paddle standing up, it doesn’t matter how tall you are, it only matters how tall you are sitting or kneeling. Therefore, your torso length is far more important than you overall height.
Like bicycle fitting, there a hundred methods for fitting paddles ranging from pure folklore to highly scientific. But what works best for me is to sit (or kneel, depending on how you will usually be paddling) and measure from the floor to your nose. That is the length of the SHAFT that you need. Or you can do it in the shop with the actual paddle you intend to buy. Flip the paddle upside down and put the top on the floor. The joint between the shaft and the blade should between your chin and nose. So its a fungible measurement - doesn’t need to be exact and you may prefer a longer or shorter paddle. Now, since manufactorers don’t usually tell you what the shaft length is, you need to do a little math if you can’t “try on” the paddle in a shop. They usually DO publish the blade length. So you simply subtract that from the overall length and there you have it.
I think its a mistake to get a “middle of the road” size that fits neither of you well. Instead, get one paddle that fits you and one that fits her. However, you may want to consider getting a third paddle that is a middle size. For one thing, its recommended to carry a spare (you know what they say about being up a certain creek without a paddle). And for another, you both may find it handy to have a different sized paddle for certain situations. As the stern paddler, its sometimes nice to have a slightly longer paddle for making good correction strokes and ruddering as required. And when conditions call for hit n switching (like when the wind picks up or you find yourself racing the sun to get back before dark), its easier to do with a slightly shorter paddle. The “spare” need not be expensive, in fact that’s a great use for a cheap Mohawk or one of Dri Ki’s animal tails.